INFECTIOUS PERITONITIS CAT
It is undoubtedly the most serious viral disease that affects the cat, as it has always fatal outcome.
Unfortunately this disease is now widespread enough and I still have some cause mortality in the cat community.
As you can see the FIP is caused by a coronavirus (RNA viruses) that can hit all the big cats, including those in the wild.
The characteristic of this virus is, fortunately, to be very labile and easily destroyed by common disinfectants (especially chlorine derivatives, eg. bleach).
The transmission of the virus takes place by oral or respiratory and the disease has an incubation time ranging from one to four months.
Let's see what happens to cats that come in contact with this virus: once inside the body coronavirus replicates in the tonsils or of the intestinal epithelium, multiplies in lymphoid tissues (liver, spleen, lymph nodes) and then spread in other tissues.
At this point follows a different evolution due to the type of immune response of the subject which results in two possibilities:
- Effective immune response to infectious or low loads, the subject does not get sick (it has been reported only the presence of enteritis)
- Moderate or weak immune response, the subject will present the disease respectively in the wet form (slow) and the dry (fast).
It is still controversial whether individuals who do become ill due to effective immune response or not to remain "carriers".
We come now to the clinical infectious peritonitis, taking into account that the disease may occur, as already seen, in the effusive form (with thoracic effusion and/or abdomen) or in dry form (with the presence of nodules in various organs).
We know that cats with effusive form are in death within one or two months, while those with dry form in a shorter time.
Initially the symptoms are common in the two forms and we pyrexia, anorexia and lethargy, followed by thoracic effusion and/or in wet form and abdominal symptoms referable to the appropriate bodies in nodular forms.
If the nervous system is concerned we will have the appearance of ataxia, paresis and paralysis, nystagmus, and death.
Has been reported finally a form of FIP circumscribed to the eye in which there is the presence of uveitis, corneal edema, etc..; In the absence of other symptoms.
With regard to therapy, unfortunately, the FIP is always fatal, although many therapies have been tried (this is only symptomatic drugs).
Among the most commonly used we cyclophosphamide, azathioprine and prednisolone.
There are serological tests that allow us to diagnose the contact is made with the virus: in Italy, we have a test that detects the presence of antibodies against FIP and therefore can tell us whether the subject is positive or negative.
In this connection it must be emphasized, however, that there are other coronavirus that can interfere with the test results; eg. the FECV (dell'enterite feline viruses) that has a high degree of similarity with the virus antigenic of FIP.
Hence the importance of making positive cases also antibody titration (now possible in Switzerland and other foreign countries).
It is known that the virus can give FECV positive test, but with lower titers 1:25, 1:400, 1:600??, which is unlikely to surpass the bond considered positive for FIP.
It is hoped that in future they are available, however, the tests for detection of, certainly more accurate.
Let's talk about prevention, which is certainly the most important thing for us and see what we can do to prevent the spread of disease in livestock.
Hygiene measures indicated here are essential to limit the disease: in the first place must be removed in addition to the positive subjects Felv Fip positive, it should be absolutely avoided for obvious reasons the crowding. Should pay close attention to the mountain, which are often the cause of the spread of FIP among breeders (you should always make the serological test prior to mating).
The new cats, negative, must be tested a second time after 4-6 weeks before being introduced to the farm.
It also recommends testing cats that go on display or "mounts", taking a sample equivalent to 10-20% of individuals in the herd, every six months (no need to test them all).
Finally, since this disease there is no transmission of HIV mother-fetus, babies born to HIV positive mothers to be separated one month of age because it is seen that the infection occurs, but due to horizontal between the 7th and 8th week.
Of course, the puppies will be tested before being sold.
These mothers are still to be removed from the herd!
I report now a study performed at the Veterinary University of Zurich of 136 cats with FIP, the diagnosis was later confirmed by necropsy. It is important to note that it is impossible to diagnose FIP based solely on antibody titration. In the past, too many cats have been removed only as serologically positive, again for the first speech made in relation to tests for antibodies and the antigen detection. Unfortunately this second study found an increase in dry form, eg. 1982 to 1990 25% of cases of FIP were dried forms, from 1991 to 1992 42.5%.
As shown in this work, the only valid method for the confirmation of the disease is the histological examination.
About 136 cats examined was found a prevalence of cats less than four years of age, sex male dominated, especially Persians, and Burmesi Hymalaiani. 64% of these cats had the chance to leave, while 36 remained alone in the house.
It was noted that almost half of affected cats were subjects who had undergone "stress", such as a change of owner or environment, or put on board or hospital clinic.
The symptoms most commonly encountered were: lack of appetite, lethargy, emaciation, diarrhea, vomiting, neurologic abnormalities, fever and dyspnea. Cats showing signs of fever therapy-resistant ascites and are more easily diagnosed as suffering from FIP, however, please do a review of liquid withdrawn.
Only 9% of cats with FIP were positive for FeLV, which confirms the downward trend of the two diseases simultaneously than ever before. Compared to IVF is no cat in this study tested positive.
About the examination carried out on antibodies we show that about half of the subjects had a titre of less than or equal to 100 and 11% were actually negative, this can be explained by the fact that antibodies, in the terminal phase of illness, tend to precipitate forming immune complexes and therefore are no longer available for testing. A final examination significant for Fip is the value of serum proteins that is increased, in particular the fraction of globulins, while having hypoalbuminemia (this due to the disseminated vasculitis, present in Fip).
Let's now talk of Feline Leukemia, viral disease of cats supported by a Retrovirus, also known as FELV.
Characteristic of this virus is the presence of a protein called p27 whose identification in the blood is essential for the diagnosis.
This is a virus sensitive to common disinfectants, but it is advisable to wait several weeks before introducing new cats in infected areas.
The disease is spread by oral, respiratory, and also due to congenital (vertical route, from mother to fetus).
The greatest danger, however, concerns the spread by cats asymptomatic, persistently viremic!
The incubation period of the disease is quite long by 3 to 36 months.
Let's see what happens to cats that come into contact with the virus FELV: the infection occurred through saliva, urine, feces or other secretions, there is penetration of the virus at the level of the oral mucosa, ocular and nasal follows the shift in the lymph nodes of head and neck.
At this point you may have different evolutions:
- Significant immune response and healing. The active immunity will protect the cat from subsequent infections;
- Latent infection: the virus is localized in the bone marrow without replicating. Rarely, these infections are reactivated;
- Chronic infection with persistent viremia in which you test positive twice within three months. In this case, the symptoms appear within 3-36 months and death within three years. In this form the virus replicates in the bone marrow via the blood and is distributed in various organs.
The clinical symptoms are different according to the forms detectable, basically we can distinguish:
- NEOPLASTIC FORMS (linfosarcomatose, leukemia, degenerative);
- NOT NEOPLASTIC FORMS in turn divided into Primary (anemia and bone marrow aplasia) or secondary (due to immune suppression. The animal suffering from secondary forms can easily contract any infectious disease such as peritonitis, toxoplasmosis, stomatitis and gingivitis, etc. ..
Also unfortunately for Feline Leukemia Treatment is only symptomatic and temporary in order to alleviate the suffering animal.
Speaking of prevention we have the serological test, this time on the antigen (protein p27) and vaccination, now also available in Italy.
We recommend that you test all the subjects in the herd, separating positive from negative, in case of infection does not introduce any subject, first, of three months, retest every three months. It is also recommended for removing those cats that are FeLV positive in two tests, while those who test negative (always two tests) are considered healthy.
The cat tested negative at the first positive test and the second will be separated and tested again after three months.
We recommend testing all new cats before placing them in breeding, isolation for 12 weeks and then retest it.
With regard to vaccination are currently available inactivated vaccines that should be performed annually and requires two doses three weeks apart the first time I've used.
FELINE IMMUNODEFICIENCY (FIV)
It is a viral disease sustained by a lentivirus that affects all cats, even wild ones.
It has long incubation, even years!
Is mainly transmitted by the bite, but also with the saliva or by means of infected bowls.
Once the contact took place with the virus, the cat presented with fever and increased lymph node in a first step, then, after a very long time (even years), presenting signs related to diseases resulting from the immune deficiency syndrome.
It will therefore have: lethargy, depression, weight loss, anorexia, fever, chronic diarrhea, stomatitis, etc..
With regard to therapy, unfortunately, is also feasible in this case only a symptomatic therapy, as we have seen for the FIP and FeLV previously.
However, we can implement a prevention against the feline immunodeficiency syndrome following these basic rules:
- Do not let the cats come out; li>
- Suspend the pair if there are FIV positive cats on the farm; li>
- Test all cats; li>
- Separate the cats positive by others li>
- Retest all cats in 3-6 months li>
- Resume pairs if all negative; li>
- Always isolate pregnant females before birth and then the puppies; li>
- Retest even cats after six months. li>
CAT PANLEUKOPENIA (DISTEMPER CAT)
It is a disease sustained by a parvovirus similar antigenically to the virus Parvovirus dog, can hit all the big cats.
This is a rather resistant Virus, which can remain up to a year in the environment. It is also resistant to ether, phenol, chloroform and many acids, but is inactivated at 100 degrees and from the bleach.
The incubation Panleukopenia is very short, approximately one week. The animal can become infected directly (saliva, feces, urine) or indirectly (blankets, bowls, cages, clothes).
!WARNING: THE CATS CAN BE CARRIERS HEALED!
They eliminate the virus for a long time through feces and urine. The infection has occurred is the multiplication of the virus by the oropharyngeal, then follows a viral load and according to the age of those affected, a different symptom.
If a fetus has to be struck in the first quarter we will have fetal death, if within 2nd or 3rd we will have puppies with ataxia (cerebellar location), though the biggest puppy, enteritis, or localization in the lymphoid tissue and bone marrow, resulting in panleukopenia.
The clinical symptoms are manifested mainly in two forms: hyperacute or fulminant (death within 12-24 hours after the onset of symptoms) mostly in kittens aged 2-3 months.
ACUTE where you have high fever (40-41), anorexia, depression, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, severe dehydration, decubitus abdominal pain with intense, intense thirst, but water waste.
The therapy is based mainly on rehydration, the administration of antibiotics to prevent secondary infection, anti-emetics and vitamins (especially B group).
In some cases you may be given of the hyperimmune serum: It is recommended especially for kittens who are still asymptomatic, or for those who did not receive colostrum.
In healthy cats, however, does not come in contact with the virus is preferable to use vaccination.
The serum, however, interferes with vaccination for at least three weeks!
The kittens born to vaccinated mothers take the antibodies with the colostrum and they persist up to 8-12 weeks of age, according to the maternal title.
Vaccination can be performed with two types of vaccine, live (not to ever use in pregnant animals because it passes from the placenta to the fetus which causes cerebellar hypoplasia) or inactivated (as currently used). We use two doses:
- at 9-10 weeks;
- after 3-4 weeks.
For kittens under nine weeks is repeated every three weeks to three months of age.
The recall is annual.
RESPIRATORY DISEASES OF THE CAT
The major respiratory diseases of cats are supported by FHV-I, which causes rinitracheite infectious feline calicivirus or FCV and Chlamydia psittaci.
The sustained viral rhinotracheitis virus FHV-I is quite common, fortunately it is a virus rather labile, easily neutralized by bleach and temperatures of 100 °.
The animals become infected by nasal, oral and conjunctival and the incubation time is rather short (2 to 5 days.).
However, for this disease exists the problem of the "carriers", ie subjects who have passed the test virus, but which remain carriers and may in the future riammalarsi (especially as a result of stress).
Keep in mind that often relapses occur in pregnancy.
CLINICAL SYMPTOMS: among the more obvious symptoms we have:
- rhinitis; li>
- conjunctivitis (often complicated by corneal ulcers) li>
- lingual ulcers; li>
- tracheitis and bronchitis (rare) li>
- abortions in pregnant females. li>
The therapy involves the use of broad spectrum antibiotics, vitamins B, A and C, eye drops, aerosol and fluid therapy in severe cases.
Regarding prevention, it is recommended that vaccination with live attenuated vaccines (in general, are associated with the vaccine for calicivirus and panleukopenia) following this scheme.
- Vaccination at 9-10 weeks li>
- Vaccination at a distance of 3-4 weeks. li>
For kittens under 9 weeks of the vaccine is advisable to repeat every 3 weeks for up to three months of age.
The recall is for adults annually.
CALICIVIROSIS OF THE CATS
It is supported by an RNA virus belonging to the family of calicivirus: it is a virus more resistant than the previous one and is not as sensitive to disinfectants.
The incubation of the disease is very short: 1-3 days and cats can become infected through the oral and nasal.
For this disease there is the problem of the carriers that have different types: high, medium and low.
The prevalent clinical symptoms are:
- rhinitis; li>
- conjunctivitis (without the complication of keratitis); li>
- nasal and ocular; li>
- lingual ulcers very evident; li>
- pneumonia. li>
The therapy involves the use of broad spectrum antibiotics, vitamins and eye drops.
There is, also, for the calicivirus vaccination to be performed:
- Vaccination at 9-10 weeks li>
- Vaccination at a distance of 3-4 weeks. li>
The vaccines used are typically trivalent.
It is supported by a pathogen and viral diseases like the two previous ones: it is the Chlamydia psittaci, which can also cause conjunctivitis in humans.
Chlamydia is unstable outside the host cell and the product of choice to neutralize it is the quaternary ammonium.
Cats become infected by the conjunctival, rarely nasally; reached the conjunctival epithelium chlamydia causes a mild fever and almost exclusively ocular symptoms.
- ocular discharge; li>
- blepharospasm; li>
- chemosis; li>
- hyperemia of the palpebral conjunctiva; li>
- sneezing; li>
- fever (rarely); li>
- pneumonia (usually rare, is seen in case of complications). li>
Initially affected only one eye, then after 5-21 days, the other also.
The duration of symptoms is 3-4 weeks, while a mild conjunctival hyperemia and ocular discharge may persist for months.
NOTE: microorganisms are detected again until 18 months after infection.
In some cases it was found abortion in pregnant females.
The therapy involves the use of tetracyclines by the general route in addition to ophthalmic preparations of which the application is recommended 3-4 times a day.
The only contraindications to the use of these drugs are pregnancy and young age of the subjects. In puppies, in fact, these drugs can cause a calcium deficiency, although recently there are degrees of tetracycline in reducing the side effects.
As prevention for chlamydiosis exists the possibility of vaccinating cats with live attenuated vaccines.
Maternal antibodies remain in kittens up to 9-12 weeks of age.
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