What is Sporotrichosis?
Sporotrichosis is a rare, zoonotic disease originating from Brazil. It is caused typically by Sporothrix Schenckii. But it also manifests as Sporothrix Brasiliensis. These two are organisms that come from vegetation, timber and the soil.
Sporotrichosis is a sporadic fungal infection that humans, cats, dogs, horses, donkeys, cows, camels, dolphins, goats, mules, birds, pigs, rats, and armadillos can contract. The fungus readily enters the body through open wounds on the skin, and usually appears as localized lesions of the ears, nose and face of felines. It can affect other parts of the body if left without treatment, and quickly becomes fatal if not tended to as soon as possible.
Cats With Sporotrichosis Can Infect Humans
Although most species of Sporothrix are less likely to spread on other mammals, by scratching or biting, kitties with Sporothrix Brasiliensis can spread this deadly species directly to humans. When affected, the symptoms of humans can be similar to if not worse than those with Sporotrichosis of different Sporothrix species.
Symptoms of Sporotrichosis In Cats
The symptoms of Sporotrichosis vary, depending on the type the cats contracted. The most common form is Lymphocutaneous Sporotrichosis. It appears in small and firm bumps on the nose, tips of the ears, and head. The one inch lesions produce discharge. Aside from the physical sores and fever, it also affected cats with depression and listlessness.
The second type is Cutaneous Sporotrichosis. Effected kitties experience swollen lymph glands and lymph disease in small areas. Further, the skin lesions are crusty with drainage. But the most severe type is Disseminated Sporotrichosis. This is when the fungal infection has spread deeper than skin, namely to the joints and bones (Osteoarticular Sporotrichosis), and to the brain and nervous system (Sporotrichosis Meningitis). At their worst state, cats endure a feverish bodily system and extreme weight loss from wasting of the body that may result in death.
What Causes Sporotrichosis In Cats
Sporotrichosis infects a cat when it comes in direct contact through open wounds on their skin. As the fungus comes from various plants, kitties can get it from said plants scratching and penetrating their body or when they outright chew on the foliage. However, they are more likely to contract it from a puncture wound. Because this gives direct access for the sporotrichosis organism to infiltrate the body.
Cats that bear the risk of coming down with Sporotrichosis are fighting male cats, felines with immunosuppression, multiple household cats, and cats around rotting organic debris.
How To Diagnose Sporotrichosis In Cats
It’s quite tricky to diagnose sporotrichosis in felines. The symptoms associated with this disease are similar to that of other dermal conditions. Therefore, veterinarians will begin the diagnostic process by reviewing kitties’ medical history and inquiring you a few questions about your cat’s previous activities. Recent cat fights, contact with decaying debris like garden compost, and outdoor exposure will be helpful for diagnosis.
To exclude other possible conditions causing skin lesions, veterinarians will perform a differential diagnosis. Firstly, to identify your cat‘s condition as sporotrichosis contagion, they will first want to eliminate the possibility of a parasite allergy, drug eruption, immune-mediated disease, squamous cell carcinoma, lupus, or a bacterial pyoderma. Therefore, blood work, skin cytology and urine tests will be done on felines to further examine their condition.
Sporotrichosis Treatment For Cats
Treating cats for dermal fungal disease is not only a challenge for veterinarians, but also expensive as it is not easily done with a mere antifungal medication. There are copious medical drug therapies to use. Despite this, a lot of them are not suitable for animals and have eminent adverse effects. Talk to your vet about possible detrimental reactions attributable to the drug chosen for treating your cat’s sporotrichosis and the fitting way to supervise kitty at home. Therapeutic treatments can take between weeks to months due to the disease often failing to respond to treatment. Side effects are also common. Even after the palpable clinical cure, veterinarians may choose to continue therapy up until 30 days beyond that for precaution.
Common drugs used to treat felines with Sporotrichosis include Sodium iodide, Potassium iodide, Ketoconazole, Itraconazole, Terbinafine, and Recov. Itraconazole is the first choice, given orally at a gradual amount from 10 to 80 mg per day daily until symptoms disappear. Further, Terbinafine is also proven to be successful at treating Sporotrichosis.
Recovery Process of Cats With Sporotrichosis
Follow all directions by your vet . Execute the duration of the therapeutic treatment, even if your cat is no longer showing signs of ailments. Usually, treatment of Sporotrichosis proceeds for at least a week past the time of apparent cure. This is to see the fungal spores are cleared entirely from the body, so be sure to complete all of the treatment plan. Negative drug effects are common in felines undergoing treatments for sporotrichosis. Therefore, your vet will ask that you monitor your cat carefully at home. A feline exhibiting any clinical indication of adverse effects will have to go the nearest vet immediately, as these repercussions can be fatal.
Avoid Surgery 🚫
When a cat is suffering from Sporotrichosis, the fungus in their cells prevent wounds from closing. So, surgical treatments that involve cutting their skin open, like spaying or neutering, should not be done during this critical time. Wait for them to fully heal before sending them for any medical procedure that requires incision.
Especially in Brazil, everyone should be careful when handling cats. Above all, those that appear unwell or have noticeable lesions. Many can get sporotrichosis from infected kitties even if the cat does not bite or scratch them. Some contract sporotrichosis after touching a sporo cat, then touching their eyes without cleaning the used hand(s). From this mistake, we find clear preventive measures.
Firstly, you should always maintain a strict hygiene. Secondly, be wary of feral animals and approach cats with caution, even if they seem friendly. Most importantly, limit contact between feral and domestic cats, particularly those that appear sick.
There Is Help!
Even the most loving cat guardians struggle with medication cost. Treatment for Sporotrichosis represents one of them, as this disease is most common with rescue kitties that live in poor neighborhoods. As we all know, community cats multiply rapidly compared to house cats that we properly care for and spay or neuter. They are also harder to control with dominant cats constantly fighting for territory. Undoubtedly, this kind of environment exposes them more to Sporotrichosis.
Helping infected kitties can be without financial obstacles. If you are staying in Malaysia, PetFinder.my has a page made specifically for Medical Sponsorship and Emergency Rescue Fund. To get the public’s help, simply write to them, providing full details regarding the situation. Then, they will assess your case fairly, before including it into their Medical Fund portfolio.
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