Strep throat is a miserable experience, but the thought of your beloved cat catching it too can be even worse. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with strep throat, you might wonder if you could pass it on to your furry friend. The good news is that there is no evidence to suggest that humans can transmit this infection to their cats. However, it is possible for cats to become carriers of the bacteria and pass it on to other humans. Although conclusive studies on the transmission of strep throat between humans and cats are lacking, it is still essential to be informed about the infections that can affect your cat and how to prevent or treat them.
Strep Throat in Cats: The Facts
Strep throat, caused by the Streptococcal bacteria, is primarily a bacterial infection that affects humans. However, it can also affect cats in a similar manner. If left untreated, this infection can rapidly progress and lead to severe respiratory issues and even fatalities in feline companions. Recognizing the symptoms of a streptococcal infection and taking prompt action is vital.
In cats, strep bacteria primarily target the upper respiratory tract and can cause various complications, including arthritis and septicemia in extreme cases. Kittens and older cats with weaker immune systems are more susceptible to streptococcal infections. Healthy adult cats with stronger immune systems can typically ward off such infections. The Staphylococcus bacteria thrive in the layers of skin within the upper respiratory tracts of cats.
How Cats Contract Streptococcal Infections
Similar to humans, kittens and elderly cats are more prone to contracting streptococcal infections due to their weaker immune systems. It is not uncommon for kittens to be born with this infection, as their mothers, also known as queen cats, may have been carriers. Many queen cats carry these bacteria in their vaginas, even if there are no visible symptoms. This is especially prevalent in cats that reside in shelters.
If you bring home a cat from a shelter, it’s crucial to be aware that shelters can harbor various infections, and there’s a chance that your cat might be carrying some of them. A visit to the veterinarian is highly recommended to ensure your new feline companion receives proper care.
Recognizing the Signs of a Streptococcal Infection in Cats
If, by any unfortunate circumstance, your cat develops an upper respiratory tract infection or a streptococcal infection, several symptoms may arise. These include sneezing with a discharge (which starts off clear and thickens over time), red and runny eyes, difficulty breathing (often accompanied by snorting noises resembling something stuck in the throat), fever, loss of appetite, coughing, vomiting, and pain. In some cases, cats may even experience arthritic pain during a streptococcal infection.
Additionally, kittens are particularly prone to eye infections caused by Streptococcus bacteria. It is crucial to seek prompt treatment to prevent any potential damage to their eyes.
At the first sign of an infection, it is essential to consult your veterinarian. The recommended course of action may involve administering antibiotics to your cat. Additionally, the vet might suggest rest and increased fluid intake for your feline companion. In many ways, our feline friends are similar to humans. When we catch a cold and visit a doctor, the advice often includes taking medication, staying hydrated, and resting. The same principles apply to the care of your cat.
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