Cat Viral Infectious Diseases that are Commonly Vaccinated For

Cat Viral Infectious DiseasesThere are various types of cat diseases that are infectious in nature.   This article describes common types of viral infectious diseases that exist in cats for which they are routinely vaccinated.

Examples of viruses that cause cat diseases and are commonly vaccinated for
include:

Rabies: Causes a fatal condition in cats by eventually attacking the nervous system for which no treatment exists.  Due to its potential to affect people, of all the viruses that cause cat diseases, rabies is the most important from a human health stand point.  Exposure occurs most commonly through the bite of a rabid animal.  Vaccination of outdoor cats should be strongly considered, especially in areas where rabies is endemic in wildlife.  Laws may exist in some areas that require cats to be vaccinated for rabies.  Bats, skunks, and raccoons are the most common type of animals that harbor the virus.

Feline Panleukopenia (Parvovirus):  A highly contagious disease characterized by sudden onset of fever, lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.  Cats develop very low white blood cell counts and the disease is often fatal.  However, with aggressive treatment and supportive care, cats can survive infection. It is one of the most common viruses causing cat diseases for which they are vaccinated.  Vaccination is very effective and provides long lasting immunity.

Feline Rhinotracheitis (Herpes virus): Cat diseases caused by this virus involve the respiratory system.  These viruses are the most common cause of upper respiratory cat diseases.  Although they cause the most severe upper respiratory infections in cats, infections are rarely fatal.  This virus can also cause ulcers of the eyes in cats.  As with other Herpes viruses, infected cats are carriers and can spontaneously have reactivation of the virus and clinical signs of disease secondary to stress related events.  It is one of the most common viruses that cats are vaccinated against.

Feline Calicivirus:  Cat diseases caused by this virus involve the upper respiratory system, and are less severe than those caused by feline rhinotracheitis virus.  Typical signs of infection include fever, lack of appetite and oral ulcers.  Vaccines are highly effective at preventing cat diseases caused by this virus.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV):  FeLV is a retrovirus that is spread most commonly through cat saliva.  Cats exposed to the virus do not always develop infection and disease.  Estimates are that approximately 30% become persistently infected and develop cat diseases caused by the virus, 40% become immune to the virus, and 30% are not immune or infected possibly due to insufficient exposure.  Although it is called the leukemia virus because it was first discovered in a cat with leukemia, it rarely causes leukemia in cats.  More commonly the virus causes immunosuppression leading to various cat diseases.  There is an association with FeLV infection and feline lymphoma in younger cats, but due to success of vaccination, it has become less common.  There is no specific treatment for FeLV infection.

Click here to learn about feline infectious disease that are not commonly vaccinated for.

Click here to read about infectious diseases that can occur in dogs.

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Dr Stephen Atwater

Stephen W. Atwater, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM (oncology) is a board-certified veterinary oncology specialist. His professional interests include utilizing emerging therapies for difficult to treat cancers.

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