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Flu in cats

Cat flu is a relatively common respiratory infection with symptoms similar to a severe cold. The most common causes of infection are calici or herpes viruses. Sometimes cat colds can become chronic. Here you can read more about symptoms, treatment and vaccines.
Flu in cats

Common symptoms of cat flu

Symptoms of cat cold or flu can be mild and, in some cases, severe.

  • Runny nose, sneezing and snoring
  • Watery eyes
  • Impaired general condition
  • Fever
  • Reduced appetite

If your cat has problems with runny eyes and nose, the flow is usually transparent in the first stage. If your cat gets worse, it becomes discoloured, usually in the yellow-green direction. Swollen mucous membranes and increased flow from the eyes and nose are a sign that the infection is ongoing.

Infection with herpes can also cause sores on the cornea that hurt. Calicivirus infection usually also causes sores in the mouth and throat. Cats then have difficulty ingesting water and food.

Treatment of cat flu

Cat flu is mainly treated with general care by keeping clean around the eyes and nose. They may also need treatment with anti-viral agents and also antibiotics for protection against secondary infections.

Some cats become so ill that they need supportive care such as drips and feeding tubes. Cat colds or flu can cause permanent damage to the upper respiratory tract which means it can become chronic.

How often are cats vaccinated against cat flu?

Cats should be vaccinated for the first time at 8-9 weeks of age, once three weeks later and then at 1 year of age. After that, the cat should be vaccinated every three years, depending on the life situation.

Talk to your vet about what is best for your cat. The vaccination does not provide comprehensive protection but usually produces milder symptoms.

If your cat won't or can't eat

Contact your vet if your cat doesn't eat, if your cat's secretions become thick or if they show signs of deteriorating general condition. Even a cat with a mild runny nose that does not go away should be taken to a vet for a check-up.

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