Histoplasmosis is a serious fungal infection that enters a cat's body by way of their digestive system when they consume bird droppings or soil contaminated with the Histoplasma capsulatum fungus. Soil can become contaminated with an infected cat's waste, and if your cat scratches around in the soil, they can become infected. Your cat doesn't have to wander far to be at risk, as your own garden could have contaminated soil or droppings and you would be unable to tell until your cat became sick. Here's an overview of the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment approach for histoplasmosis in cats:
Early symptoms of histoplasmosis include loss of appetite, fever, gastric upset and laboured breathing. Without prompt treatment, your cat may develop a cough and discharge from their eyes, and in the late stages of infection your cat will lose weight and their lymph nodes will become enlarged due to inflammation.
Diagnosis And Treatment Approach
Your vet will take details of your cat's symptoms and carry out a physical examination. They will take blood and urine samples, which will show if your cat is dehydrated or malnourished due to appetite loss and whether Histoplasma antibodies are present in their blood, which would confirm contact with the fungus. Your vet may also arrange for your cat to undergo diagnostic imaging, such as a chest X-ray or a CT scan, to check the health of their lungs and the condition of their lymph nodes.
Histoplasmosis can be treated with oral antifungals, but your vet may wish to admit your cat and treat them as an inpatient to minimise the risk of the infection being spread to other animals. If your cat is dehydrated or malnourished, they will be given intravenous fluids and nutrients, and if their lymph nodes are affected they may require antibiotics to treat the infection and allow the swelling to come down. In some cases, the lymph nodes may develop one or more abscesses, and these may have to be surgically drained before complete healing can take place.
Your cat will need time to recuperate during and after treatment, so your vet may advise restricting their movement for a few days by keeping them in a pet cage. Additionally, they should be kept indoors and away from other animals until your vet gives them the all-clear at a follow-up appointment when their prescribed course of treatment has ended.
If you suspect your can has come into contact with the Histoplasma capsulatum fungus, or if they have any of the symptoms associated with histoplasmosis, schedule an urgent appointment with your vet.
Contact a company like the Wakeley Veterinary Hospital today to learn more.