providing the best care for your pets since 1980

Carteret Animal Hospital

Feline Leukemia -
This virus is a leading cause of disease and death in cats.  In addiiton to being a very serious disease in itself, the leukemia virus breaks down the cat's immune system, leaving them vulnerable to a multitude of other organisms and diseases.  This virus is primarily passed directly from cat to cat through respiratory secretions and can be airborne (sneezing, hissing, fighting).  Sadly, there is no cure and treatment is symptomatic.  Life expectancy once symptoms develop is generally under a year.

Cat Diseases

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) -

Another virus affecting cats, disease is caused by the interaction between the virus and the cat's own immune system as inflammation develops around vessels in the tissues where the infected cells are located - usually in the abdomen, kidney or brain.  Once signs begin, the disease is progressive and almost always fatal - there is no known cure of effective treatment.  FIP is not a highly contagious disease, though the disease rate is much higher in multi-cat environments.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) -

Sometimes referred to as "feline AIDS", FIV is similar to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in that it causes suppression of the immune system and an AIDs-like syndrome, leaving infected cats susceptible to infection by numerous organisms and diseases.  The disease is contagious (though not nearly as contagious as FeLV) and is most commonly transferred via deep bite wounds during cat fights.  Cats that go outdoors, particularly unneutered male cats who are most prone to fighting, are most commonly affected.


Rabies is a contagious virus that affects the nervous system of ANY warm-blooded animal (including humans).  Once symptoms appear, the disease is almost always fatal.  The virus is spread through the saliva of infected animals, usually through bite wounds.  Because it is transmissible to humans and fatal once acquired, ALL dogs are REQUIRED BY LAW to be vaccinated against rabies by the age of 16 weeks and to maintain current rabies vaccine status for life.

Rhinotracheitis* -

This is the most severe and widespread upper respiratory virus to which cats are susceptible.  It is highly contagious and very serious in young kittens (although cats of all ages are at risk).  Clinical signs include fever, discharge from the eyes (tearing) and nose, mouth-breathing, coughing and salivation.  Treatment is limited to supportive care.


This is a very contagious viral disease that affects primarily kittens, but can affect unvaccinated cats of any age.  Clinical signs include fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, depression, diarrhea and dehydration which can lead to death.

*Kittens and unvaccinated cats are especially susceptible to the above diseases, particularly if exposed to a group environment.  These diseases can all be vaccinated against with a combination vaccine.  All cats should receive this combination vaccination yearly to protect against the most common respiratory diseases. 


Calicivirus -

This is another major feline upper respiratory virus that is also widespread and highly contagious.  Symptoms include fever, pneumonia and ulcers on the tongue.