What Are the Symptoms?

Sneezing
Runny eyes
Cough
Oral or nasal ulcers
Sniffles
Fever
Hoarse voice
Or any combination thereof
The microbial agents of respiratory infection, just as in people, are highly contagious. They tend to be commonly found wherever cats live in groups – outdoor colonies, catteries, shelters, etc.

Becoming infected is easy; a cat simply must socialize with an infected cat or share toys, a person (clothes can temporarily transmit an infection) or food bowls. While the average indoor-only cat is at lower risk, diseases like herpesvirus can wait and come out of a latent phase during times of stress and lead to respiratory symptoms. And many adult cats were infected at some point in the life, many as kittens.

It is important to realize how common upper respiratory infection is. In some areas, the infection rate is felt to be 60 percent or more. This means that there is an excellent chance that any cat or kitten is already infected at the time of adoption regardless of whether the cat is showing any symptoms. Kittens are predisposed due to their immature immune systems, and are usually hit the hardest. When these kittens grow up, they are still infected (such as herpesvirus, which is forever). It just takes stress to suppresses their immune system.

Certain breeds such as Persian cats that have a pushed-in face are predisposed to upper respiratory infection. The average indoor house cat who is not exposed to new cats or kittens, lives with only one or two other indoor-only cats that it gets along with and leads a relatively stress-free existence is less likely break with symptoms but may very well be asymptomatically infected.

The chief infectious agents that cause feline upper respiratory infections are herpesvirus and calicivirus, together accounting for about 90 percent of infections. Other agents include: Chlamydophila, Mycoplasma, Bordetella, and others. Of course, a cat or kitten may be infected with more than one agent.

If your feline companion is experiencing any of these symptoms, call Urban Animal Veterinary Hospital in the Heights for an appointment and see how we can help!

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