Cat Flu Diagnosis

Cat flu is the name given to a common upper respiratory infection in cats. This flu is not usually fatal in adult cats that are otherwise healthy, but can prove fatal in kittens or older cats that have other health conditions that compromise the overall wellness of the cat.

How Cats Contract Flu

Like most common viral infections, cats contract cat flu when they are exposed to other cats or animals that are carrying the virus. There are instances where some cats catch a flu virus from their human owners, but this is not a common means of catching the flu.

Symptoms of Cat Flu

There are many symptoms of cat flu, but they seem to hang on for at least two to three weeks. Most common is the clear discharge that comes from the cat's nose and eyes. As the viral infection gets worse, the discharge becomes thicker and colored. This symptom can become a chronic problem if the flu is not properly diagnosed and treated. Another common symptom of cat flu is loss of appetite. This can be in part to the cat not feeling well, but it can also be the result of mouth ulcers that develop as part of the viral infection. A higher than normal temperature and sometimes even a cough are all symptoms of cat flu infection.

Diagnosis of Cat Flu

If you notice the symptoms above in your cat, it may indicate that he has the flu. However, without proper diagnosis by your veterinarian, it can be difficult to know for sure. Only a veterinarian can make a true flu diagnosis in a cat. The process of diagnosing cat flu is not just a matter of looking at the list of symptoms and checking the cat's temperature. To make a proper diagnosis, the vet must conduct a lab test in order to make an accurate diagnosis.

The veterinarian will take a swab of the inside of the cat's mouth. The swab is then sent to a laboratory where they grow the virus in a culture, so that they can determine what the virus is and therefore make a proper diagnosis. Following this, the vet will determine the best course of treatment, if he thinks the cat will not be able to get over the illness on its own.

Cats can be treated for the flu, but the treatment is primarily to help suppress the symptoms of the flu virus. As a virus, the flu itself cannot be treated and must run its course. There are vaccines available that can help prevent a cat from contracting the flu in the first place. If a cat ends up suffering from the flu, despite the fact that he was vaccinated, it's very important to make sure that a veterinarian makes an accurate diagnosis and treats the cat for its symptoms.