Fungus infections in cats can be fatal if not treated appropriately. Most infections appear mild when they first start. Over time, symptoms get worse; the cat may suffer from motor coordination problems, blindness or difficulty breathing. It is important to take a sick cat to the vet right away to avoid serious complications of this nature.
What are Fungus Infections?
Fungi are germs commonly found in the environment. According to KidsHealth, a website for children about science and health issues, fungi are relatively harmless to people. However, fungus infections can be fatal to cats. PetEducation.com says that cats are prone to both skin infections and deeper infections.
How Fungus Infectons are Contracted
Cats get most fungus infections by inhaling fungus spores. Different types of fungus are found in different areas of the United States or world. For example, cats in Missouri or Mississippi are more prone to a serious type of fungus infection called blastomycosis.
Some fungus infections are caused by a lowered immune system. PetEducation.com describes one such infection, cryptococcosis, which it says is also found in 20 percent of human AIDS sufferers.
Symptoms of Fungus Infection
Symptoms of fungus infection vary, depending upon the type of infection. Many fungus infections involve difficulty breathing, frequent sneezing, discharge from the nose and eyes, and fever. Skin infections such as ringworm are characterized by skin lesions.
Common Fungus Infections
According to the Go Pets America website, the four most common fungus infections are blastomycosis, histoplasmosis, coccidiomycosis and cryptococcosis. These fungus infections are all contracted by inhaling fungal spores.
Blastomycosis is a potentially fatal, systematic fungal infection. Symptoms include coughing, rapid breathing, pneumonia and fever. This infection can be spread to humans through open wounds. It is treated with medication.
Coccidiomycosis is more common in dogs than in cats. It causes skin lesions, loss of appetite and weight loss. PetsEducation.com says it can be fatal if untreated and is generally treated with medication.
Histioplasmosis is found in humans as well as cats. Go Pets America says that it is often found in poultry yards. Symptoms are similar to blastomycosis. Infected cats may need lifelong treatment.
Cryptococcosis is the most common feline fungal infection, according to Go Pets America. It is a potentially fatal respiratory disease; symptoms include labored breathing, coughing, sneezing and discharge from the nose or eyes. If left untreated, it can cause blindness and discoordination.
What to Do if Your Cat Has a Fungus Infection
If your cat is sneezing or coughing a lot, or you otherwise suspect it has a fungus infection, take it to the vet as soon as possible. Most fungus infections are treated with antibiotics; your vet can show you how to administer medication at home. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital, as many fungus infections get worse over time and can even become fatal.