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Cats + Infectious Diseases

  • This handout is designed to give you an overview of some of the internal parasites that can infect your cat. For more detailed information, refer to our separate handouts on roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and heartworms.

  • Here are a few facts about Ebola that will provide a reasonable approach to the disease and its risk to pets and their owners.

  • Feline poxvirus is a member of the Orthopoxvirus group, which also includes vaccinia virus, the virus used as a vaccine in the successful eradication of smallpox in humans. The virus cannot be distinguished from cowpox virus, which is a rare cause of infection on the teats and udders of cattle.

  • Rabies is a viral disease that can infect all warm-blooded animals, including cats and people, although some species are somewhat naturally resistant to the disease. When signs of rabies occur, it is an almost invariably fatal disease.

  • Ringworm is the common name given to a fungal infection of the superficial layers of the skin, hair, and nails. The common name of ringworm is somewhat misleading, in that it is not an infection caused by a worm, and the infected areas are not always ring-shaped. Ringworm can be challenging to detect in cats, since the lesions of ringworm may be very mild or even undetectable.

  • Swine Influenza or swine flu is a contagious respiratory disease of pigs, caused by a type A influenza virus. Type A influenza viruses can affect a range of other animals and humans. Like all influenza viruses, swine flu viruses change or mutate constantly. Swine flu is commonly seen in North America, South America, Asia, and Europe.

  • Tularemia is a bacterial disease caused by Francisella tularensis and is often referred to as “rabbit fever.” It is an uncommon infection in cats, but cats can be exposed if they kill and/or eat an infected rabbit or rodent.

  • The uvea is the part of the eye made up of the iris, the ciliary body and the choroid. The iris is the pigmented or colored membrane behind the cornea (clear outer surface of the eye).

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