I recently dealt with a cat who was feeling very badly. The four-year-old cat, a primarily indoor Siamese, had actually appeared fine at bedtime the night before. Her owner awoke to find that the cat was really sluggish and did not want to get out of bed or eat breakfast. She made it to a chair in the living-room, and she did not leave the chair for the rest of the day. The owner brought her to me at 3 p.m.
The first thing I saw about the cat was depression. In veterinary medication the word depressed means something different from its colloquial use for humans. In human beings, anxiety typically describes mental depression. In felines, we use the term to explain physical depression. The cat was sluggish.
As I assessed her further, I found that her gums were sticky. There was thick saliva in her mouth. Her eyes were sunken, and her skin was not as elastic as it ought to be. These are indications of dehydration. Her eyes were dull and glassy. Her coat was unkempt, and flea feces was present in her hair. Her heart and lungs sounded normal. There was no evidence of pain when I palpated her abdominal area, and her organs felt normal. However, there was one other significant finding. Her temperature was 105.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
The regular temperature in cats is 100.0 to 102.5 degrees. The cat had a considerable fever.
There is a name for the condition the cat was suffering, however it isn't really a diagnosis. In fact, the name itself indicates that no diagnosis had actually been reached. The cat had fever of unknown origin.
Lots of things can cause fever in felines. Bacterial infections are the most typical. Viral infections likewise are possible. Inflammatory conditions can set off fever. Exposure to particular contaminants might cause fever too. Discomfort can trigger fever. Cancer, unfortunately, also is a cause of the syndrome. Foreign objects lodged in the intestines may trigger the condition.
The cat was young, so cancer was not most likely. Cancer sometimes strikes four-year-old cats, however (mercifully) it isn't really common. The other causes were more likely.
2 aspects of the cat's physical examination and history stuck out to me. She was a mostly indoor cat, which meant that she periodically went outside. And she had fleas.
Cats who go outdoors are most likely than their strictly indoor equivalents to suffer from fever of unknown origin. Outside cats are more likely to be exposed to infectious diseases. Also, outdoor cats are a lot more likely to be exposed to a typical threat to cats: other felines.
Frequently, cats who go outside battle with other felines. I asked the owner about the cat's history. The owner ensured me that her pet did not search for battles. She attempted to prevent other cats. That did not make much distinction in my mind. Every neighborhood has difficult resident cats who prefer to combat. Even if the cat in question didn't select a battle, somebody else may have selected a battle with her.
When a cat is in a fight, she is likely to be bitten. There is an urban legend that holds that cats have "filthy mouths." There is a typical belief that felines have more germs in their mouths than other animals. In fact, that is not real. Nevertheless, felines' mouths contain a 1-2 punch of features that can lead to aggressive infection when they bite. Initially, they have long, sharp teeth that permeate deep into tissues. Second, their mouths have the tendency to contain a bacteria, Pasteurella multocida, that thrives in environments that lack oxygen. When a cat bites, the teeth act like syringes that inject germs deep into tissues but leave just an extremely small injury on the skin. The skin wound closes practically immediately, leaving the bacteria in their favored environment where there is no oxygen.
The fleas also were significant. Fleas carry a variety of transmittable diseases that can trigger fever and sicken felines. Some of them, such as afflict and feline infectious anemia, can be harmful.
There were other possible causes for the fever. Infections of the kidneys are not uncommon. Pneumonia can strike felines. Pancreatitis often causes the kinds of symptoms the cat was suffering. Swelling of internal organs or the nervous system may set off fever of unidentified origin.
Because of the capacity for major disease, I recommended that the cat be hospitalized for treatment and diagnostic screening. We began intravenous fluids and prescription antibiotics. Capstar, which eliminates fleas, was administered. Lastly, we began pain killers to alleviate the generalized pain and cramping that fever can cause.
Blood tests, urine tests, and X-rays were regular. This was a relief. Felines with fever of unknown origin, however without anemia or evidence of organ issues, normally respond to the treatment that had actually been begun for my client. The diagnosis was good.
Nonetheless, the scenario was rare for the rest of the afternoon. The cat's temperature level climbed up as high as 106.5 degrees. If it got much greater she would be at risk of organ damage, and anti-inflammatory medications would be necessary.
Luckily, 106.5 was the peak. The fever started to resolve, and dead fleas drizzled off of the cat's body. I enjoyed to see the dead fleas, due to the fact that truly the just good flea is a dead one.
Later on in the evening, we found something that led to a final diagnosis. The cat had scratches on her abdominal area suitable with a cat battle. The medical diagnosis was an infection from a cat battle. The scratches had not been visible during the initial exam. This is not unusual. Cat scratches typically take many hours and even days to become red and visible-- this is a process where the injuries "state themselves" over time.
I enjoy to report that the cat regained her appetite overnight, and the fever resolved by the morning. She went house on antibiotics and with directions to remain inside and to be checked in 6 weeks for the feline immunodeficiency virus, which is spread out through combating.
Any cat who develops serious lethargy must get immediate veterinary interest. But if you wish to avoid a weekend journey to the emergency vet for treatment of a cat fight infection, I recommend that you keep your cat inside.