We featured this bedraggled little kitten with severe Cat Flu on our Facebook site, trying to find her owner. Sadly no one came forward.
However…… our Receptionist Phillipa took her home for the weekend to care for her and give her the much needed antibiotics our Vets had prescribed…….. and totally fell for her!
She’s now a happy, healthy young lady, and loving her new home!
What is Cat Flu?
The symptoms of cat flu are most frequently caused by infection with one or both of the cat flu viruses – feline herpesvirus (formerly known as feline rhinotracheitis virus) and feline calicivirus.
Cat flu is a common cat disease that can be life-threatening. Symptoms include sneezing, discharge from the nose, conjunctivitis (inflammation of the lining of the eyes), discharge from the eyes, loss of appetite, fever and depression.
The very young, very old and immunosuppressed cats are more likely to develop severe disease and possibly die as a result of their flu. Where death occurs this is usually because of secondary infections ie due to bacteria, lack of nutrition and dehydration.
Cats most at risk
Cat flu is most commonly seen in situations where cats are kept in large groups such as breeding catteries, rescue centres and feral cat colonies, although it can also be seen in pet cat households.
Cats most at risk include unvaccinated cats, kittens, the elderly and cats which are immunosuppressed for any reason. In immunosuppressed cats, damage to the immune system has left them vulnerable to a wide variety of diseases with which they would otherwise be able to cope.
Immunosuppression can be seen in cats infected with feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), cats with other severe illnesses, or in those receiving treatment with certain medications such as corticosteroids or anti-cancer therapy.
Although vaccination helps to reduce the risk of cat flu, this disease can still be seen in vaccinated cats.
Unfortunately there are currently no drugs available to kill these viruses so treatment is aimed at supporting the cat through its illness. This treatment includes antibiotics, to treat any secondary bacterial infections as these can be life-threatening, and drugs to help loosen the nasal discharge and make breathing less of a struggle.
As cats with flu are often reluctant to eat, they may need to be tempted by offering gently warmed, smelly and palatable food. Syringe feeding of liquid food can be tried if necessary, although caution is advised.
Severely ill cats may require hospitalisation for feeding by a tube placed down their nose or directly into their stomach. They are also placed on a drip and given intravenous fluids if they are dehydrated.
This little kitten is one of the lucky ones!
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