Educational Articles

Infectious Diseases

  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a virus specific to the cat family. It was first recognized in the mid 1980's and it has been found in cats worldwide. Although widespread, it is not a common infection in cats. Only 1-5% of cats show evidence of exposure to the virus. In some cats exposure to the virus leads to clinical signs and symptoms that result in deficiency in the immune system.

  • Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is an important disease of domestic cats and most members of the cat family (Felidae). It occurs worldwide in cats of all ages, but the disease is most common in young cats less than two years of age.

  • The early signs of FIP disease can be quite vague and may not be obvious. If your cat appears to be in good health and your veterinarian found no abnormalities on a physical examination, then the "positive" test means only that your cat has been exposed to a strain of Feline Coronavirus, the virus that can cause FIP.

  • Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is one of the most important infectious viruses of cats. It was first discovered in cats with a form of leukemia, hence its name. FeLV is the cause of a variety of diseases, not just leukemia.

  • The term panleukopenia means a decrease in the number of all of the white blood cells in the body. White blood cells play a major role in immunity and are important in defending against infections and diseases. In severe panleukopenia, white blood cell numbers may drop from the normal of several thousand per milliliter of blood to just a few hundred.

  • Giardiasis is an intestinal infection in humans and animals, caused by a microscopic protozoan parasite. The parasite occurs worldwide and is a common cause of "Traveler's Diarrhea" in people. Outdoor enthusiasts who inadvertently consume contaminated water may develop "beaver fever", which is another name for giardiasis in people.

  • Heartworms are a blood-borne parasite called Dirofilaria immitis that reside in the heart or adjacent large blood vessels of infected animals. The female worm is 6 to 14 inches long (15 to 36 cm) and 1/8 inch wide (5 mm). The male is about half the size of the female. Heartworm disease is much more common in dogs than in cats.

  • Heartworm disease or dirofilariasis is a serious and potentially fatal disease. It is caused by a blood-borne parasite known as Dirofilaria immitis.

  • Hepatitis is defined as inflammation of the liver. As a specific disease, Infectious Canine Hepatitis (ICH) is a viral infection caused by a member of the Adenovirus family.

  • Canine herpesvirus or canine herpes is a systemic, often fatal disease of puppies caused by CHV - Canine Herpes Virus. CHV is common worldwide in dogs, coyotes and wolves. CHV does not cause infection in humans. CHV may remain latent or "hidden and quiet" in tissues after a dog is infected and may be passed on to other dogs, particularly to fetuses developing in the mother's uterus.