News and Research

Cats: Health, Disease and Physiology: Vaccination, infections and epidemiological studies



We've given you two headlines, the first (in blue) being the original, and the second (in red) aims to be a more informative headline, so you can gain an idea of what the article is about more quickly. The source is also given in case you want to track down the original article.

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Routine health screening: findings in apparently healthy middle-aged and old cats 

Routine health checks important for middle-aged and older cats

Source: D. Paepe, G. Verjans, L. Duchateau, K. Piron, L. Ghys, S. Daminet 
Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery  vol 15: no 8, 2013 doi: 10.1177/1098612X12464628.

This study, carried out in Belgium, involved health checks on 100 cats which were thought to be healthy by their owners. Fifty-six of the cats were classeD as middle-aged, ie from 6 to 10 years old) and 44 of the cats were classed as old,  ie they were more than 10 years old. All 100 cats were given urine and blood tests, and physically examined.

The most common health problem detected was gum disease (gingivitis), affecting 72 of the 100 cats. Forty of the cats were overweight, while 11 were underweight, both categories accounting for just over half the total. Some of the cats also suffered from high blood pressure, showed signs of heart problems and signs of urinary tract disease. Fourteen of the cats were diagnosed as suffering from Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), which is potentially fatal. These findings show that routine health checks are important for middle-aged and elderly cats.


The incidence of feline injection site sarcomas in the United Kingdom. 

Low rate of feline injection sarcoma in the UK

Source: R.S. Dean, D.U. Pfeiffer, V.J. Adams 
Veterinary Research vol 9 no 17, January 2013 doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-17.

Cats can suffer from feline injection site sarcoma, which is a skin tumour at an injection site that could be linked to vaccination. It may, however, be linked to other types of injections. This type of sarcoma has been studied in North America where the number of cases has been estimated at between  1 per 1,000 to 1 per 10,000 vaccinated cats. 

This study reviews  vet practice records in the uk during 2007. In that year there were 177 cases of feline injection site sarcoma reported by 414 vet practices taking part in this study. The pharmaceutical industry estimates that 3,607,510 cat vaccine doses were bought by vet practices in that year. This gives an estimated number of cases in the UK in 2007 of from 1 per 5,000 and 1 per 12,500 feline vaccinations, figures that are in line with North American estimates. Feline injection site sarcoma appears to be uncommon  in the UK.


Changes in prevalence of progressive feline leukaemia virus infection in cats with lymphoma in Germany.

Germany sees drop in lymphoma linked to Feline leukaemia virus

K. Meichner, B.D. Kruse, J. Hirschberger, K. Hartmann
Veterinary Record vol 171 no 14, October 2012, doi:10.1136/vr.100813.

Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) can be life-threatening for cats, and is an important risk factor for cats developing lymphoma tumours. This German study has found a drop in cases of lymphoma linked to FeLV. The study compared cases of feline lymphoma occurring between 1980 and 1994, and between 1995 and 2009. There was a drop in lymphomas linked to FeLV infection from 59% in the years from 1980 to 1994 to 13% in the period from 1995 to 2009. This is similar to trends seen for FeLV infection linked to lymphoma in the USA, Netherlands, Australia and UK. Rates of infection with FeLV have also dropped in the cat population as a whole in these countries.

This drop in FeLV infection could be linked to vaccinations, first offered in the 1990s, as well as testing cats for infection, and separating infected cats from others so they did not transmit the disease. This study shows that it is worth carrying out research on diseases, and working to prevent them, with measurable benefits.

Two cases of feline leishmaniosis in Switzerland

Cats from Spain found with leishmaniosis in Switzerland

source: S. Rufenacht, H. Sager, N. Muller, V. Schaerer, A. Heier, M.M. Welle and P.J. Roosje Veterinary Record vol 156 no 17, April 23 2005 starts p 542, 4 pages long

Feline leishmaniosis occurs in places where there is endemic canine leishmaniosis, such as southern Europe and Latin America. The species of leishmaniosis vary, and L.infantum is found in southern Europe. Affected cats may suffer from skin lesions and more serious problems including renal failure. Two cases of feline leishmaniosis treated in Switzerland involved cats that were probably infected in Spain.

The first cat was a six-year-old male, ex-stray, imported from Mallorca, with skin lesions. The cat was generally healthy except for its skin problems. PCR on skin samples, and histopathology revealed leishmaniosis infection. After surgery and allopurinol treatment, the cat recovered, and ten months later had no lesions or signs of leishmaniosis. The second cat was female, nine years old, and had lived in Spain. The cat had crusts on its ears, and suffered from lethargy and a poor appetite. Parasitological and histopathological results indicated pemphigus foliaceus combined with a leishmaniosis species infection. The skin lesions were successfully treated with a ten week course of allopurinol. The cat also received 1mg/kg prednisolone once weekly for six months, and two years following diagnosis was doing well.

Pemphigus foliaceus is often treated with immunosuppressive drugs like corticosteroids, but this can increase the parasitic burden in animals with leishmaniosis. Cellular immunity helps control leishmaniosis, and glucocorticoids can affect host-parasite balances, so are not appropriate as sole therapy for animals with leishmaniosis. Cats are often affected by leishmaniosis in areas where it is endemic, and they may show no symptoms. It may thus be useful to check for leishmaniosis infection in cats where the disease is endemic, if they need immunosuppressive treatment or have clinical signs.


Cat ‘Flu Information for breeders

What breeders need to know about cat flu

source: Feline Advisory Bureau Volume 39 (1) 2001
starts page 11, 3 pages long

Cat flu is a respiratory tract infection and is problematical in breeding colonies in spite of vaccination. The symptoms can be mild or severe and causes include feline herpesvirus (FHV), feline calicivirus (FCV) and Bordetella bronchiseptica. FHV is usually more severe and some kittens or immunocompromised adult cats may die. Recovered cats may go on to develop problems such as chronic rhinitis and will also be carriers, shedding the virus at times of stress. FCV is often milder than FHV, but there are several strains and these can cause conjunctivitis and oral ulcers, as well as ‘limping syndrome’. Many pedigree cats infected with FCV are found to have gingivitis. FCV is shed continuously, although the infection is eventually eliminated in most cats. Bordetella bronchiseptica (BB) infection usually causes a mild nasal discharge and possibly a cough, but can lead to fatal pneumonia if FHV/FCV are also present. There have been a few cases of transmission of BB from dogs to cats.

Chronic nasal discharge in the cat

Runny noses in cats

source: Feline Advisory Bureau Volume 39 (1) 2001
starts page 15, 2 pages long

Idiopathic rhinitis is a common form of chronic upper respiratory tract (URT) disease caused by a bacterial infection in the nose secondary to a virus such as cat flu. Other forms are rare, but can include fungal infection, polyps, cancer and physical damage from foreign objects. The symptoms include nasal discharge, which may affect one or both sides of the nose, sneezing, runny eyes, facial swelling and enlarged lymph nodes. Diagnostic tests include haematology, biochemistry and nose and throat swabs, as well as more extensive investigations such as x-rays and surgical rhinotomy. Treatment for URT disease usually involves controlling the clinical signs with antibiotics, steam inhalation and flushing the nasal passages.

Efficacy of a canarypox virus-vectored vaccine against feline leukaemia

New canarypox virus-feline leukaemia vaccine found to be effective

source: H. Poulet et al
Veterinary Record vol 153 no 5, August 2 2003
starts p141, 5 pages long

Feline Leukaemia virus (FeLV) causes significant illness and deaths among domestic cats world wide, and there is a need for more effective vaccines, as well as more evidence of the efficacy of FeLV vaccines. Live virus vaccines give rise to a broader immune response than inactivated virus vaccines, but there are safety concerns relating to live attenuated FeLV vaccines. Live viral vectors offer an alternative. The canarypox virus vector (ALVAC) offers possibilities because it multiplies in birds, not mammals, but is able to give mammals a protective immune response by expressing foreign immunogens.

This study used a canarypox-vectored live vaccine to give protection against FeLV. The vaccine was tested on FeLV-free and seronegative kittens aged between seven and nine-weeks-old. The vaccine was found to be effective against very severe challenges, and was solid twelve months following the initial vaccination.

Most diseases relating to FeLV are suffered by cats with persistent FeLV infections, so it is important that a vaccine can prevent such infections. Cats may, however, suffer latent infections, with the virus hosted in their bone marrow. This latent infection may become active when cats are given corticosteroids. There was no latent infection detected for most of the cats given the ALVAC-FeLV vaccine.The vaccine appears to have induced a broad enough immunity to lower infections with FeLV to levels at which they could not be detected.

The vaccine also proved efficacious with no adjuvant. This helped to achieve local tolerance, and there was no inflammation when samples from the site of the injection were examined. The vaccine has an advantage in not provoking reactions, since it is possible that chronic inflammation at sites of injections could be linked to fibrosarcomas in vaccinated cats. The vaccine is also compatible with other vaccines. The article examines methods and results of this study in further detail.

Disease risks for the travelling pet: Leishmaniasis

Diagnosing and treating leishmaniasis in cats and dogs

source: Lise Trotz-Williams and Luigi Gradoni
In Practice vol 25 no 4, April 2003
starts p190, 6 pages long

Several thousand pets have travelled between mainland Europe and Britain since the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) was introduced in 2000. Pets are treated for ticks, tapeworms, and rabies, but can still contract other diseases, including leishmaniasis, which can be fatal, and can also affect humans.

Leishmaniasis refers to syndromes in animals affected by Leishmania protozoan parasites. Leishmania infantum is more common in the Mediterranean, and has also been found in North America. Leishmania chagasi is more common in Latin America. Dogs are the main reservoir for both types of Leishmania, since it is rarer for cats to be affected. Animals become infected through being bitten by sandfly carrying the parasite. The infection can spread to several organs in cats and dogs that do not have a strong enough immune system to protect them. Around half of dogs that become infected will go on to develop clinical leishmaniasis. The disease has a reported incubation period of between a month and seven years. Symptoms vary according to which organs and tissues have been invaded, and some animals may simply show dermatitis. Pets may develop 'spectacles' as the skin round the eye is affected, and their muzzles may also show signs of the disease. Cats and dogs that are seriously affected can lose their appetites, lose weight, and become depressed. The variety of possible clinical signs is wide, and includes osteomyelitis, colitis, and pericarditis, so diagnosis is not easy, but leishmaniasis should be considered when pets have travelled to areas where it is endemic.

Diagnosis can be carried out in a number of ways, including smears from skin lesions. Parasites may not be easily detectable in some cases, and diagnosis may also be carried out through testing for antibodies to leishmania. Such tests may not be accurate until a while has elapsed after the pet has become infected.

There is some risk to humans, especially children and people with HIV. However, humans in southern Europe generally appear to be at low risk of acquiring clinical leishmaniasis, despite high risks of infection.

Treatment tends to suppress clinical signs, and pets may suffer relapses, since parasitological cures are difficult to achieve. Euthaniasia may be recommended in areas where leishmaniasis is endemic, due to the risk of the disease being passed on, and of drug resistance developing. However, since sand flies and other vectors are unknown in the UK, treatment is more of an option there. Megaglumine antimoniate and allopurinal are usually given, with allopurinol continuing over the longer term, though there are other treatments, such as allopurinol given alone. Long-term intermittment treatment appears to be the best option to prolong survival rates.

Cats appear to be more resistant to leishmaniasis than dogs, and they tend to be less severely affected when they are infected. Most affected cats simply suffer from skin conditions. Treatment is the same for cats and dogs.

Leishmaniasis is especially common in Mediterranean countries, such as France, Spain and Portugal. The highest rates have been found in the Balearic Islands, Crete, Malta and Corsica. The risk varies from one locality to another, and from one season to the next. The risk is highest when there are most sand flies about, especially between May and September. Sandflies tend to be especially active from dusk to dawn, so an important precaution is to keep pets indoors at this time. Collars impregnated with deltamethrin (Scalibar collars from Intervet) can also help to protect dogs from sandfly bites and infection.

Preliminary results of the dog and cat exotic disease surveillance scheme

Cats in Britain appear to be less vulnerable to exotic diseases than dogs

Source: Paul Mauser
Veterinary Record vol 153 no 7, August 16 2003 p220

The British government launched its Dog and Cat Travel Risk Scheme (DACTARI) in March 2003, for voluntary reporting of cats and dogs with exotic diseases, especially if they have been abroad under the Pet Travel Scheme. Cats appear to be less vulnerable than dogs, since no cases of exotic diseases were reported from March to July inclusive, while 12 dogs were reported, one with two conditions. There were eight diagnoses of leishmaniasis, four of babesoisis, and one of ehrlichiosis. Two diagnoses of leishamniasis and one of babesoisis were also reported prior to the start of DACTARI. Ten of these cases involved dogs that had travelled to France and Spain. Leishmaniasis is a disease that humans can suffer from too, and it is not easy to treat.

Government response on cat and dog vaccination

British government responds to report on cat and dog vaccines

source: Veterinary Record vol 153 no 2, July 12 2003
starts p35, 2 pages long

The British government has backed recommendations made by a working group on vaccination for cats and dogs. The group was set up in 1999 to assess health risks arising from vaccinations. The government supports 15 of the 19 recommendations made by the group, including a recommendation that more research be carried out into links between upper respiratory tract problems in cats, and feline calcivirus vaccination. The working group called for product literature to carry statements that the duration of immunity used for booster vaccination regimes is a minimum, rather than a maximum period. The group also called for a risk-benefit analysis to be carried out for individual pets, by vets together with the pets' owners. The government sees professional development among vets as the best way to spread information, rather than through product literature. The government also claims that it encourages voluntary disclosure of information to vets and the public. The government rejected a recommendation for generic warnings to be put on injectable vaccines for cats, relating to the possible higher risk of sarcomas developing after aluminium-adjuvanted vaccines. The government argues that there is not yet enough evidence to link specific vaccines, or types of vaccines to fibrosarcomes.

Vaccination and fibrosarcomas in cats

Risks of fibrosarcomas from vaccinating are less than risks of not vaccinating cats

source: Veterinary Record vol 148 no16, April 21 2001 p493

Jane Dobson from Cambridge University's Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, has reviewed literature on links between vaccination and fibrosarcomas in cats. She presented her report to the 2001 BSAVA Congress. She noted that there was a study in California which found cats vaccinated against rabies to be more likely to suffer from fibrosarcomas that were often larger and more aggressive, and affecting younger cats, than traditional fibrosarcomas. Sarcomas also seem more likely to occur if a cat is always vaccinated in the same spot, possibly because the injection site could become affected by chronic inflammation. There is evidence for some sort of link between vaccinating and
fibrosarcomes, but no actual proof. The development of cancers probably involves a number of factors, she argues. Reported cases in the UK that fit a diagnosis of fibrosarcomas induced by vaccination are rare. Cats are exposed to greater health risks if they are not vaccinated, compared to the risk of their developing a tumour.

Kitten mortality in the United Kingdom: a retrospective analysis of 274 histopathological examinations (1986 to 2000)

Study of 274 kitten deaths in the UK between 1986 and 2000

source: T.A.Cave et al
Veterinary Record vol 151 no 17, October 26 2002
starts p497, 5 pages long

A retrospective study has examined the deaths of 274 kittens from the UK. Private homes accounted for 211 of the kittens, and 56 kittens came from shelters, while a further seven kittens were of unknown origin. Pedigrees accounted for 56% of the sample, and this high proportion may be because owners were keener to find out why the kitten had died. Infectious diseases were found to have affected 55% of the kittens, with viral infections accounting for 71% of infections. Feline parvovirus (FPV) accounted for 25% of the total deaths. Feline herpesvirus and calcivirus were the most important viral infections for neonatal and pre-weaning kittens, while 17 postweaning kittens died from feline infectious peritonitis.

The median age at death of rescue shelter kittens was 49 days compared to 56 days for kittens from private homes. Shelter kittens were also more likely to have suffered from FPV. Pedigree kittens were more likely to have come from private homes rather than shelters, and their median age at death was 56 days compared with 42 days for non-pedigree kittens. Little difference was found between age at death of male and female kittens. There was no diagnosis for 33% of the total, and lack of diagnosis was more
likely if only a sample of tissue was submitted, rather than the kitten's whole carcass.
More research is needed on how common FPV is in shelters. Measures to control infection can reduce kitten mortality in shelters.

Prevalence of feline leukaemia virus and antibodies to feline immunodeficiency virus and feline coronavirus in stray cats sent to an RSPCA hospital

UK survey of prevalence of diseases among stray cats

source: A. Muirden
Veterinary Record vol 150 no 20, May 18 2002
starts p621, 5 pages long

Tests for feline coronavirus (FCoV), feline leukaemia virus (FeLV)and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) were carried out on 517 stray cats at an RPSCA centre in Birmingham, England. 22.4% of cats tested had antibodies to FCoV, 3.5% had antibodies to FeLV, and 10.4% had antibodies to FIV. Feral and semi-feral cats were more likely to test positive for FCoV, as were cats older than two years of age. Cats with non-traumatic illness were more likely to test positive for FeLV and FIV than traumatised or healthy
cats. Semi-feral and feral cats were also more likely to test positive for FIV, as were older cats, and males, both entire and neutered, though no correlation was found between tameness, age and sex, and testing positive for FeLV.

FcoV is spread through faeces, and stray cats may be at risk through using several territories. FeLV appears to be spread through social contact such as grooming, whereas FIV is linked to fighting, and in this study, with neglected or old injuries. Previous studies have found links between tumours, gingivitis and FeLV, and between abscesses and severe oral disease and FIV.

This study should provide useful data for authorities dealing with stray cats, many of which may need to be rehomed.

Haemorrhagic fever, oedema and high mortality associated with FCV infection

Concern about feline calcivirus infection outbreaks in the US

source: A.D. Radford et al
Veterinary Record Vol 151 no 5, August 3 2002 p155

There is concern about outbreaks of feline calcivirus in the US, where a new strain affecting both kittens and adults has led to mortality rates often reaching 50%. Affected cats show a range of symptoms, including pyrexia (90%), paw and facial oedema (50%) and upper respiratory tract infection (50%). Infection can be spread by humans and contaminated instruments and cages as well as by contact between cats. Many cats succumbing to these infections had been given all their vaccinations. Quarantine and other measures have helped to limit outbreaks. It takes from between two to four weeks for cats to cease shedding this virus from the time they are infected. The infection appears to be confined to the US, but anecdotal evidence suggests a possible case in the UK. This virulent strain of virus could be the result of a mutation, so may appear outside the US. UK vets suspecting that cats have this type of infection should contact A.D. Radford and team at Liverpool University, where specialist facilities are available for molecular typing and virus isolation.

Retrospective study of 46 cases of feline haemobartonellosis in Israel and their relationships with FeLV and FIV infections

Study of cats with feline infectious anaemia

source: S. Harrus et al
Veterinary Record vol 151 no 3, July 20 2002
starts p82, 4 pages long

Feline haemobartonellosis is also called feline infectious anaemia. It is thought to be the main cause of feline haemolytic anaemia, and is caused by Haemobartonella felis, which may be mycoplasmal, though it was first thought of as rickettsial. There are large and small forms of H felis, and the organism may be transmitted by fleas. This study describes 46 cases, and compares cats which also suffered from feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukamia (FeLV) with cats that did not have these additional infections.

The sample comprised 23 intact males, 9 castrated males, 11 intact females and 3 spayed females. Free roaming cats accounted for 85% of the sample, or 39 cats, and seven were indoor cats. Their ages ranged from two months to 12 years, though 75% were 2.5 years or younger. 34 cats were tested for FeLV, with 13 positive, and 37 were tested for FIV with eight positive, while two were positive for both FeLV and FIV. This study found that younger cats, and intact males are more likely to suffer from feline haemobartonellosis, which fits with previous research.

The main clinical signs were lethargy, tachypnoea, depression, anorexia, emaciation, dehydration, splenomegaly, icterus, pale mucus membranes, and flea infestations. Tachypnoea has not been discussed in most reports of previous research on H Felis, but was found in 73% of these cats. The main haematological findings were anaemia and leucocytosis. Key biochemical abnormalities found were that activites of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were high for most of the cats tested for this. This could be linked to hepatic hypoxia as a result of anaemia. Some
of the cats found to be anorexic (65%) may have suffered from hepatic lipidosis, accounting for the high activity levels.

There were significantly lower body temperatures in cats suffering from both FeLV and H felis infections, possibly because of circulatory collapse and acidosis from compromised blood perfusion. There have been reported of fever resulting from co-infections, but cats in this study may have been at more advanced stages of illness, with temperatures dropping when they were moribund. Anaemia was also more serious in cats with both infections. FIV infected cats did not show significant differences from cats without co-infections.

Feline infectious anaemia

Symptoms of feline infectious anaemia, treatment and prevention

source: Feline Advisory Bureau Journal vol 38:3, July 2000
starts p93, 2 pages long

Feline infectious anaemia (FIA) is caused by Haemobartonella felis (H felis), a bacterial parasite which damages red blood cells. Young male cats, and those sick from other diseases such as FIV are especially vulnerable, and the disease is thought to be transmitted through fighting and fleas, as well as from queens to their kittens. Urine and saliva are not thought to be infectious, but cats can catch FIA from infected blood, either from blood transfusions, or from biting infected cats. Humans cannot catch FIA.

Affected cats tend to show loss of appetite, pale gums, tiredness and depression. Diagnosis is not easy because levels of bacteria vary in waves. Some infected cats are carriers and show no symptoms, and anaemic cats are usually able to produce new red cells. FIA can be treated with antibiotics such as Doxycycline, which may be used together with corticosteroids to prevent red cell destruction. Blood transfusions may be needed if anaemia is severe. Rehydration therapy and help with feeding may also be needed. Cats may still carry FIA for life, despite treatment with antibiotics, and only
appear ill at times of stress. Preventive measures include controlling fleas, and reducing aggression between cats, as well as ensuring that blood used in transfusions is FIA-free.

Cat jab

Vaccine approved in US for feline AIDS

source: New Scientist April 6 2002 p23

The US Department of Agriculture has approved a vaccine to protect cats from feline AIDS. The vaccine was developed at Florida University's College of Veterinary Medicine, by Janet Yamamoto, and uses two strains of FIV virus that have been inactivated. Cats can obtain some 60% protection for a year.

Cat HIV jumps species

Macaques infected with FIV

source: Alison Motluk
New Scientist August 25 2001 p8

Researchers from Calgary University, Canada, have infected macaque monkeys with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Blood was taken from the macaques, and then injected back into them after being infected with FIV. The macaques suffered a drop in CD4 immune cells, and lost weight. One macaque that initially recovered fell ill again following injection with tetanus toxoid, which sets of latent infections. Usage of FIV and other lentiviruses in gene therapy should be reconsidered, the researchers argue.

Grooming and control of fleas in cats

Comparison of grooming behaviour and flea infestation of cats with and without Elizabethan collars

source: Robert A. Eckstein, Benjamin L. Hart
Applied Animal Behaviour Science 68 (2000)
starts p141, 10 pages long

Two experiments have been carried out on cats to assess the importance of oral grooming as a method of flea control. In the first experiment, eighteen long-haired cats were studied in a household plagued by fleas. Nine cats wore Elizabethan collars which did not allow them to groom effectively. These cats were compared with nine control cats, with flea samples taken once a week. After three weeks, the cats with Elizabethan collars were found to have more fleas than the control cats. In the second experiment, cats were videotaped in a flea-infested household, and their behaviour was compared with cats in a flea-free location. The cats in the flea-infested household spent more time grooming. These two experiments show that cats may groom more when there are fleas in their environment, and that grooming is a method for cats to remove fleas.

Cats have cornified spines on their tongues, which can help to remove ectoparasites like fleas. Cats also use scratch grooming techniques to reach their heads and necks. Fleas removed from cats by grooming apparently do not survive longer than one or two days. Grooming may, thus, reduce numbers of fleas in the household, and there was a reduction in adult flea numbers in the environment where the control group lived. This drop in numbers of fleas in the environment may help explain why the control group had fewer fleas than the cats wearing collars. Though oral grooming brings a benefit in terms of effective flea reduction, one problem that can arise when cats remove fleas by oral grooming is that fleas can infect cats with tapeworms.

The cats in the flea-infested household in the second experiment, tended to groom more frequently rather than for longer periods. Increased frequency of grooming bouts may mean that the cats' central timing mechanism was accelerated by flea saliva. This fits in with a view of grooming as pre-programmed, rather than stimulus-driven, since longer periods of grooming would be expected with a stimulus-driven model of grooming.

Feline uveitis: a clinical and serological study of 44 cases

French study suggests link between feline uveitis and Toxoplasma

Source: M. Roze
The European Journal of Companion Animal Practice Vol IX (2) October 1999
starts p 149, 8 pages long

A study of 44 cats suffering from feline uveitis suggests links between this condition and Toxoplasma Gondii. The cats underwent both ophthalmologic examination, and had serological tests for Toxoplasma Gondii, FeLV and FIV. Anterior uveitis was found in 79.5% of the cases, the most common symptoms being low intra ocular pressure, and aqueous flare. Posterior uveitis was diagnosed in 22.7% of the cases. Cataracts were found in nine cases, lens luxation was found in eight cases, and glaucoma in seven cases.
Changes affecting the iris were noted in 34 cats. The iris often becomes darker as a result of uveitis. The anterior chamber was cloudy in 27 cats. Feline uveitis can have a number of causes, such as tumours, traumas, hypertension, parasitic, bacterial and viral agents, and multiple myeloma, but the precise cause of a particular case of uveitis is usually unknown. Vets may not always carry out serological tests, due to the costs involved for the cat owner.

The cats in this study were aged between 2.5 months and 16-years-old, with those whose uveitis was caused by tumours or trauma excluded from the study. The average age of the group as a whole was 9.4 years, rising to 13.1 years for spayed females, 10.8 years for neutered males, 9.5 for entire females, and falling to 3.5 years for entire males. There were 20 neutered males, 14 spayed females, five entire males and five entire females in the study. A positive serology was found in 25 cats for toxoplasmosis, while six were
FIV positive, five being positive both to FIV and toxoplasmosis. Four cats were FeLV positive, with two also positive for toxoplasmosis. The toxoplasma positive cats had an average age of 10.3 years.

Timing of tests is important in establishing a clear link between toxoplasmosis and uveitis, but toxoplasmosis does appear to be responsible for some cases.

Urinary tract infections in small animals: therapeutic options and management of problem cases

Treating problem UTIs in cats and dogs

source: Mark Dunning and Jo Stonehewer 
In Practice vol 24 no 9, October 2002
starts p 518, 7 pages long

The main way of treating urinary tract infections (UTIs) in cats and dogs is to use conventional antimicrobials, especially injections followed by oral treatments. The article provides a detailed discussion of selection of antibiotics and recommended amounts. Cephalexin or amoxycillin may be useful, but culture and sensitivity is indicated, and this should always be the case where infection recurs. The therapy should always be completed, even if the cat or dog appears to have recovered.

Underlying causes have to be investigated if the infection recurs or does not respond to antimicrobials. Low dose antibacterials may help if an underlying cause cannot be found. Infections may recur for a number of reasons, such as drug resistance, too low a dosage, factors that affect how the cat or dog absorbs the drug, or deep-seated infections. Novel therapies include oestrogen replacement therapy (which can help women), prophylactic Lactobacillus administration (effective in mice), and regular consumption of cranberry juice, which is effective in reducing infections in some humans, though there is only anecdotal evidence that it may be effective in veterinary species.