Your Cat Can Get
THE VET IS IN
Can your dog make your cat sick? Can you? The answer to both of those questions: yes.
For example, did you know cats
can get dog flu? The University of
Wisconsin School of Veterinary
Medicine recently reported that
both species can become ill from
a newly identified strain of canine
influenza virus, H3N2.
Cats can even catch at least one
bug from us: H1N1, a human influenza virus that has made some cats
very ill and even caused death. Cats
and dogs, along with humans, can
also be infected with a bacterial
infection by Leptospirosis. Same
with rabies — it’s one virus that can
infect many mammals.
Sometimes, the only relationship
between a cat disease and a dog
disease is the name: Canine distem-
per doesn’t affect house cats (sadly,
the big cats are not so fortunate)
and is a completely different virus
from feline panleukopenia, com-
monly called “feline distemper.”
But cats share a number of health
risks with dogs and, in most of those
cases, those feline maladies don’t
receive the same level of attention
as their canine counterparts.
According to the American
Heartworm Society, heartworm
disease in cats is very different from
heartworm disease in dogs.
The cat is an atypical host for
heartworms, and most worms in cats
do not survive to the adult stage.
Cats with adult heartworms typical-
ly have just one to three worms, and
many cats affected by heartworms
have no adult worms.
This means that heartworm
disease often goes undiagnosed in
cats; however, even immature worms
cause real damage in the form of
a condition known as heartworm
associated respiratory disease
(HARD). Moreover, the medication
used to treat heartworm infections
in dogs cannot be used in cats, so
prevention is the only means of
protecting cats from the effects of
Greater than half of cats older than
3 will have tooth resorption, where
one or more teeth begin to dissolve.
This painful syndrome can usually
be diagnosed and treated by your
veterinarian. Unfortunately, we don’t
By dr. marty Becker, chief