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Veterinary Dermatology: Fungal Infections in Cats

Veterinary Dermatology: Fungal Infections in Cats

If your cat is suffering from a fungal infection it can have an effect on their entire body and health. In today's post, our Fairhaven vets discuss the signs of fungal infections in cats, how they are contracted and the common types.

Fungal Infections in Cats: What are they?

Typically the spores from fungi are taken in through ingestion or inhalation. Parasitic fungal organisms are able to make their way into the body through any open wound and are transmitted through the feces of pets and other animals.

While many cats can receive from fungal infections with little to no health repercussions, cats with compromised immune systems are not as fortunate and may suffer serious consequences.

What are the most common types of fungal infections in cats?

There is a large number of fungal infections out there that may affect animals but some are seen more than others. Here, our Fairhaven cat and dog dermatologists share some of the most commonly seen fungal infections in cats:

  • Aspergillosis
  • Candidiasis
  • Cryptococcosis
  • Coccidioidomycosis
  • Histoplasmosis
  • North American Blastomycosis
  • Mycetomas
  • Rhinosporidiosis
  • Sporotrichosis
  • Phaeohyphomycosis

Each of these infections can either affect one specific body part or area of your cat's body while others may spread throughout the entirety of your cat's body. Though generalized fungal infections are fairly rare in cats, fungal skin infections are quite common.

What are the typical signs of fungal infections in cats?

The specific symptoms that your cat experiences will depend on the type of fungi that they have been affected by. Here are some of the symptoms that coincide with the common type of fungal infections listed above:

  • Lung infections
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Eye problems
  • Seizures
  • Bladder infections
  • Skin lesions
  • Weight loss
  • Paralysis
  • Intolerance to physical activity
  • Diarrhea
  • Blindness
  • Anemia
  • Depression
  • Swelling under the bridge of the nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bloody discharge from nose
  • Cysts beneath the skin
  • Cough
  • Circling

What are some ways that cat allergists will diagnose fungal infections?

Fungi are commonly regional which can make for difficult diagnosis for cats experiencing fungal infections.

At New England Animal Hospital in Fairhaven, our veterinarians can utilize our state-of-the-art lab and diagnostic technology when diagnosing and treating cats with internal conditions such as fungal infections.

If your cat is showing symptoms of a fungal infection your vet will run through your cat's medical history with you and then perform a thorough physical examination. If a fungal infection is suspected your vet may recommend one or more of the following in order to determine the type of fungus causing the infection, and the best treatment for your cat: 

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Chemical blood profile
  • Urinalysis to check kidney function and look for other signs of an internal fungal infection
  • Tissue samples taken for analysis

How are cat fungal infections treated using veterinary dermatology?

Treatment for your cat's fungal infection using veterinary dermatology in New England will depend upon your cat's symptoms and the type of infection being treated.

Your cat's infection may be treated with oral or topical antifungal medications. Fungal skin infections in cats can cause lesions that may be removed by your vet and/or treated with topical ointments, or medicated shampoos. When required, any secondary infections will also be treated with medications or IV fluids. 

Treatment options may include keeping your cat hospitalized in order to reduce the risk of family members becoming infected if the fungus is transmittable to humans.

If you will be treating your cat at home, your vet will provide instructions on how to prevent infections from spreading such as wearing gloves and a mask when changing litter or handling your cat, and washing your pet's bedding, food bowls, and toys frequently.

What should you expect for the recovery and prognosis of your cat?

The prognosis for your feline friend will be determined by the type of fungal infection your kitty has contracted. Although prescription medication can help to clear some infections, others may have long-term health impacts or even lead to severe neurological symptoms (for example, North American Blastomycosis can cause these).

To help your cat recover, it’s critical to attend all follow-up appointments with the cat and dog allergist in Fairhaven so your cat’s recovery can be assessed. The veterinary dermatologist will check to see that no relapses have happened and make changes to medication if required. Report any changes in your cat’s appearance or behavior immediately.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat is showing signs of a fungal infection or other veterinary concerns, contact our animal allergists in Fairhaven to schedule an appointment for your feline friend.

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