The yeast-like fungus Cryptococcus neoformans exists all around the world. Cats and other mammals who inhale its spores can be infected with Cryptococcosis, especially if they have a preexisting damaged immune system due to FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) or FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). Infection is most often traced to contact with bird droppings, especially those of pigeons.
Pet owners can help prevent a cryptococcal infection by keeping their animals away from areas where pigeon or other bird droppings are prevalent.
There is a wide variety of symptoms of Cryptococcosis. Not every animal infected will show every symptom. Things to watch for include:
- Skin lesions, especially on the head (see photo above)
- Hard swollen nodules, especially on the nose
- Nasal discharge (rhinitis)
- Swelling of the lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)
- Difficulty breathing
- Neurological symptoms, including seizures
- Eye disorders
- Behavioral changes
If the condition becomes chronic, additional symptoms can include:
- Diminished appetite (anorexia)
- Weight loss
Your veterinarian has a choice of several prescription medications to treat Cryptococcosis, including Amphotericin B and Ketoconazole. Some of these medications can be administered at home over the course of several months, and some can be administered intravenously. Discuss these options with your vet because some drugs have serious side effects, including toxicity for some animals.
Any cat diagnosed with a cryptococcal infection should also have a complete work-up performed to determine whether it suffers from any conditions that may suppress the immune system. Treatment for the underlying condition is also essential for the animal to have the best chance of recovery.
About National Pet Pharmacy
National Pet Pharmacy is your pet health superstore. From prescription only pet medications to organic cat food, National Pet Pharmacy knows that pet health is more than just medicine; it is cat supplies, cat beds and pet food. From whiskers to tail, National Pet Pharmacy cares for your whole pet.
Search for More Information
Search over 10,000 Pet Health Articles