Fungal Infections in Cats - What They Are & How They Are Treated

Fungal Infections in Cats - What They Are & How They Are Treated

Fungal infections can seriously impact your cat's health, and leave you vulnerable to infection too. Today our Orange County vets share some of the most common causes, symptoms and treatments for fungal infection in cats.

Fungal Infections in Cats

Fungi (funguses) which lead to infections in cats typically live in the soil where they can be inhaled, ingested, or find their way into an animal's body through open cuts or scrapes. Once these parasitic organisms find their way into your cat's body, they are able to thrive and produce spores, often causing localized infections or even infections that spread throughout your pet's body.

The most common fungal infections our vets see in cats are skin infections (such as ringworm), while generalized fungal infections tend to be much more rare. Although some fungi can cause illness in healthy cats, most fungal infections are seen in cats that are sick, immunocompromised, very young or very old.

Depending upon the type of fungus, these infections can be contagious between cats or even between cats and people.

Fungal Infections Commonly Seen in Cats

Although there are a number of fungi in the environment that can negatively impact your cat’s health, we see some infections more often than others. Below are some of the fungal infections that we most often see in cats:

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

Fungal infections in cats may be concentrated in one area such as the nasal passages, lungs, or skin but they can also spread throughout the animal's body leading to more generalized symptoms. 

Symptoms of Fungal Infection in Cats

If your cat has a fungal infection the symptoms they display will be determined by the type of fungus causing the infection. Below are some of the most common symptoms of the fungal infections listed above.

  • 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

Diagnosing Cat Fungal Infections 

Due to the vast number fungi found in North America, and because many types of fungal infections are more regional or rare, these infections can be challenging 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 in diagnosing and treating cats with internal conditions such as fungal infections.

If your cat is showing symptoms of a fungal infection your vet will run through your cat's medical history with you then perform a thorough physical examination. If a fungal infection is suspected your vet may recommend one or more of the following in order 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 taken for analysis

Treatment for 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.

Your cat's infection may be treated with oral or topical antifungal medications. Skin lesions resulting from fungal infections may be removed by your vet and topical ointments, or medicated shampoos may be prescribed to help treat your cat's infection. When required, any secondary infections will also be treated with medications or IV fluids. 

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

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

Recovery & Prognosis

Your cat’s prognosis will be determined by the type of fungal infection as well as your cat's age and overall health. While prescription medication can help to clear some fungal infections, others may have long-term health impacts or in the case of North American Blastomycosis severe neurological symptoms may occur.

When treating fungal infections in cats it can take several weeks to see notable health improvements. To help your cat recover, be sure to attend all follow-up appointments so your pet’s recovery can be assessed. Your veterinarian will examine your cat for signs of relapse and make changes to medication if required.

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 has symptoms of a serious fungal infection, speak to your vet about a referral to our Board Certified Internal Medicine Specialist. Our veterinary specialists and critical care vets work with your primary care vet to provide the best possible care for your cat. Contact us for more information.

New Patients Welcome

Veterinary Medical And Surgical Group–OC (VMSG-OC) accepts new clients to our specialty services and 24/7 emergency services.

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(949) 201-4100