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Fungal Infections in Cats

Fungal infections can pose a serious health threat for our feline friends. In some cases, your cat's fungal infection could even be passed along to you and your family as well as other pets in the household. Our McAllen vets explain some causes, symptoms and treatments for fungal infection, both skin and otherwise, in cats.

What are fungal infections in cats?

Fungi (funguses) which lead to infections in cats typically live in the soil where they can be inhaled, ingested, or find their way into an animal's body through open cuts or scrapes. Once these parasitic organisms find their way into your kitty's body, they are able to thrive and produce spores, often causing localized infections or even infections that spread throughout your pet's body.

The most common fungal infections our vets see in cats are skin infections (such as ringworm), while generalized fungal infections tend to be rare. Although some fungi can cause illness in healthy cats, it is generally the case that most fungal infections are seen in cats that are sick, immunocompromised, very young or very old.

Depending upon the type of fungus in cats, these infections can be contagious between cats or even between cats and people who spend time with them.

Types of Fungal Infections Seen in Cats

There are a number of fungi in the environment that can negatively impact your cat’s health, however, we see some types of infections more often than others. Below are some of the fungal infections that we most often see in cats:

  • Aspergillosis
  • Candidiasis 
  • Cryptococcosis
  • Coccidioidomycosis 
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Blastomycosis
  • Mycetomas
  • Rhinosporidiosis 
  • Sporotrichosis 
  • Phaeohyphomycosis

Fungal infections in cats can be concentrated in a single area, such as the nose and nasal passages, lungs (which frequently cause fungal pneumonia in cats), or skin, but they can also spread throughout the animal's body, resulting in more generalized symptoms.

Signs That Your Cat May Have a Fungal Infection

If your cat has a fungal infection, the symptoms will depend on the type of fungus causing the infection. The following are some of the most common symptoms of the fungal infections mentioned above: 

  • Poor appetite
  • High fever
  • Eye infections
  • Seizures
  • Lung infections
  • Skin lesions
  • Weight loss
  • Paralysis
  • Lack of energy
  • Bladder infections
  • Blindness
  • Anemia
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Bloody discharge from nose
  • Cysts
  • Persistent cough
  • Circling
  • Swelling under the bridge of the nose

How Vets Diagnose Cat Fungal Infections 

Due to the vast number fungi found in North America, and because many types of fungal infections are more regional or rare, these infections can be challenging to diagnose. 

At Nolana Animal Hospital, our veterinarians can utilize our state of the art lab and diagnostic technology when in diagnosing and treating cats with internal conditions such as fungal infections.

If your cat is exhibiting symptoms of a fungal infection, your veterinarian will review your cat's medical history with you before performing a thorough physical examination. If a fungal infection is suspected, your veterinarian may prescribe one or more of the following tests to determine the type of fungus causing the infection and the best treatment for your cat:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Chemical blood profile
  • Urinalysis to check kidney function and look for other signs of an internal fungal infection
  • Tissue samples taken for analysis

Treating Fungal Infections in Cats

Treatment for your cat's fungal infection will depend upon your cat's symptoms and the type of infection being treated.

Your cat's infection can be treated with oral or topical antifungal medications. Cats with fungal skin infections may develop lesions, which can be treated with topical ointments or medicated shampoos. Secondary infections will be treated with medications or intravenous fluids as needed.

Treatment options may include keeping your cat hospitalized in order to reduce the risk of family members becoming infected if the fungus is transmittable to humans.

If you will be treating your cat at home, your vet will provide instructions on how to prevent infections from spreading such as wearing gloves and a mask when changing litter or handling your cat, and washing your pet's bedding, food bowls, and toys frequently.

Recovery & Prognosis for Cats With Fungal Infections

Your cat's prognosis will be determined by the type of fungal infection, as well as his age and overall health. Prescription medication can treat some fungal infections, but it may have long-term health effects or cause severe neurological symptoms, such as in North American Blastomycosis.

When treating fungal infections in cats it can take several weeks to see notable health improvements. To help your cat recover, be sure to attend all follow-up appointments so your pet’s recovery can be assessed. Your veterinarian will examine your cat for signs of relapse and make changes to medication if required.

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.

If your cat is showing signs of a fungal infection, our team can help. Contact Nolana Animal Hospital today to book an appointment.

Now Welcoming New Patients

Looking for a vet in McAllen? Nolana Animal Hospital is now accepting new patients! Our welcoming vets are passionate about pets and will provide your cat or dog with the care they need. Contact us today to schedule your pet's first appointment.

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