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Fungal Skin Infections in Cats

Fungal infections can be dangerous to our feline friends' health. In some cases, your cat's fungal infection may be passed on to you, your family, and other pets in the house. Our Bartlett veterinarians discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatments of fungal infection in cats.

Fungal Infection in Cats

Fungi (funguses) that cause infections in cats usually live in the soil, where they can be inhaled, ingested, or enter the body through open cuts or scrapes. Once inside your cat's body, these parasitic organisms can thrive and produce spores, resulting in localized infections or infections that spread throughout your pet's body.

Skin infections (such as ringworm) are the most common fungal infections our Bartlett vets see in cats, while generalized fungal infections are uncommon.

Although some fungi can cause illness in healthy cats, the majority of fungal infections are seen in sick, immunocompromised, very young, or very old cats.

These infections can be contagious between cats or between cats and people who spend time with them, depending on the type of fungus.

Types of Fungus Seen in Cats

There are numerous fungi in the environment that can harm your cat's health; however, some types of infections are more common than others. The following are some of the most common fungal infections in cats:

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

Fungal infections in cats can be concentrated in one area, such as the nose and nasal passages, lungs (which frequently leads to fungal pneumonia in cats), or skin, or they can spread throughout the animal's body, causing more generalized symptoms.

Signs That Your Cat May Have a Fungal Infection

If your cat has a fungal infection, the symptoms they exhibit will depend on the type of fungus that is causing the infection. Some of the most common symptoms of the fungal infections listed above are listed below.

  • Poor appetite
  • High fever
  • Eye infections
  • Seizures
  • Lung infections
  • Skin lesions
  • Weight loss
  • Paralysis
  • Lack of energy
  • Bladder infections
  • Blindness
  • Anemia
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Bloody discharge from nose
  • Cysts
  • Persistent cough
  • Circling
  • Swelling under the bridge of the nose

How Vets Diagnose Cat Fungal Infections 

Because of the large number of fungi found in North America, as well as the fact that many types of fungal infections are more regional or rare, these infections can be difficult to diagnose.

At Veterinary Medical And Surgical Group (VMSG) in Orange County, our veterinarians can utilize our state-of-the-art lab and diagnostic technology when diagnosing and treating cats with internal conditions such as fungal infections.

If your cat is exhibiting signs of a fungal infection, your veterinarian will go over your cat's medical history with you before performing a thorough physical examination. If your veterinarian suspects a fungal infection, he or she may recommend one or more of the following tests to determine the type of fungus causing the infection and the best treatment for your cat:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Chemical blood profile
  • Urinalysis to check kidney function and look for other signs of an internal fungal infection
  • Tissue samples were taken for analysis

Treating Fungal Infections in Cats

Treatment for your cat's fungal infection will depend upon your cat's symptoms and the type of infection being treated.

Antifungal medications, either oral or topical, can be used to treat your cat's infection. Fungal skin infections in cats can cause lesions, which your veterinarian can remove and/or treat with topical ointments or medicated shampoos. Any secondary infections will be treated with medications or IV fluids as needed.

Treatment options may include keeping your cat hospitalized in order to reduce the risk of family members becoming infected if the fungus your cat has is transmittable to humans.

If you are treating your cat at home, your veterinarian will give you instructions on how to prevent infections from spreading, such as wearing gloves and a mask when changing litter or handling your cat, frequently washing your pet's bedding, and food bowls, and toys.

Recovery & Prognosis for Cats With Fungal Infections

The type of fungal infection, as well as your cat's age and overall health, will determine your cat's prognosis. While some fungal infections can be treated with prescription medication, others may have long-term health consequences, or in the case of North American Blastomycosis, severe neurological symptoms.

It can take several weeks to see noticeable health improvements in cats after treating fungal infections. To assist your cat's recovery, make sure to attend all follow-up appointments so that your pet's condition can be evaluated. Your veterinarian will examine your cat for signs of relapse and, if necessary, adjust the medication.

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.

If your cat is showing signs of a fungal infection, our team can help. Contact Hillcrest Animal Hospital today for advice on suggestions on the next steps.

Fungal Infection in Cats

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