There are many dangers that come from the outside for our cats. In particular, close and frequent contact with stray cats – sometimes afflicted by even serious diseases such as feline leukosis, viral immunodeficiency and typhus – can seriously endanger the health of the domestic cat. But what is cat typhus? Also called feline panleukopenia, it is a very contagious and potentially fatal disease. We can fight with an effective vaccine: in this way we can prevent it from spreading. We can also recognize and counteract the symptoms of this disease in time.
Development, in fact, is quite rapid, so if we want to avoid unpleasant consequences we must act in time. Generally, the cat contracts the typhus virus if it comes into contact with a sick cat who licks or bites it. Contact with the feces of the infected animal can also cause contagion. Or kittens can contract typhus before they are born through their mother. Finally, there is the possibility that the infection will come from human to cat. The virus is in fact very resistant and humans can bring into the house the pathogens present outside, for example with the soles of shoes.
Symptoms and treatment
Particularly at risk, exactly as it happens for humans, are puppies or elderly subjects. The incubation period of the virus can vary from two to five days and comes in three forms. There is the hyperacute one, which appears in kittens that have not yet been vaccinated. Generally, this form leaves no escape for cats, who die within hours.
The acute form affects puppies and young cats. There are three stages of the disease, starting with fever. Subsequently, the cat begins to dehydrate, its mucous membrane becomes paler and the temperature drops dramatically. Third phase of feline typhus are vomiting and hemorrhagic diarrhea which increase the level of dehydration. If caught early, the disease can be cured, but still in half of the cases the feline dies. Finally, we have a subacute form, which mainly causes chronic diarrhea and does not cause death.
Cats with typhus show a very low level of white blood cells. The vet will diagnose typhus with a blood sample. Confirmation of the disease then comes from a stool analysis. Unfortunately, there are no specific treatments to combat typhus, but you can first of all prevent the animal from becoming infected with other bacteria. In fact, his immune defenses would be too low to expel them.
You can focus on medicines that stop vomiting and diarrhea, or on specific antibiotics. In any case, the only real form of prevention is the vaccine against the disease.