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Fungal Infections in Cats: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

A fungal infection can make your kitty uncomfortable and have a major impact on their health - in addition to leaving you vulnerable to infection. Our Waxhaw vets discuss causes, symptoms and treatment for fungal infection in cats.

Fungal Infections in Cats

To survive, fungi (funguses) must nourish themselves by feeding on hosts. In cats, these parasitic organisms produce spores and can cause infections that can harm your cat.

Most fungi originate in soil, where they lie in wait for cats and other animals to inhale or ingest them. They can also find their way in through the skin (via a cut, wound or other open sore).

If your cat has been exposed to animals infected with fungi or has come into contact with their feces, he or she can also be at increased risk.

Fungal infections in cats, Providence Animal Hospital, Waxhaw Vets

While some fungal infections cause disease in healthy animals, others prey on hosts with compromised immune systems, or who are ill or weak, to establish infection. Cats that take immunosuppressive agents or antibiotic drugs over a long period of time appear to be more vulnerable to fungal infections.

Common Fungal Infections in Cats

While many different types of fungi in the environment can negatively impact your cat’s health, we see some infections more often than others. Here are some of the fungal infections we typically see in cats:

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

These infections may be concentrated in one area, or spread throughout the entire body. Though general fungal infections are rare, fungal skin infections in cats are more common.

Symptoms of Fungal Infection in Cats

Symptoms are often determined by the type of fungal infection a cat has. These are common symptoms our vets typically see in cats with the types of infections listed above:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Eye problems
  • Seizures
  • Lung infections
  • Skin lesions
  • Weight loss
  • Paralysis
  • Intolerance to physical activity
  • Bladder infections
  • Blindness
  • Anemia
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bloody discharge from nose
  • Cysts beneath the skin
  • Cough
  • Circling
  • Swelling under the bridge of the nose

Diagnosis & Treatment of Fungal Infections in Cats

Because some fungal infections are rare, they can be difficult to diagnose. You can help your vet by knowing your cat’s medical history and being prepared to answer questions such as when your pet began to display symptoms of infection.

At Providence South Animal Hospital in Waxhaw, our veterinarians have years of experience in diagnosing and treating internal conditions. They can perform a thorough physical exam and take blood samples to be analyzed in our in-house diagnostic lab.

From there, we can use advanced tools and technology to make a definitive diagnosis and provide treatment recommendations based on a comprehensive assessment of your cat’s health issues.

A complete blood count (CBC), chemical blood profile and urinalysis will help your vet identify what’s causing your kitty’s symptoms. In some cases, a tissue sample may be taken to assist in diagnosis. Your cat will typically be anesthetized for these tests. The tissue sample will be taken during surgery, then analyzed in our lab.

Depending on which type of fungi is causing your pet’s symptoms, your vet may present different options for treatment, such as hospitalization if the fungus is transmittable to humans. This will help reduce the risk of you or your family becoming infected.

If your cat will be staying at your home, your vet may provide instructions on how to prevent infections - including wearing gloves and a mask when handling your cat or changing litter.

The vet may be able to remove any skin lesions and prescribe topical ointments to help treat the infection. If required, any secondary infections will also be treated with medications or IV fluids. Keep in mind that several weeks of treatment may be needed before your cat’s health issues improve.

Recovery & Prognosis

Your cat’s prognosis will be determined by the type of fungal infection he or she has contracted. While prescription medication can help to clear some infections, others may have long-term health impacts or even lead to severe neurological symptoms (for example, North American Blastomycosis can cause these).

To help your cat recover, it’s critical to attend all follow-up appointments so your cat’s recovery can be assessed. Your vet will check to see that no relapses have happened and make changes to medication if required. Report any changes in your cat’s appearance or behavior immediately.

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.

Is your cat exhibiting signs of a fungal infection? Our vets have experience in diagnosing and treating a number of illnesses and conditions. Contact our Waxhaw vets today to schedule a consultation. 

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Providence South Animal Hospital provides comprehensive veterinary care for your cherished pets in Waxhaw.

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