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Feline Upper Respiratory Infections are a class of illnesses which cause inflammation and irritation to the upper airway and sinus areas of cats. It is highly contagious and thrives in areas where animals are in close contact such as shelters.
The cause of feline URIs is a virus. The virus is most virulent in direct contact, but may stay active in the environment for hours after the host has left.
Symptoms of feline upper respiratory infection may include depression, sneezing, not eating or drinking, fever, a pus-like discharge from the nose and eyes, salivation, coughing, and occasionally the formation of corneal ulcers.
Although affected cats appear genuinely miserable, facilities occur only rarely, as a result of fluid and caloric deficiencies, respiratory failure, or secondary bacterial infections. If you suspect your cat has an upper respiratory infection (URI), you should seek veterinary help as soon as possible to ease the symptoms and protect against these potentially fatal secondary complications.
Often cats who appear to recover from these upper respiratory infections will become chronic carriers. They may even have recurring infections themselves if stressed.
Vaccination will provide some protection against the worst of these viruses. A vaccination program should be started when a kitten is 6 to 8 weeks old.
See your veterinarian about a vaccination program for your cat, or for further advice concerning feline upper respiratory infections.
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