Fungal infections in cats can cause a wide range of alarming symptoms - and leave people and animals in danger of infection. Our Diamond Bar vets explain causes, symptoms, and treatment for these conditions.
Fungal Infections in Cats
Fungi (funguses) in cats are parasitic organisms that produce spores. They feed on hosts to obtain nourishment. Though many fungi species exist in the environment, only some will cause infections.
Soil is the primary source of most fungi, and cats can acquire these infections by ingesting or inhaling them or through the skin (through a wound or cut, for example).
If your cat has been in contact with animals with a fungal infection or feces, they may be at a higher risk. Fungal infections can affect healthy animals but typically target those with weak immune systems or pre-existing illnesses.
Cats that are on long-term antibiotics or immunosuppressive medication are more vulnerable to fungal infections.
Common Fungal Infections in Cats
There are numerous types of fungi in the environment that can affect your cat's health, but certain infections are more prevalent than others. The following are some of the most frequently observed fungal infections in cats:
- North American Blastomycosis
These infections may infect the entire body or be focused on one area. Fungal skin infections in cats are common, while general fungal infections are rare.
Symptoms of Fungal Infection in Cats
The type of infection will often determine which symptoms of fungal infection your cat displays. Here are some common symptoms we often see in kitties with these types of infections:
- Bloody discharge from the nose
- Swelling under the bridge of the nose
- Cysts underneath the skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Eye problems
- Loss of appetite
- Lung infections
- Bladder infections
- Intolerance to physical activity
- Weight loss
- Skin lesions
Diagnosis & Treatment of Fungal Infections in Cats
Diagnosing certain fungal infections can be difficult due to their rarity. To aid in the diagnosis, it's beneficial to provide your cat's medical history and when infection symptoms first appeared to your veterinarian. The vet will conduct a thorough physical examination and collect blood samples for laboratory testing.
As for treatment, depending on the type of fungi causing the issue, your vet may take different measures, such as hospitalization (if the fungus is transmittable to humans), to reduce the risk of infection to you and your family.
If you choose to keep your cat at home, you may receive instructions on how to prevent infections - including wearing gloves and a mask while handling your cat and when changing litter.
If your cat has a fungal skin infection, topical ointments can be helpful for treatment. Additionally, a vet may need to remove any skin lesions present. IV fluids and medication may be prescribed if there are any secondary infections. It's important to note that improvement may take several weeks of treatment.
Recovery of Fungal Infection in Cats
The type of fungal infection will determine your cat's prognosis. While some can be cleared up with medication, others can have long-term health effects or even cause severe neurological symptoms (in the case of serious infections such as North American Blastomycosis).
Attending all follow-up appointments with your veterinarian is crucial to assess your cat's recovery and prevent any relapses. If needed, medication may be adjusted. It's important to promptly report any changes in your cat's behavior or appearance.
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.