Showing posts with label common cold. Show all posts
Showing posts with label common cold. Show all posts

Saturday 13 November 2021

Preventing cat diseases through inoculations harnesses the body's natural ability to fight infection

Infectious agents are viruses or bacteria normally. In vaccines, the infectious agent is modified. It is no longer infectious. This is achieved by killing it or modifying it so that it is alive but no longer infectious. Or in the creation of a vaccine, the scientists take vital components of the infectious agent or enslave bacteria through genetic engineering to produce replicas of those parts in the words of Dr. Bruce Fogle (Complete Cat Care). 

URI in a cat. Typically caused by the herpes virus. Photo:
URI in a cat. Typically caused by the herpes virus. Photo:

The resulting vaccine is similar to the unmodified form of the infectious agent. This provokes the cat's immune system to create antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that attach to and help destroy the specific infectious agent against which the vaccine works.

Kittens acquire their mother's antibodies in her milk and therefore take some protection from their mother when they suckle from after birth. These are temporary antibodies which last around 6 to 10 weeks.

There are a variety of vaccines available for cats.

Feline infectious enteritis

There is a vaccine against feline infectious enteritis. This is also known as feline panleukopenia or feline parvovirus. This is a virus that can survive for a long time in the environment. The symptoms include diarrhoea, vomiting and sometimes death. It is especially dangerous to kittens. The vaccine against this disease is very effective and it provides protection for a long time.

RELATED: Feline Distemper Symptom

Cat flu

Cat flu is usually caused feline herpesvirus or feline calicivirus. The disease is spread by close contact with cats that carry the disease. Most upper respiratory infections (URIs) in domestic cats are caused by these cat flu viruses.

The symptoms are mild to severe including pharyngitis (a sore throat) eye inflammation and discharge, nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, and mouth ulcers. A complication is pneumonia which can be life-threatening. 

RELATED: Feline Herpes Virus

Some cats may suffer permanent damage to the nose or eyes. There might be a secondary bacterial infection. This can destroy eyes. You will see many blind, ex-feral cats whose eyes had been destroyed by bacterial infections.

RELATED: Is L-lysine good for herpes virus in cats?

Some cats recover quite quickly in a few days while others might take weeks. The vaccination against these viruses protects the cat from serious illness. It does not protect against infection. Cats that are vaccinated can carry the disease and pass it on to others. These carriers are asymptomatic.

Feline leukaemia virus

Feline leukaemia virus is described as 'fragile' and it is transmitted through saliva during prolonged close contact between cats. When a cat becomes infected it lasts for their lifetime and most cats die within three years of being diagnosed. This is usually because of related illnesses such as lymphoma or anaemia.

RELATED: RetroMAD1: Possible new drug for fighting Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and Feline Leukaemia

Around 1% of all healthy cats test positive. Up to 18% of all ill cats seen by veterinarians have this disease. In the selective breeding of purebred cats, blood testing has been effective in reducing the incidence of this disease. The vaccine against it provides protection to at-risk cats but not necessarily all cats.


Rabies is well known. It's a virus which attacks the central nervous system. It is fatal. It can infect almost all warm-blooded animals. It is most common in members of the canine family, monkeys, bats and cats. The virus is excreted into the saliva of the animal and it can be transmitted to people normally through bites. The disease is zoonotic.

RELATED: How often do cats transmit rabies to people in the USA?

In some places vaccination against this disease is mandated and for travelling cats. The vaccine provides effective and efficient protection which lasts for three or more years.

P.S. The principles of vaccination is better known to all of us because of Covid. It is shocking however that there are still millions of people who fear the Covid vaccines despite worldwide approval and the biggest testing program ever.

Sunday 21 February 2021

Allergy to your cat versus viral infection (common cold)

These days I get itchy eyes sometimes. I have a sniffle. The symptoms are like a very low level cold. But it happens almost all the time, on and off. It is not confined to the winter or the summer or any other season for that matter. How do I know if my sniffles are due to an allergy to my cat or because I have a mild cold that my immune system is managing to deal with?

Allergy to cats versus common cold
Allergy to cats versus common cold. Image: PoC.

I think it is very difficult to tell the difference between "the sniffles" (a low level viral infection which your body deals with and eliminates) and a low level allergy to your cat. The only way to find out is to remove your cat from your life for a while and see what happens. I'm not prepared to do that so I'm not going to find out!

Different cats produce different allergic responses. It depends upon the concentration of the allergen in their saliva which is called Fel d1 as you might know. Male cats who have not been neutered tend to produce more of the allergen and therefore are more likely to generate an allergic response in people predisposed to the feline allergen.

My cat is, of course, neutered but he is a male and it is conceivable that I might be is just slightly allergic to him. It's unlikely because I've not had problems with an allergy to cats, except I did once have a minor reaction to a stray cat who used to come into my home many years ago. I noticed the difference. He was not neutered.

I was also slightly allergic to a cat I adopted from my mother who had, at that time, just recently passed away. So I can be allergic to cats albeit to a very low level. I'm just wondering aloud. I am chewing the cud on this one because it is irritating to have these low level sniffles which I have to deal with using paracetamol.

I also have some antihistamine pills which I will take today.

Allergy to your cat VS cold symptoms

Apparently, there is a slight difference in the symptoms between those caused by an allergy to your cat and those caused by the presence of viral infection i.e. a cold. An allergic reaction causes itching, sneezing and a runny nose with clear drainage. A cold produces a runny nose, sore throat, body aches and sometimes a mild fever. The difference would seem to be that you can have a sore throat with a cold but you don't have a sore throat with an allergic reaction to your cat. On that basis I'm allergic to my cat!

The is also be a difference in the onset of the symptoms and their duration. Cat allergies start immediately, as soon as you are exposed to the allergen whereas colds require an incubation period. That doesn't really help me. An important difference is that common colds normally last to a maximum of about fourteen days whereas allergy symptoms can persist for months as you are constantly exposed to the allergen. That's a telling difference.

Two things that you can do now and/or in the future

Purina make a cat food which reduces the strength of the feline allergen. It is called Pro Plan LiveClear Allergen Reducing Cat Food. You might consider trying it if you are allergic to your cat. Another possible for the future (2 years?) is a single injection given to a cat which makes them hypoallergenic.

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