The following problems are uncommon in most cats, but are among the diseases for which vaccinations are available.
This viral disease is a serious threat to outdoor animals or those that come in contact with other outdoor animals. It is also a threat to humans, which is why vaccinating against it is so important.
Rabies is most often transmitted via a bite from an infected animal, or the virus can enter through broken skin. No animal treatment is available; animals who contract rabies die within a few days of developing symptoms.
Most common symptom: an unexplained change in the animal's behavior; a wild animal may be unafraid of humans, while a pet may turn aggressive.
A skin disease caused by a fungus, the spores that cause this disease can live in upholstery or carpeting for years and infect new animals long after a prior case was treated.
- Symptoms can mimic other skin conditions. Kittens are more likely than adult cats to be seriously infected.
- What to do: Vaccinate animals from a shelter or who live in a multi-cat household where other animals have been confirmed to have this disease. The vaccine does not completely protect against the disease, but can help hasten recovery and minimize risk.
This bacterial infection is transmitted from contact with an infected cat.
- Symptoms: The most common sign is conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the eyelid lining. Sneezing and nasal discharge are also possible. Young kittens are most severely affected.
- What to do: If you have more than one cat, and one becomes infected with chlamydiosis, the rest of your cats should be vaccinated. Also vaccinate your cats if any of them have a history of respiratory tract disease.
This parasitic infection has been linked with gastrointestinal-tract disease. It can be contracted via direct or indirect exposure to an infected animal (indirect exposure could include drinking contaminated water or sharing a litter box). An outdoor cat who catches and eats prey is also at increased risk.
- Symptoms: Diarrhea.
- What to do: If you have a multi-cat household or an outdoor cat, vaccinate.