Cryptococcosis is the result of a fungus that is spread throughout North America. Its primary source is pigeon feces, but it can be found in other birds, animals and on the skin of people. It is also noted to be a disease that twenty percent of AIDS patients have. Treatment is easy and effective if it is begun at the start of symptoms.
How do cats become infected?
The primary source of the infection is contracted through inhalation. The fungus is airborne and consequently not easy to see or to prevent. Once the fungus is settled in the nose or lungs it can either progress in immune suppressed pets or people or isolate itself and never manifest symptoms. Cats that have a history of excessive steroid use and consequently a suppressed immune system can have resultant pneumonia or other systemic diseases.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of the disease are varied. Cats that are infected are usually young adults and there are no specific breed choices that are more prone to infection. Symptoms can include eye problems, neurological problems, Cat Loss of Weight and skin lesions. Runny nose, Cat Fever and Cat Coughs have all been seen in some cats.
Oral antifungul medications are the primary treatment. This will not be a short term treatment, especially in cats. Consequently it can become quite expensive. It will be necessary to cooperate with your veterinarian to establish an adequate care plan for treatment.
With a primary immunosuppressing disease as the underlying culprit, the veterinarian will choose to do a complete workup on your cat. In this way the causative disease can be treated and lead to a more successful recovery.
The only way to prevent contracting Cryptococcus is to avoid areas that are littered with pigeon feces. Cats that are residing in some cities are more prone to the disease because of the huge pigeon population. These cats should be kept indoors as much as possible.
Steroids are notorious for depressing the immune system. In younger cats they may be used to treat specific symptoms of other diseases or Cat Allergies. As anti-inflammatory drugs, they may work quickly, but should be discontinued slowly and your cat should be placed on one of the other anti-inflammatory agents that are available.
Supportive treatment for your sick cat is necessary with this as it is with any other disease. It will be necessary to medicate your cat as your veterinarian prescribes and do it regularly. Observe your cat for relief of symptoms and side effects from the medication. Some anti-fungal medications can be upsetting to a cat’s stomach and should be given with food. Ask your vet if this is the case.
If your cat does exhibit signs of stomach upset, try giving the medication with food to see if the vomiting subsides. If it does not, contact your vet for a possible alternative medication.
The risk of transmitting Cryptococcus to humans is negligible. It is also very uncommon to transmit it to other pets in the household.