Is there feline influenza?

Asked by Debbie

2 Answers

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The term “influenza” refers specifically to illness caused by an influenza virus from the orthomyxovirus family. There is no actual influenza virus that’s specific to cats, so there isn’t any such thing as feline influenza. However, one strain of canine influenza, H3N2, has been reported to infect cats in Asia. Closer to home, a number of cats in an Indiana shelter were infected with the H3N2 strain of canine influenza, and at that time it was discovered that this virus could spread from cat to cat.

The “cat flu” that we vaccinate cats against technically isn’t influenza because it’s not caused by an influenza virus. It’s usually associated with two other viruses, feline rhinotracheitis virus and feline calicivirus. Symptoms include runny eyes and nose, fever and loss of appetite. These viruses spread readily between cats so vaccination is important to keep your cat healthy.
| 04.28.16 @ 10:55
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 11.17.17 @ 17:40
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Answered by Debbie
I had never heard of feline influenza until one of my cats was sneezing so much she couldn't walk so I took her to the vet and he diagnosed an upper respiratory infection. Within two days my other nine cats were sneezing, had dangerously high fevers, lethargy, goo running out of their eyes, nose, and mouth so much that it was keeping their chests wet, no appetite, and throwing up. I took two of them to the vet (the ones who seemed the worst), first calling to let them know that they were probably very contagious so they took us straight into a quarantine unit. He diagnosed cat influenza and all ten of them were sick for 10-14 days. I thought I was going to lose three of them because of raging fevers and dehydration. I don't know if it was a canine influenza that they contracted but they are inside cats and had not been exposed to any other animals. I do have a golden retriever who is also an inside baby and he did not catch it and also had not been exposed to any other animals. It was definitely a tough time. | 04.29.16 @ 05:34
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 11.17.17 @ 17:40
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