Fairchild tests each cat for Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline AIDS (FIV). These are two deadly feline diseases. VISIT www.kittytest.com to find out where FELV and FIV are in your area.
- FELINE LEUKEMIA (FeLV): The feline leukemia virus has been compared to the human AIDS virus because of its effect on the immune system. A contagious and often fatal disease, feline leukemia can cause multiple organ disease, cancer, bone marrow suppression, and a weakening of the immune system that makes it less likely that an affected cat will overcome infections. It is passed from cat to cat most commonly through grooming or a bite wound acquired while fighting. There is a vaccine available to prevent FeLV for cats at high risk for the disease.
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- FELINE AIDS (FIV): Feline immunodeficiency virus is a fatal disease of cats that is of the same subfamily of retroviruses as the human HIV virus. The FIV virus is transmitted in the saliva or blood, commonly through the bite wound from an infected cat. Once inside the cat’s body, the virus will invade the cells of the cat’s immune system, preventing the cells from performing their vital role of fighting off infections and diseases. As a result, cats that contract FIV generally succumb to a wide variety of secondary diseases. This is strictly a cat disease and FIV cannot be transmitted to humans.
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There are vaccines to help prevent many illnesses that affect cats. Vaccinating a cat has long been considered one of the easiest ways to help it live a long, healthy life.
- RABIES: There were 410 reported cases of Rabies in PA in 2010. It should be noted that raccoons are the number one carrier (217 cases). The percent of cats affected last year was less than in 2009, which I attribute to the acceptance and support of TNR. Rabies is a viral disease that affects the brain and nervous system of all mammals, including cats, dogs and humans. While rabbits, possums, squirrels, chipmunks, rats and mice are rarely infected, there have been confirmed reports of rabid rabbits, possums, groundhogs, squirrels, and even deer in Pennsylvania. This preventable disease has been reported in every state except Hawaii, and annually causes the deaths of more than 50,000 humans and millions of animals worldwide. There is no treatment or cure for Rabies once symptoms appear! Unfortunately there have been a high number of owned indoor/outdoor cats that tested positive as well as friendly barn cats. While the law requires that pets be vaccinated against rabies, many neglect to do so….. a deadly mistake!
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- CAT SCRATCH FEVER DISEASE: Ted Nugent made Cat Scratch Fever (actually called “Cat Scratch Disease”) nearly a household name with his song in the 70’s but most people still know very little it. In fact, Catch Scratch Disease (CSD) is a bacterial infection caused by “Bartonella henselae,” which is spread by fleas. Kittens are more likely to be infected and to pass the bacteria to people. About 40% of cats carry B. henselae at some time in their lives. Cats that carry B. henselae do not usually show any signs of illness. However, recently several illnesses seem to have been associated with Bartonella infection including fever, deep eye inflammation, lymph node enlargement, muscle pain, bacterial heart valve deposits and inflammation of the mouth called plasma cell stomatitis. Right now the most reliable treatment seems to be Azithromycin which clears 83% of infected cats. The course of treatment is approximately 3 weeks.
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