Rabies is caused by a virus that attacks the brain causing severe dementia, aggression,
and death once the patient shows clinical symptoms. Furthermore, no known treatment
exists for rabies once the patient is showing clinical symptoms. Rabies is most commonly
transmitted via bite wound from an infected animal. Since humans can contract the
disease if bitten by an infected animal, rabies has been deemed a public health hazard.
Vaccination for rabies is a State law for dogs and cats, as well as ferrets.
Feline distemper behaves much like parvo in the canine, causing severe bloody diarrhea,
anemia, immune compromise, anorexia, fever, vomiting, dehydration, abdominal pain, and
is often fatal
Feline leukemia is caused by a retrovirus that attacks the patient's bone marrow, leading
to compromise of the feline immune system, leaving the patient susceptible to secondary
disease. Feline leukemia remains untreatable, with death the major consequence of
infection. Given the imminent fatal nature of the disease, we advise yearly vaccination if
your cat has direct contact with other cats, or goes outside. Eating out of the same bowl
or grooming each other is the most common mode of transmission. A vaccine exists to
prevent infection of this virus.
Aids (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Feline aids is caused by a retrovirus that attacks the feline immune system and leads to
death from secondary diseases in much the same manner as HIV in humans. Like feline
leukemia, contact with another cat is required for transmission. Cats fighting with each
other is the most common transmission mode. There is no effective treatment for this
disease, with death being the imminent consequence of infection. A vaccine exists for
FIV; it is given initially in a series of 3 vaccines 2 weeks apart, then it is given yearly.
This tests for the presence of bartonella, a flea borne infection. This is a zoonotic
disease (spread to humans) also, typically transmitted from a cat's scratch or bite. Signs
in cats include gum disease, eye disease and respiratory infections, but signs in humans
include debilitating weakness, lack of energy or even death.
Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites a cat the
microfilaria (baby worms) can be transmitted through the bite, and into the victim. From
there, the microfilaria infiltrate the body, migrating until they reach the lungs. The
microfilaria causes damage to the lungs. Cats are at great risk because of their reaction
to the parasites. Signs of heartworm disease in cats are often sudden death, lethargy,
or coughing. The great news is that the disease is preventable. With monthly heartworm
prevention, squirted onto the back of the neck, cats are protected against this deadly
disease. New data illustrates that feline heartworm is a much greater threat to cats than
previously thought. In fact, the bulk of the damage is caused by immature worms in the
lungs rather than by adults in the heart. Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease is
likely to be presented as other ailments - generally asthma or chronic bronchitis. People
often say their cat doesn't go outside and therefore can't get bitten by a mosquito.
Unfortunately, totally indoor cats are at an even greater risk for developing this disease.
Their immune system has never been exposed to infected mosquitoes previously, so all they
need is one bite from a mosquito to contract heartworm disease. Cats that go outside
usually need multiple bites from multiple mosquitoes over time before they develop the
disease. To be safe, treat all cats with heartworm preventative, monthly.