What are Fungal Infection Of The Lungs?
Fungi are organisms that produce spores that gain nourishment from the host they inhabit. While many types of fungi exist, they do not all cause infections that can make your cat ill. Certain types of fungi only attack cats that are weak and in poor health, while others can inhabit a healthy animal. These fungal spores can cause localized infections, such as in your cat's lungs.
Your cat can be exposed to a variety of things in the environment that can adversely affect his health. A variety of fungi thrive in our soil and water sources that can cause fungal infections of the lung in cats. If fungal spores rise to critical levels, your cat can become sick.
Symptoms of Fungal Infection Of The Lungs in Cats
The symptoms of fungal infections of the lung in cats can vary greatly, depending on the type of fungi causing the problem. Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with these types of infections in cats:
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing
- Weight loss
- Loss of muscle tone
- Overall weakness
- Inability to exercise
- Swelling of the sinuses
- Lesions on skin
- Eye problems
- Bloody nose
- Walking in circles
- Infections of the bone
- Enlarged lymph nodes
There are many types of fungi that can cause lung problems in your cat. The following is a list of some of the most commonly seen by veterinarians in cats :
- Pneumocystis carinii
- North American Blastomycosis
Causes of Fungal Infection Of The Lungs in Cats
Fungal infections of the lungs in cats have a variety of causes. Here are some of the most common causes of these conditions in domestic felines:
- Compromised immune system
- Inhalation of fungal spores
- Ingestion of fungal spores in water
- Exposure to fungal spores in soil
Diagnosis of Fungal Infection Of The Lungs in Cats
In order to make a diagnosis, your veterinarian will begin by asking you some important questions about your cat's health history. Include information such as unusual birth history, date of symptom onset and pre-existing medical conditions. After taking a brief history, your doctor will take vital signs including weight, temperature and respiratory rate. A blood sample will also be taken to conduct a complete blood count, or CBC, and a biochemical profile. Urinalysis will also be taken and examined for signs of bacteria or infection.
Diagnostic tests, such as chest X-rays, may be taken, so your doctor can view the condition of your cat's lungs. In some cases, doctors may take a sample of tissue from the lungs so the type of fungi can be identified.
Treatment of Fungal Infection Of The Lungs in Cats
The type of treatment used for fungal infections of the lungs in cats depends on the type of fungi causing the infection. Some infections are treated with several weeks of antifungal drugs. Certain types of fungal infections of the respiratory system may require antibiotics, as well. Cats that are having difficulty breathing may receive oxygen therapy and steroids to reduce inflammation. Physical therapy may also be used to help remove fluid from the lungs often associated with certain types of infections. In difficult cases, doctors often prescribe a diet for enhanced nutrition and IV fluids to provide adequate hydration. Cats that are very sick may be placed in the hospital for medication, fluids and monitoring. Only your doctor can determine if this is necessary and how long your cat may remain in the hospital.
Recovery of Fungal Infection Of The Lungs in Cats
The length of recovery time depends on the type of fungal infection present and the treatment prescribed. Certain types of infections may return and require several months of antifungal medications before symptoms disappear. Your doctor will most likely want to monitor your cat for several weeks to be sure he is progressing normally. It is important to keep all return appointments for your cat, as these are critical. If you notice your cat coughing excessively, having trouble breathing or being less active, you must notify your doctor immediately. Prompt treatment is key to controlling the symptoms of fungal infections in the lungs. While your cat is recovering, your doctor may want you to place him in a cage to restrict his movement. This will help take stress off his lungs until the medication begins to work. If your cat is very active, he may begin having difficulty breathing again. Cats that are very sick may require euthanasia if your doctor feels his condition is too advanced for treatment. While this is never an easy decision, it is often the most humane.