Fungal Pneumonia Average Cost

From 412 quotes ranging from $200 - 2,000

Average Cost

$1,200

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What is Fungal Pneumonia?

Fungal pneumonia has a gradual onset, and the longer it is present the harder it is to eradicate. Bacterial infection may occur from the immune system being weakened from fighting the fungal pneumonia. In some advanced cases, systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) may develop. This can be deadly, as it spreads the infection to other organs and stops them from functioning. 

Pneumonia occurs when an infection causes the lungs to become inflamed. The alveoli (tiny sacs of air in the lungs) fill with pus and fluid. This makes breathing very difficult, and if left untreated can become life threatening. The alveoli are responsible for transporting oxygen from breathing into the bloodstream. If they are not functioning properly, the entire body of the cat becomes depleted of oxygen.

In the case of fungal pneumonia, fungal spores infiltrate the lungs and airways. This is also referred to as “mycotic pneumonia”. Cases of fungal pneumonia are rare in cats, but they do occur. An infection of the Cryptococcus fungus is the most commonly seen fungal infection in cats. There are a few other fungi that may cause pneumonia in cats. Cats with immune disorders are more prone to developing fungal pneumonia, as are younger cats and cats that are male (by 2 to 4 times). The infection affects the nasal cavity, irritating the lining of the nose and sinus. 

Symptoms of Fungal Pneumonia in Cats

The first stages of fungal pneumonia carry almost no symptoms. The further progressed the infection is, the more symptoms that will manifest. Symptoms are as follows:

  • Thick green/yellow nasal discharge
  • Eye discharge
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Labored breathing
  • Loud breathing
  • Short wet cough
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Bumps of lesions on the skin
  • Lameness
  • Dull fur coat
  • Blepharospasm (squinting)
  • Sudden blindness (in advanced cases)

Causes of Fungal Pneumonia in Cats

While the cat’s own immune system is partly responsible for whether it will be susceptible to fungal pneumonia or not, geographic location is a heavy determinant of exposure to fungal spores. Different fungi live in different parts of the earth. All known causes are listed below.

  • Spore inhalation from soil
  • Interaction with bird droppings
  • Genetic defects of the immune system
  • Living near damp or wet habitats
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
  • Prednisone use
  • Chemotherapy
  • Certain cancers that affect the immune system

Diagnosis of Fungal Pneumonia in Cats

To make a proper diagnosis, your veterinarian will need the cat’s full medical history. A physical examination will be completed, including listening to the lungs with a stethoscope. The vet will check to see if the cat’s symptoms match those of fungal pneumonia. Often a correct diagnosis is made after a course of antibiotics proves to be ineffective, ruling out bacterial pneumonia. 

X-rays can show increased lung density, which will confirm the presence of pneumonia. Full blood work will be needed, including a complete blood count and a biochemical profile. An increase in white blood cells can indicate the presence of both cancer and/or fungal pneumonia. A lung aspiration may be done by sticking a needle into the lungs and collecting lung cells for microscopic evaluation. This can identify any fungi present. Testing for FIV should also occur. 

Treatment of Fungal Pneumonia in Cats

Appropriate treatment will depend on how severe fungal pneumonia has become. An earlier diagnosis has much more success than does a late one. 

Antifungal Medication 

In all cases of fungal pneumonia, an extensive prescription of antifungal medication will be needed. Medications of choice are generally itraconazole or fluconazole. Both are expensive, and the duration of treatment will last months after symptoms have disappeared. The cat is often kept in the clinic or hospital for the first 2-5 days to determine whether it is responding to medications or not. 

Supportive Care 

While the cat is hospitalized, it will need ongoing supportive care to promote healing and maintain comfort. This generally includes intravenous fluids to return the cat to proper hydration and nebulization to keep the airways moist. Oxygen supplementation may also be needed. If the cat does not respond to medication, supportive care will be maintained into palliative circumstances.

Surgery 

Surgery may be needed if the pneumonia has progressed to SIRS. If skin nodules or granulomas have developed, they may need to be surgically removed. If increased eye pressure has caused blindness, the entire eye may need removal. All surgeries require general anesthesia and carry extra risks, especially in a cat who is already weak. 

Antibiotics 

If a secondary bacterial infection is present, or if the cat has undergone surgery, antibiotics will be prescribed to rid the body of harmful bacteria. Prescriptions may last from 2 weeks to a month or longer. 

Recovery of Fungal Pneumonia in Cats

The cat will need to take antifungal medication for months on end to rid the body of infection. It should be noted that less than 70% of cats respond favorably to this medication. Some cats may clear the infection on their own, however, this is rare. Two weeks after hospital discharge, you will need to make a vet appointment for follow-up chest X-rays to confirm the pneumonia is resolving. At that time the cat will be reevaluated.

Clean any outdoor areas that may be collecting fecal material. Limit your cat’s outdoor access. Restrict all play and activity during the healing process. Give your cat a high-quality cat food with protein and lots of calories. You may also want to supplement your cat with liver enzymes. If blindness has occurred, it will be permanent. Relapse can happen up to one year after treatment has taken place. 

Fungal Pneumonia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Little Kitty
domestic short hair
7 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Not Eating
breathing labored
Letharrgic

Can people and other cats catch fungal pneumonia from a another cat? I have a cat that has fungal pneumonia. She sleeps with me and one of my other cats. My vet is advising euthanasia. WE have not done any other tests to see what kind of fungus. Only an x ray

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
494 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Fungal pneumonia is typically due to airborne fungal particles, most often found in soil. I am not aware of contagious causes of fungal pneumonia. I'm sorry that this is happening to Little Kitty.

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Little kitty
domestic short hair
7 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

not eating but drinking
sometimes labored breathing
lethagic
no fever

My cat has been diagnosed with fungal pneumonia through an x ray. She does not have all the symptoms. She is not eating well and has labored breathing sometimes. My vet said he can do a lung wash and send to lab. Is that the only way to diagnose which type of fungus it is? Can she be placed on antifungal meds? I wasn't given much hope for her. She was given a B12 shot. I don't want to put her through a lot if there is no chance of recovery. She is eating a little. I don't know what to do. Can she fight the fungus off on her own? I don't want to have her euthanized but I don't want her to suffer.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1993 Recommendations
The decision to place Little Kitty on antifungal medication is down to her Veterinarian, however it is always wise in severe cases to do a wash to identify the specific pathogen and to test certain medications (antibiotics/antifungals depending on what’s isolated) to direct treatment more effectively; but whilst waiting for result we generally treat with a broad spectrum medication to cover us the few days before results come back. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Tiny
tabby
9 Years
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

Very sick.

Can my cat get this from being around chickens? We live next door a neighbor who has a family of Chickens, I also feed the wild birds in my front yard, I catch rain water to water my garden which the wild birds drink. My cat has not had shots since a small kitten. He was neuter then. We have a eight month old cat is she in danger? What can I do to protect my younger cat? Am I the bad guy here. Do I need to stop what I am doing?







Can my cat get this from being around chickens?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
494 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. There are fungi that exist in the environment that can affect cats, yes. Chickens can pass Salmonella bacteria which can also affect cats. If Tiny is not feeling well, he should be seen by your veterinarian, as I cannot diagnose anything over an email. Your veterinarian will be able to examine him, determine what might be going on, and suggest any treatments necessary. If Your eight month old cat has not had vaccines and preventive care, that would be a good idea to have taken care of as well. I hope that they are both okay.

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Oliver
Cat
Six Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Eye watering, not eating. Lethargic

My cat Oliver was diagnosed with Fungal Pneumonia and was put on Itrafungol oral solution. However that was it. I asked the Dr is there anything else to be done such as oxygen etc. He said no. It doesn't seem like he is eating either. Just sleeping. He also said to bring him back in 2 weeks for another x-ray to see if the medication is working. Very worried about him not eating or if he is drinking. If you were me would you take him to another vet or a University for better treatment? Vet said there is a 50/50 chance to be blunt. I live in a very small town where there is limited DVM'S. I believe he is better at home than put the stress on him of leaving him at "some place" can I do anything for him? Thank you for any input.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
494 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without examining Oliver, I can't comment on whether he is breathing well, or is having problems with oxygen levels, but I think it is always better to be safe than sorry with things that involve the lungs, and breathing. If you are not sure that he is okay, there is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion to see if he would benefit from any other therapy. I hope that he is okay.

I don't know what the outcome will be. However we did take him for a 2nd eval to a bigger city with more specialized equipment. Currently on oxygen and IV's also keeping him under 24 hour observation. They also faxed all his info to OSU. DR. does not believe it is fungal pneumonia. But they have never seen a case like this. Blood work looks good except for his pancreas level (could be because he hasn't had anything to eat). X-ray looks good. Dr. would like to wait overnite then do a "blood splat". But at least his fever is down and he is not drooling. Always, Always if in doubt get a 2nd opinion. Keep Oliver in your thoughts. Thank you.

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Mesho
Persian
Five Years
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

My cat is 5 years old and he is in intensive care now since yesterday. They are taking good care of him but he is still having difficulty breathing even with oxygen support. No progress since yesterday only his dehydration issue resolved. The doctor is still unsure if he has bacterial or fungus infection in his lungs but his chest x-ray is very white which indicated that it is full of pus and his condition is very severe. Also, the doctor might do a biopsy "if he gets better and stronger' to check for cancer. Is there a possibility that he could make it? I am very very worried and I would really appreciate a clear description for his condition and treatment. Thank you.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
494 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. WIthout knowing more about his condition, and seeing his x-rays, or knowing what kind of medication he is on, I cannot comment on his condition or treatment, I am sorry. That would be a great question for his veterinarian, who is with him, and overseeing his case. Bacterial and fungal infections of the lungs can be life-threatening, as they impair his ability to breathe. Being in the hospital is the best place for him at this point. It can be difficult to tell the difference from an xray between bacteria, fungus and cancer, although he is a young cat to be that overcome by cancer. He will need to be on oxygen support until things resolve a little for him. I hope that he is okay.

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b/c
Feral
9 Months
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Breathing Difficulty

Our cat was diagnose with fungal pneumonia 4 weeks ago,: visit vet last week and had chest x-ray, vet said showed some improvement. How long does the labor breathing continue?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1993 Recommendations
Fungal pneumonia can take a while to treat and to ensure that the infection is cured, treatment may need to last a few months; the laboured breathing would be dependent on the severity of the infection and the response to treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

thanks for the quick response

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