Odds are good that your feline pet will suffer from a cat virus of one type or another during his lifetime. Viruses are diseases that affect your pet's DNA, causing harmful effects while the virus itself uses your cat's body to replicate itself. Diagnosing a feline virus can be a difficult task, given that there are a large number of feline viruses, many of which carry similar or identical symptoms. The key to a successful diagnosis, however, is recognizing your pet's infirmity early on so that treatment can begin before the virus progresses to a serious level. Continue reading for an overview of feline virus diagnosis.
Common Virus Symptoms
The first step toward successfully diagnosing your cat's virus is to understand and recognize the common symptoms of viruses that affect cats. Although feline diseases may range from mild to fatal, many viruses display a number of similar symptoms. The primary symptoms of a feline virus include some or all of the following:
- Lethargy or malaise
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Loss of appetite or weight
- Increased rate of infection
Observe your healthy pet so that you are able to tell when his mood, behavior or overall health change in even a slight way. If he should fall victim to a feline virus, you will be better prepared to identify the disease early on.
The Veterinary Examination
If you suspect that your pet may suffer from a virus of some kind, take him to a veterinarian immediately. Before conducting any specific tests, your vet will ask for an overview of your pet's symptoms and general medical history. He will then conduct a physical examination of your pet to search for telltale signs of disease or another condition.
The most useful tool in identifying a feline virus is a blood test. With your help, your vet will draw a small sample of your cat's blood in order to run laboratory tests. In many cases, this single examination will be sufficient to diagnose the virus. However, some viruses may be trickier to diagnose. These may require additional testing, including urinalysis, smears, biopsies and other tests. In each of these cases, your vet will conduct these tests in order to confirm or disconfirm a disease which he suspects as the culprit following his initial examination and analysis of symptoms.
Following the Diagnosis
After your vet diagnoses your cat's condition, consult with him for advice about appropriate treatment plans for your animal. These will vary widely according to your pet and his specific ailment. Symptoms of viruses may be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs or other medicines as well as rest and recuperation.
Prevention Against Feline Viruses
It is important to note that many of the most dangerous and common feline viruses, including parvovirus and feline leukemia, are virtually preventable by means of vaccination. In order to protect your pet against these potentially fatal diseases, ensure that you follow your vet's recommended vaccination schedule from the time that he is a kitten.