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What is Feline Pneumonitis?

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Upper respiratory diseases are quite common in cats. One of the most prevalent types of is known as feline pneumonitis. Also called feline chlamydiosis, the disease is a mild yet chronic upper respiratory disease. The root cause of the disease is a bacteria called Chlamydia psittaci. Once this bacteria invades the cells within the upper respiratory tract it can trigger the symptoms of the illness in addition to unexplained irritation.

What is feline Pneumonitis?

One of the major symptoms of this disease is conjunctivitis. Much like in humans, conjunctivitis in cats cause an abnormal discharge from the eye. Also watch for cold symptoms such as sneezing, chronic nasal discharge and even signs of pneumonia. More symptoms include, loss of appetite, coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing. While feline pneumonitis is considered a mild illness, the last thing that you would want to do is leave it untreated. To do such would lead to a more chronic form of the infection that would inevitably last for several months.

Feline pneumonitis is transmitted via contaminated cages, food bowls, litter boxes, human hands and human clothing. That is not to say that humans carry the disease. Humans come in contact with the disease when cleaning up after an infected cat and the cat then catches the illness from the clothing. Additionally, one cat can infect another cat through sneezing and coughing. The disease can only project an airborne bacteria within four feet onto another cat.

When taking your cat to veterinarian to be tested for feline pneumonitis, the veterinarian will usually take a few swab samples of the eye discharge in the cat. Additionally, a bacterial culture will be taken to assess if indeed it is the Chlamydia psittaci bacteria that is present in the respiratory tract. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, your cat will be admitted as an outpatient and immediately treated with antibiotics and eye ointment.

There are certain things that you as a cat owner can do to prevent the spread of feline pneumonitis. One of the best preventative methods that you can take is to have your cat vaccinated against the disease. One vaccination can lessen the severity of the disease should your cat contract it. Additionally, it is important to maintain a healthy and clean area for your cats. Proper disinfection with a non-invasive disinfectant will keep the rate of disease and illness in general to a minimum.

If you suspect that your cat has been afflicted with feline pneumonitis, then you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent further infection or complications of the disease within your cat.

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