When your cat is experiencing a fungal infection it can have an effect on their overall health. Here, our Fairhaven vets share some information about fungal infections in your cat's skin, lungs and nose and how they can be treated.
Fungal Infections Affecting Cats
Fungal infections are normally contracted when your pet eats contaminated soil. If your cat is affected by a parasitic fungal infection then they may have been infected through damaged skin or direct contact with an animal or their contaminated saliva or feces.
While many cats can be left healthy even after contracting a fungal infection, others that are experiencing immune system complications can become severely ill.
The Most Common Types of Fungal Infections
Although there are many different types of fungi in the environment that can negatively impact your cat’s health, our Fairhaven vets see some infections more often than others. Here are some of the fungal infections we see in cats:
- North American Blastomycosis
These infections can be concentrated in a specific part of your kitty's body or spread throughout the entire body. Though generalized fungal infections are fairly rare in cats, fungal skin infections are quite common.
The Typical Signs of Fungal Infections
The signs of infection that your cat displays will be determined by the type of fungal infection they have contracted. Below are some common symptoms our vets see in cats with the types of infections listed above:
- Lung infections
- Loss of appetite
- Eye problems
- Bladder infections
- Skin lesions
- Weight loss
- Adversion to physical activity
- Swelling under nose
- Difficulty breathing
- Bloody discharge from nose
- Cysts beneath the skin
How are fungal infections in cats diagnosed and treated?
Certain fungal infections only appear in particular areas which can make the diagnosis very difficult.You will be a valuable source of information for your vet when they are attempting to diagnose your cat.
A complete blood count (CBC), chemical blood profile and urinalysis will help your vet identify what’s causing your kitty’s symptoms. In some cases, a tissue sample may be taken to assist in diagnosis. Your cat will typically be anesthetized for these tests. The tissue sample will be taken during surgery, then analyzed in our lab.
Depending on the type of fungi that your cat was infected with, there are different options for treatment, such as hospitalization if the fungus is transmittable to humans. This will help reduce the risk of you or your family becoming infected with the disease.
If your cat will be staying at home, your vet may provide instructions on how to prevent infections - including wearing gloves and a mask when handling your cat or changing their litter.
Your vet may be able to remove skin lesions and prescribe topical ointments to help treat the infection. If necessary, any secondary infections will also be treated with medications or IV fluids. Fungal infections can be challenging to treat. So, it's important to keep in mind that several weeks of treatment may be needed before your kitty’s health issues begin to show significant improvement.
What does recovery look like for cats with fungal infections?
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 (like those caused by North American Blastomycosis, for example).
To help your cat recover, it’s critical to attend all follow-up appointments so your cat’s recovery can be assessed. Your vet 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.