East Texas vet seeing increase in feline pneumonia, shares what to watch for in your pets

Vet seeing increase in feline pneumonia

GILMER, Texas (KLTV) - If your cat is lethargic and sneezing, you might want to get him to the vet, because a Gilmer veterinarian says she is seeing several cases of cat pneumonia every day.

Animal Medical and Surgical Hospital’s Cherie Nazzal hates to see sick kitties, so she does her best to help them heal. She’s seeing a lot of cats with pneumonia since it’s airborne and:

“It’s very contagious, highly contagious; it could be indoor or outdoor cats,” Nazzal said.

She says things to be on the lookout for are:

“The kitty cat doesn’t want to eat, hangs its head, and then sometimes you’ll see sneezing or coughing; but mainly runny nose or runny eyes,” Nazzal warned.

And if it progresses it can lead to:

“Ulcers on the tongue; ulcers on the back of the throat and then it drains out into the lungs. And then once it drains into the lungs then you get the pneumonia. Then you’ll get the coughing, the wheezing,” Nazzal explained.

And a sick cat will get a sort of rattle in its lungs.

“You can actually feel the little kitty breathing. You can feel the bubbling in the lungs,” Nazzal said.

She says it’s a lot different than a purr. And it’s not just one virus going around.

“These are several different viruses. Now the good thing is you can vaccinate your kitties for this virus. And if the kitties go indoors and outdoors they are more inclined to be exposed to these viruses,” Nazzal stated.

She says she understands the concerns pet owners have about inoculations, but it’s a gamble if they don’t get the shot.

“The cat may not get the infection but the cat has no immunity if you don’t give them the vaccination,” Nazzal warned.

And, she says if the illness is ignored:

“Then the kitty can die, or it can get permanently ruined lungs,” Nazzal added.

Dr. Nazzal advises it’s better err on the side of caution if your cat is showing symptoms. She also says the virus is contagious to other cats, and the secondary infection can be contagious to dogs. It’s not contagious to people except for those with a compromised immune system.

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