Cat Diseases


Disease Name:Bartonellosis
Clinical Signs:
Pleiomorphic gram negative bacterium Animals - Asymptomatic Humans - Painful, markedly swollen lymph nodes 1-3 weeks after exposure, may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Lesion resembling an insect bite at site or scratch/bite is common. Severe complications include meningitis and encephalitis.
Susceptible domestic species Cats. Kittens at increased risk for transmitting disease, shelter cats at increased risk compared to other cats.
Susceptible domestic species Isospora species are species-specific. Feline isospora do not infect dogs, and vice versa.
Zoonotic? Yes
Diagnostic tests: Blood culture  
Test sensitivity (false negatives) Serology does not correlate with bacteremia, many seropositive cats will not be bactermic, and 2% of seronegative cats can be bacteremic.  
Test specificity (false positives) Excellent (specific SNAP test available)  
Vaccine available? No
Vaccine efficacy No vaccine available
Excreted in: Transmitted by flea bites, cat to cat transmission (vector) does not occur in the absence of fleas.
Mode of transmission: Cat scratch or bite (direct), most likely transmitted by contaminated flea dirt inoculated into wound, other close contact with cats/fleas may transmit as well.
Disinfection Flea control, topical flea treatment and bathing, bites should be promptly and thoroughly cleaned with soap and water.
Incubation 1-3 weeks
Post recovery shedding None
Carrier state? Yes
Treatment None required for cat. For people, disease is usually self-limiting except in those with compromised immune systems. Antibiotics required.
PPE Required Gloves for direct contact with blood.
Disease Name:Campylobacter spp.
Agent: especially jejuni, sometimes coli. Gram negative, microaerophilic, curved rod. Some strain variation in pathogenicity. Non-pathogenic species also exist.
Clinical signs and significance Animals - Usually asymptomatic. Disease more frequently documented in dogs than cats: watery mucoid diarrhea, +/- blood. Systemic signs may be seen (fever, leukocytosis, inappetance, vomiting).  Disease usually lasts 3-7 days, occasionally may be chronic or intermittent. Uncommon sole cause of disease in cats, especially > 6 months old; look for concurrent infections or other problems. Humans - Include abdominal pain, cramps, fever, chills, and diarrhea (which are frequently bloody).
Susceptible domestic species Cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits, livestock, poultry and many others
Zoonotic? Yes. Most human cases acquired from undercooked meat but transmission from pets may also occur.
Prevalence Estimates from 1-6% of pet and shelter cats in several recent surveys in the U.S., up to 40-50% in some studies. Many studies have shown no association with diarrhea, but other sources have reported higher frequency in diarrheic animals.
Risk factors Age (< 6 months), stressors such as surgery.
Diagnostic aids: Stained smear: Insert moistened cotton swab 3-4 cm into rectum. Roll gently on slide. Air dry. Stain with diffquick. Neutrophils suggest bacterial infection (Salmonella or Campy). Gull forms suggest Campylobacter spp. Culture: Notify lab if campylobacter is suspected. Microareophilic culture required. Lab may suggest special transport media to enhance culture viability. Transport fresh sample promptly to lab to maximize results. Campylobacter is somewhat fragile; false negative results can occur if sample handling is compromised.
Test comments Non-pathogenic Campylobacter species may be seen on slide; lab may report results as culture negative in that case. Assorted spirochetes can look like gull forms.
Excreted in: Feces
Mode of transmission: Fecal-oral, food and water borne, fomites
Disinfection Routine disinfection is adequate
Incubation ~ 3-5 days
Post-recovery shedding Indefinite in untreated
Carrier state? Yes
Specific treatment Macrolides (erythromycin or azithromycin) usually drug of choice, treatment for three weeks recommended. Resistance is common to penicillins and trimethoprim. Culture and sensitivity may be required in persistent infections.
PPE Required Gloves, gown, impermeable shoe covers
Disease Name:Coccidia (Isospora spp)  
Agent: Some strain variation in pathogenicity
Clinical signs and significance Animals - Most often subclinical. Difficult to recreate disease in SPF kittens > 4 weeks of age.  May cause diarrhea +/- weight loss, dehydration, mucous or blood. Death occurs rarely. Humans - Watery diarrhea, headache, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever. These symptoms may lead to weight loss and dehydration.
Susceptible domestic species Isospora species are species-specific. Feline isospora do not infect dogs, and vice versa.
Zoonotic? Yes
Prevalence Estimates from < 5% to > 60% depending on population sampled. No significant association with diarrhea reported.
Risk factors Age (kittens and puppies), co-infections, stress including transportation, change in ownership, weaning
Diagnostic aids: Fecal floatation
Test comments Consider signs such as history, signalment, and number of oocysts when assessing significance of oocysts in feces. Clinical signs may precede shedding, leading to false negative floatation results acutely. Coprophagy may lead to presence of oocysts from other species.
Excreted in : Feces
Mode of transmission: Fecal-oral, very effectively spread by fomites
Disinfection Resistant to many disinfectants. High heat cleaning/scalding water.
Incubation ~ Prepatent period: 3-11 days
Post-recovery shedding 1-9 weeks
Carrier state? Yes
Specific treatment Marquis Paste. Sulfadimethoxine, trimethoprim-sulfa.
PPE Required Gloves, gown, impermeable shoe covers
Control Change litter box daily (as it takes 8-36 hours to become infectious in feces) and administer prophylactic deworming at intake.
Disease Name:Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)  
Clinical Signs:
Feline Enteric Corona Virus (FECV). Enveloped RNA virus. Mutates in some cats to cause FIP.
Cyclic fever, lethargy, failure to grow and abdominal distention
Susceptible domestic species Cats
Zoonotic? NO
Diagnostic tests: Biopsy and immunohistochemistry Serology/PCR Clinical signs/lab values
Test comments Sensitivity (frequency of false negatives) is variable depending on form of disease and specimen submitted. False positives are uncommon. Although serology and PCR can detect a history of exposure to FECV, they do not distinguish between FECV infection/exposure and FIP. The majority of shelter cats will test positive but will not develop FIP. Titers >16,000 are suggestive of FIP but not found in the majority of cats with FIP. Titers negative at 1:25 are a reliable indicator that FIP is not present, but not all labs report titers down to 1:25, and “negative” titers from labs that use a higher cut off can be seen in cats with FIP. FIP is most commonly diagnosed antemortem based on clinical signs and lab values. The combination of hyperglobulinemia, neutrophilia, lymphopenia in a cat with typical clinical signs is reasonably predictive. Characteristic abdominal effusion is very suggestive. 
Vaccine available? Yes;  MLV intranasal. Requires two doses at greater than 16 weeks of age.
Vaccine efficacy Not effective, especially in shelter setting where virtually all cats will be exposed prior to vaccination being protective. Questions remain about safety. Not recommended.
Excreted in : FECV excreted primarily in feces. FIP rarely shed as such, and even when it is, it is rarely infectious.
Mode of transmission: FECV is highly contagious, transmitted by contact with feces, easily transmitted by fomites. FIP is rarely transmitted as such: cats in stable households with FIP positive cat are at little increased risk for contracting disease compared with other cats in multiple cat (> 5 cats) environments.  Kittens introduced to FIP endemic shelters/catteries were at greatly increased risk for contracting FIP, even if adult cats were not showing signs of disease. Littermates of FIP positive cat are at increased risk (25-40%) due to shared genetic predisposition as well as common exposure history. Mothers of FIP kittens are not at significantly higher risk for disease but may be at higher risk for transmission of mutable strain of FECV.
Disinfection Routine disinfection adequate to inactivate virus. Reduction of crowding, good sanitation and frequent cleaning of litter boxes, use of low dust/tracking litter is important to reduce overall load of FECV in environment.
Incubation Clinical signs due to FECV infection rarely appreciated. FIP most commonly develops within 6-18 months postinfection.
Post-recovery shedding Cats with FECV may shed for months, although recognizable clinical signs due to infection are rare. Shed usually stops within a year if the cat is removed from a multiple cat environment, thus preventing reinfection.
Carrier state? 40-60% of shelter cats will be shedding FECV at any given time.
PPE required Gloves, gown, impermeable shoe covers
Disease Name:Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)  
Clinical Signs:
Feline Immunodeficiency virus (enveloped RNA retrovirus)
Various secondary infections including severe oral disease and upper respiratory infections
Susceptible domestic species Cats
Zoonotic? NO
Diagnostic tests: ELISA serum test for antibody Western blot serum test for antibody PCR-Idexx
Test sensitivity (false negatives) Good (must be performed 60 days after last known exposure to allow time for seroconversion) Moderate Good- -ve test does not rule it out
Test specificity (false positives) Good, but false positive common in low prevalence populations – if possible, positive test should be confirmed by another test. False positives due to maternal antibodies in kittens < 6 months old or prior vaccination. Good. Thought to be more specific than ELISA, but recent study by Julie Levy suggests ELISA is more specific. Very Good, +ve test means cat is very likely truly infected.
Test comments There is no currently available test which distinguishes natural infection from vaccination for FIV. For +ve testing cats, need to retest 3 months later to be certain of status.
Vaccine available? Yes
Vaccine efficacy ~ 80% in manufacturer study, may be less effective in field conditions. More information on vaccine is available at
Excreted in : Primarily saliva, genital fluids
Mode of transmission: Not highly contagious. Transmitted primarily through biting and mating. 
Disinfection ~ Routine disinfection adequate.
Incubation Antiviral antibodies first detected 2-4 weeks postinfection (but may take 1-3 months); clinical signs usually develop within 3-6 years postinfection.
Carrier state? Cats may be viremic and appear healthy for extended periods, but can be infectious through biting or mating to other cats. infect ***look up and insert info from FIV webinar, and use for FIV policy as well
PPE Required Gloves, gown
Disease Name:Feline Leukemia (FeLV)
Clinical Signs:
Feline leukemia virus (enveloped RNA retrovirus)
Leukemia, cancer, immune suppression, anemia and secondary infections
Susceptible domestic species Cats
Zoonotic? No
Diagnostic tests: ELISA test antigen in blood or serum IFA test for antigen in blood or serum
Test sensitivity (false negatives) Very good (much worse on saliva or tears) Good, but not as sensitive as ELISA
Test specificity (false positives) Good (also good on saliva and tears); however, cats may clear infection. Retesting recommended (see below). Good
Test comments When disease is uncommon, as is often the case in healthy-looking cats, false positives are relatively more frequent and confirmation is important.
Vaccine available? Yes, It needs to be given every year. Experts differ as to how effective the vaccine is; certainly most vaccinated cats do not get feline leukemia, but some experts claim that almost every adult cat is inherently rather immune to the virus anyway. The vaccine is safe- there is no truth to the worry that FIP (another viral infection of cats) can be made worse by the vaccine, at least as it is currently formulated. Generally NOT recommended in shelter
Vaccine efficacy Moderate (~ 70% efficacy)
Excreted in : Primarily saliva, although also found in milk, blood, urine and feces.
Mode of transmission: Close contact or fomites contaminated with saliva. Does not survive long in environment.  
Disinfection Routine disinfection is adequate.
Incubation Up to four weeks from exposure to viremia detectable by antigen test; development of clinical signs may not occur for months after infection (average survival 2 years).  50% cats will die within 2 years, 80% within 3 years.
Post-recovery shedding No, but see comment below
Carrier state? Cats may be viremic and appear healthy for extended periods, but are infectious to other cats.
PPE Required Gloves, gown
Disease Name:Feline URI: Calicivirus – Core Vaccine
Agent: Feline calicivirus (unenveloped RNA virus)
Susceptible domestic species Cats
Zoonotic? No
Clinical signs and significance Commonly isolated from clinically normal cats. Causes URI: Fever, oral or nasal ulceration (particularly suggestive of calici), sneezing, and conjunctivitis (less common than with herpes). Acute or chronic gingivitis, stomatitis, faucitis. Some strains cause limping, polyarthritis. Pneumonia especially in young kittens. Virulent systemic disease associated with systemic vascular compromise, edema, high fever, death especially in adult cats.
Diagnostic tests: Viral culture on ocular, nasal or oropharyngeal swabs or serum PCR on ocular, nasal or oropharyngeal swabs
(false negatives) Good during acute disease if sample handled correctly. Sensitivity drops off quickly over course of illness. Similar to viral culture. RNA virus is fragile, easier than herpes to destroy through rough sample handling.
Test specificity (false positives) Good. Vaccination can cause positive results, including long term positive results. Good (depending on quality control at lab), same considerations as for culture.
Test comments Many cats are chronic carriers; positive results are common in apparently healthy cats. Positive results from serum (as opposed to oronasal or conjunctival swabs) are more suggestive of infection causing signs of disease.
Vaccine available? Yes: modified live intranasal, and modified live or killed parenteral.
Vaccine efficacy Moderate for protection against severe disease, does not prevent infection, and may cause mild, contagious disease. Vaccine resistant strains exist. Additional benefit may be gained by giving both IN and parenteral vaccine in shelter. Vaccine injectible takes at least one week to provide protection, intranasal vaccine takes 4-6 days.
Excreted in : All body excretions, especially oronasal secretions.
Mode of transmission: Highly contagious, moderately environmentally persistent. Spread by direct contact, ***fomite spread over significant time/distance (this means you, unless you use your PPE wisely!), aerosol droplet spread over distances of only up to five feet. (Cats lack the tidal volume to generate an effective aerosol.)
Disinfection Inactivated by oxidizing agents (Accel, Peroxigard Plus, Virkon or Trifectant) applied to clean surface free of organic matter. Can persist in environment up to four weeks if not killed by disinfection.
Incubation Usually 1-5 days
Post-recovery shedding Extended. Most shed > 30 days after recovery, as many as 50% of cats will still be shedding for 75 days after recovery, and some cats shed throughout their lifetime. However, shedding and transmission risk is greatly diminished because there is less sneezing/drool/nasal discharge to transmit the virus in.
Specific treatment None proven. Feline interferon bovine lactoferrin, antisense RNA and others have been proposed.
Carrier state? Yes. Chronic infection is common and shedding tends to be constant rather than stress associated.  Likelihood of transmission from asymptomatic carriers is significantly less than from acutely infected cats, but is possible. Up to 25% of asymptomatic cats from shelters/catteries and up to 8% of pet cats will be shedding from the oral cavity at any given time. Therefore we cannot eliminate from shelter environment. This may serve to maintain a severe strain of FCV in a population.
PPE Required Gloves, gown, impermeable shoe covers, and hand wash, hand wash, hand wash!!!
Disease Name: Feline URI: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, aka Herpes - Core Vaccine
Agent: Herpesvirus (enveloped DNA virus)
Susceptible domestic species Cats
Zoonotic? No
Clinical signs and significance May be isolated from asymptomatic cats, especially in multiple-cat environments. Causes URI: Sneezing, ocular and nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, keratitis, blepharospasm, fever, anorexia, rarely oral ulceration. Ocular and nasal ulceration is particularly suggestive of herpes. Wide range of ocular signs, including chronic conjunctivitis, anterior uveitis, symblepharon, eosinophilic keratitis, corneal sequestrum. Can cause chronic rhinitis/sinusitis, implicated with calicivirus in chronic lymphoplasmacytic gingivostomatitis.
Diagnostic tests: Viral culture on ocular, nasal or oropharyngeal swabs PCR on ocular, nasal or oropharyngeal swabs
Test sensitivity (false negatives) Good during acute disease if sample is handled correctly. Sample will be overrun by calici if concurrently infected. Good during acute disease. Various PCR techniques exist, some more sensitive than others.
Test specificity (false positives) Good. Intranasal vaccine can cause positive results soon after vaccination. Good (depending on quality control at lab)
Test comments Many cats are chronic carriers; positive test only indicates infection, not that infection is causing clinical signs. Positive results may also be caused by vaccine induced acute or chronic infection.
Vaccine available? Yes: modified live intranasal, and modified live or killed parenteral.
Vaccine efficacy Moderate for protection against severe disease, does not prevent infection, and may cause mild, contagious disease. Additional benefit may be gained by giving both IN and parenteral vaccine in shelter. IN takes 4-6 days for protection, parenteral at least a week.
Excreted in : Primarily in nasal, ocular and oral secretions
Mode of transmission: Direct contact, **fomite spread over significant time/distance (this means you unless you use your PPE wisely!), aerosol droplet spread over distances of only up to five feet. (Cats lack the tidal volume to generate an effective aerosol.)
Disinfection Routine disinfection adequate. Survives no more than 18 hours in the environment (long enough to be transported on unwashed hands or scrub tops, however!)
Incubation Usually 2-6 days; recrudescent disease usually observed within ~ 7 days after a stressful event.
Post-recovery shedding 2-3 weeks (see carrier state)
Carrier state? Yes indeed, > 80% of infected cats remain chronic carriers and intermittently shed with stress (just like people with cold sores or shingles, also caused by herpes virus [human-specific]).
PPE Required Gloves, gown, impermeable shoe covers, and hand wash, hand wash, hand wash!!!
Disease Name:Giardiasis
Agent: Giardia duodenalis (syn. G. intestinalis, G. lamblia)
Infective forms: Exists as intestinal trophozoite form and as an infective cyst
Susceptible domestic species Cats, dogs, and most domestic species
Zoonotic? Humans are much more likely to be infected with Giardia from a contaminated water source than from an infected pet (a.k.a. Beaver fever). However, it is known that the same species of Giardia can infect domestic animals and humans, so precautions should be taken when handling infected animals.
Clinical Signs & Symptoms Animals - Diarrhea, chronic weight loss, and pale, malodorous feces. Even animals with no obvious symptoms can carry Giardia.
Human - Some people experience no symptoms, typical symptoms include mild or severe diarrhea, abdominal pain and occasional weight loss. Fever is rarely present.
Diagnostic tests:Direct smearZinc flotation with centrifugationFlotation without centrifugationIdexx ELISA SNAP test
Test sensitivity~ 50% on diarrheic feces~75% on 3 samples over 5 daysPoor (probably <10%)85-90%
Test specificityMust distinguish from T. foetus in catsGood, if able to distinguish from coccidia, yeast, etc. 95-99%
Test commentsMust be fresh sampleCyst shedding is intermittent – must sample repeatedlyTest is essentially not recommended for giardiaCan test + for up to 2 weeks following + treatment
Other tests: There are several other tests available from laboratories. The ProspectT microplate ELISA and FA tests are good; please call your lab for details on the tests and on their specificities/sensitivities. (The ProspectT RAPID assay is less sensitive.)
Prevalence in shelters: Cats: 10-30% (up to 100% in some catteries)
Dogs: 20-40% (up to 100% in some kennels)
Vaccine available? Yes, however it is not recommended as it has not been proven to be effective.
Excreted in : Feces
Mode of transmission: Fecal-oral either directly or indirectly, e.g. fecal contaminated water or food.
Disinfection Cysts can exist for months in a moist/cool environment. Drying of kennels also helps in between disinfection. Does not survive freezing. Mechanical removal through routine cleaning and disinfection is most effective.
Incubation Average prepatent period is 8 days in dogs, 10 days in cats. Onset of disease (if it occurs) may precede cyst shedding by 1-2 days.
Post-recovery shedding Shedding may still occur even after disease is treated. It is advisable to retest animal at the end of treatment and then again several weeks later.
Carrier state? YES. Most infections in otherwise healthy adult animals are asymptomatic. Self cure is possible as is chronic shedding.
Treatment &prevention of outbreaks: Fenbendazole (panacur); Febental/pyrantel/praziquantel (Drontal Plus); Metronidazole (less effective and resistance is possible). Reinfection is common so decontamination of the environment in shelters is paramount.
PPE required Gloves, gown, impermeable shoe covers
Control Bathing can also help decrease cyst load found on fur.
Disease Name:Hookworm
Agent: Ancyclostoma caninum, A. braziliense, A. tubaeforme, Uncinaria stenocephala A. caninum (dogs), A. braziliense (dogs & cats), A. tubaeforme (cats), Uncinaria stenocephala (dogs and cats). Ancyclostoma caninum is the most likely to cause disease.
Clinical signs Animals - Can cause black, tarry diarrhea and severe blood loss (anemia) which can be fatal in puppies. Adult dogs that are sickly and malnourished are also commonly affected, but infections in adults are typically asymptomatic. Can also occasionally cause footpad dermatitis in adult dogs from very contaminated environments.
Humans – Depends on what organs the larvae migrate to. Some worms can penetrate more than one region of the body.
Susceptible domestic species Dogs and (less commonly) cats.
Prevalence Very common and widespread in dogs. One study showed that 20% of shelter dogs were shedding hookworm eggs. Infection is most common in puppies during the first few weeks of life, but infection is also common in adults. A. caninum is the most common.
Zoonotic? Yes. Can cause cutaneous larval migrans (migration through the skin, also called “creeping eruption”) in humans.
Diagnostic tests: Fecal float
Test sensitivity (false negatives) Moderate. False negatives are not uncommon.  Heavily-infected animals may show clinical signs before eggs are shed in the feces. In low-level infections, eggs may be shed intermittently.
Test specificity (false positive) False positives uncommon
Vaccine available? No
Excreted in : Feces, milk (dogs)
Mode of transmission: Fecal-oral, transmammary (during nursing – dogs only), percutaneous (skin penetration by larvae), ingestion of animals (insects, rodents) that have ingested hookworm eggs.
Disinfection Eggs are less resistant than those of roundworms. Most hookworm eggs are destroyed by freezing, drying, and temperatures over 38˚C. Bleach (three cups per gallon of water) will kill hookworm larvae on cement. Contamination of the environment can be reduced by prophylactic treatment of susceptible animals and by removing feces daily (since eggs can become infective in just two days).
Incubation 10-14 days, but can vary with age, stress, malnutrition, and other disease. Puppies frequently become ill at 1-3 weeks of age.
Post-recovery shedding Yes. Most animals that are shedding are asymptomatic.
Carrier state? Yes, asymptomatic animals may shed hookworm eggs for prolonged periods.
Prepatent period: Time between infection and shedding of eggs = 2-4 weeks (shorter if eggs are ingested, longer if infection acquired via larval penetration of skin). Eggs become infective 2-8 days after they are shed.
Treatment All puppies should be treated for hookworms every two weeks starting at 1-2 weeks of age until they are 12 weeks old. Pregnant and nursing bitches should also be treated to minimize transmission to their offspring. Prophylactic treatment of all shelter dogs and cats is suggested. Severely malnourished animals may require re-treatment. Effective treatments include the following drugs: Pyrantel pamoate (Strongid®, pyrantel is also an ingredient in the following products: Drontal®, Drontal Plus®, HeartGard Plus®), Fenbendazole (Panacur®), Febantel (Milbemycin, Interceptor®, an ingredient in Sentinel®).
PPE Required Gloves, gown, impermeable shoe covers
Disease Name:Lyme Disease
Agent: Borrelia burgdorferi
Clinical signs Animals - Fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, sudden or severe lameness and joint swelling.
Humans - Rash progressing to fever, flu-like symptoms, polyarthritis, meningitis, myocarditis and uveitis.
Susceptible domestic species Dogs and cats
Zoonotic? Yes
Diagnostic tests: Serology C6 and Western Blot
Test sensitivity (false negatives)    
Test specificity (false positive) Does not differentiate between antibodies from natural exposure and vaccination Great
Test comments Also cross reactive to other non-causative organisms. Distinguishes between natural exposure and vaccination-induced antibodies.
Vaccine available? Yes
Vaccine efficacy Good but vaccine is still new to the market.
Excreted in : Not applicable- do not survive as free living organisms outside host.
Mode of transmission: Tick bites
Disinfection Not applicable in shelter. Do not survive as free living organisms outside host.
Incubation Seroconversion within 3-6 weeks post exposure in about 5% infected dogs.
Post-recovery shedding Do not survive as free-living organisms outside host.
Carrier state? No. Dogs are incidental hosts.
Treatment Doxycycline
PPE Required Gloves, gowns, shoe covers
Disease Name:Panleukopenia (feline distemper) – Core Vaccine
Agent: Parvovirus closely related to canine parvo (undeveloped DNA virus) Vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and sudden death
Susceptible domestic species Cats
Zoonotic? No
Diagnostic aids: ELISA test for fecal antigen (some tests for canine parvo also detect panleukopenia: IDEXX CITE, others) CBC: leukopenia, especially neutropenia Vet Clinic necropsy: segmental enteritis
Test sensitivity (false negatives) Good, but not as good as for parvo. False negatives are possible. Good at height of infection (day 4-6). Less likely to see CBC changes in mildly affected animals. Moderate – don’t always see classical segmental pattern, or enteritis may not be grossly appreciated at all.
Test specificity (false positives) Very good except for rare weak positive post-vaccination (1 in 64, see below) Moderate – can also be caused by Salmonellosis, FeLV, others Good – true segmental enteritis is uncommon with other conditions
Test comments False positive possible 5-12 days after MLV vaccine (may be as early as 3 days with high antigen mass vaccine). Usually weak if present.   Histopathology performed by commercial lab is gold standard.
***Vaccine available? Yes: Subcutaneous available as modified live recommended, with respiratory viruses or as single antigen, considered a core vaccine, immediately upon intake.
Vaccine efficacy Efficacy of subcutaneous modified live is excellent. Vaccine is most beneficial if given immediately upon intake. Full immunity is reached 72 hours after inoculation. Maternal antibody interference is possible in kittens less than 12-16 weeks. Modified live vaccine should not be used in kittens < 4 weeks or pregnant queens expected to carry litter to term (although abortions and kitten defects are rare).
Excreted in : All body secretions during acute disease, but most often feces – shedding often precedes clinical signs by a couple of days.
Mode of transmission: HIGHLY contagious – direct contact, fomite spread, mechanically spread by rodents and insects, can be aerosolized by high pressure sprayers.
Disinfection THOROUGH cleaning followed by oxidizing agents (Accel, Peroxigard Plus, Virkon or Trifectant). No way to fully decontaminate organic matter such as grass or dirt yards.
Incubation 3-14 days (usually 5-7 days)
Post-recovery shedding Maximum 6 weeks. CAUTION: may shed virus 2-3 days before clinical signs are observed; therefore proper PPE usage is essential and mandatory.
Carrier state? No, but mild or unapparent infection is common, especially in adults. Cats may uncommonly be carriers of canine parvovirus.
PPE required Gloves, gown
Control Effective vaccination. Separation of incoming cats during potential incubation time; effective use of appropriate PPE to minimize spread.
Disease Name:Rabies
Agent: Rhabdovirdae, genus Lyssavirus
Clinical signs Animals - Two presentations of the disease: furious form or dumb/paralytic form. Furious form is characterized by aggression, disorientation, anxiety and roaming. Paralytic form is characterized by progressive paralysis, often starting with the throat muscles leading to the inability to swallow. Atypical presentation is possible, and rabies should be kept in mind as a differential for any abnormal behavior or neurological disease of unknown cause.
Humans - Starts as flu-like symptoms (weakness, fatigue, lack of appetite, headache, fever). Many victims report tingling at the exposure site. Symptoms progress to hyperactivity, disorientation, hallucinations and convulsions. The disease slowly and painfully paralyzes its victims. At the final stage, they typically lapse into a coma and die from respiratory arrest.
Susceptible domestic species Most warm-blooded animals can be infected, including bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes and coyotes.
Zoonotic? Yes
Diagnostic tests: Virus is present in the saliva, diagnosis is by postmortem immunofluorescent antibody testing of the brain.
Vaccine available? Yes
Vaccine efficacy Vaccinated dogs and cats have been reported to develop rabies.
Excreted in : Saliva, blood
Mode of transmission: Bite or ingestion of an infected animal
Disinfection Saliva generally needs to enter the tissues for infection to occur, so a bite that breaks the skin is by far the most common means of transmission. May also be contracted through a scratch. Standard disinfectants effective
Incubation Will show clinical signs within 10 days of the virus present in the saliva. Three weeks to three months, but can be as long as several years.
Post-recovery shedding None
Carrier state? No
Treatment Once clinical signs have become apparent, rabies is virtually 100% fatal in humans
PPE Required Gloves, gown, goggles and/or full face mask, impermeable shoe covers, HAZMAT suit.
Control Wildlife and domestic species must not be transported in the same vehicle to avoid the transmission of diseases and parasites. Animal Control agents: re wildlife handling, ensure no contact with clothing, use separate equipment for wildlife vs dogs, and ensure vehicle is cleaned and disinfected between transporting different species.
Disease Name:Ringworm (dermatophytosis)
Agent: Microsporum canis (other species can infect dogs and cats, but M. canis by far most common in shelters.)
Clinical signs Animals - Red scaling, alopecic and crusting non-itchy lesions usually with broken hairs commonly found on ears, face, paws but can be found anywhere on the body.
Humans – Ring-shaped areas of scaling and hair loss, with or without redness, crusting and itching.
Susceptible domestic species Cats, dogs, ferrets, others. Persian cats and Yorkshire Terriers are extra susceptible.
Zoonotic? Yes
Diagnostic tests:Woods lamp (must be real Woods lamp, electric preferred to battery operated)Fungal culturePCR
Test sensitivity (false negatives)Good(> 80%)Good but takes up to two weeks 
Test specificity (false positives)Good (a few other fungal species and some drugs and other substances can fluoresce if spilled on the fur)Good (see comments) but must wait full two weeks before confirming negative 
Test commentsMaximum accuracy when performed correctly (allow lamp to warm up 5-10 minutes, perform in completely dark room, hold over suspect lesion 3-5 minutes)Fungal culture is quite accurate when performed correctly. Microscopic identification is required for all cultures, regardless of presence or absence of color change on DTM. Some species, notably Trichophyton, can be more difficult to culture.
Vaccine available? Vaccine no longer available; previously available vaccine was not effective to prevent infection.
Vaccine efficacy N/A
Mode of transmission: Present on hair, very readily shed in environment, extremely contagious, may be carried on hair and dust long distances on fomites and through heating and ventilation ducts.
Disinfection Highly resistant, can persist for over a year. Currently, Accel at a 1:40 dilution with a five minute wet contact time or high-concentration bleach (1:20 dilution) are the only two effective disinfectants for ringworm. Commercial steam cleaning for carpets. Some environments can’t be decontaminated. Potassium peroxymonosulfate has been shown to be ineffective for ringworm decontamination. (For specifics about treatment, see Dermatophyte Treatment in a Nutshell.)
Incubation 1-3 weeks
Post-recovery shedding Cats can remain infectious for several weeks following clinical recovery.
Carrier state? True carrier state uncommon, but cats can act as mechanical carriers without developing clinical signs themselves.
PPE required Gloves, gown, shoe covers
Control Clean all shedded hairs with Swiffer rather than sweeping
Disease Name:Roundworms, Ascaridiasis
Agent: Toxacara canis (dogs), Toxacara cati (cats), Toxascaris leonina (dogs and cats). Toxacara spp. are more common than Toxascaris.
Clinical signs Animals - Most commonly asymptomatic. In puppies and kittens, there may be vomiting, diarrhea, painful potbellies, poor weight gain, poor haircoat and coughing. Death can occur in severe cases (more common in puppies than kittens).
Humans - Depends on what organs the larvae migrate to. Some worms can penetrate more than one region of the body.
Prevalence: Common and widespread. Infection is most common in puppies and kittens in the first few months of life and in pregnant and nursing females. The vast majority of puppies and kittens are infected, and should be routinely treated, regardless of fecal float results. One study showed that 14.5% of shelter dogs were shedding T. canis eggs. T. cati is the most common worm in cats. Roundworms are more common in adult cats than in adult dogs.
Susceptible domestic species Dogs and cats. There are many other species of roundworms that infect other species, but the species listed above are limited to dogs and cats. Baylisascaris is a roundworm of raccoons which occasionally infects dogs, and has serious zoonotic potential.
Zoonotic? Yes. Can cause visceral and ocular larval migrans in humans (migration through the internal organs or eyes, which may lead to organ damage and blindness). Baylisascaris can cause visceral, ocular, or fatal neural larval migrans (migration in the brain) in humans.
Diagnostic tests: Fecal float (identification of eggs).
Test sensitivity (false –ve): False negatives common, especially in puppies and kittens. Puppies and kittens should be treated routinely, regardless of fecal exam results.
Test specificity (false +ves): False positives uncommon
Vaccine available? No
Excreted in : Feces, milk. Adult dogs are much less likely to shed eggs than puppies. Adult dogs are also less likely than adult cats to shed roundworm eggs.
Mode of transmission: Fecal-oral, transplacental (from mother during pregnancy) in puppies, transmammary (via nursing) in kittens and puppies, ingestion of animals (e.g. rodents) that have ingested roundworm eggs.
Disinfection Eggs are extremely resistant to disinfection. They can persist in soil for years. Contamination of the environment can be reduced by prophylactic treatment of susceptible animals and by removing feces immediately (since it takes eggs one week to become infective).
Incubation Most puppies are infected at birth, kittens become infected within 1-3 weeks of birth.
Prepatent period: Prepatent period (amount of time between infection and shedding of eggs) = three weeks. For some roundworm species, the prepatent period is longer (8-10 weeks).
Carrier state? Yes. Asymptomatic animals can shed eggs for prolonged periods, but this is more common in young cats and dogs, and much less common in adult dogs.
Treatment Effective treatments include the following medications. Fenbendazole (Panacur®) contains febantel, which is also an ingredient in Drontal Plus®. Pyrantel pamoate (Strongid®) contains pyrantel, and is also an ingredient in Drontal®, Drontal Plus® and HeartGard Plus®.High-dose ivermectin products include Milbemycin Interceptor®, an ingredient in Sentinel®, Selamectin (Revolution® - in cats only).
All puppies and kittens should be treated for roundworms every 2-3 weeks starting at 2-3 weeks of age until they are 12-16 weeks old. Pregnant and nursing mothers should also be treated to minimize transmission to their offspring.Prophylactic treatment of all Shelter dogs and cats is suggested.
PPE Required Gloves, gown, impermeable shoe covers
Disease Name:Salmonellosis
Agent: Some strain variation in pathogenicity
Clinical signs and significance Animals - Asymptomatic. Can cause fever, anorexia, vomiting, and diarrhea with or without blood and mucus. In severe cases leading to septicemia and death, these cases can resemble panleukopenia or parvo. Cats that prey on birds may develop song bird fever causing severe often bloody diarrhea following ingestion of infected birds
Humans - Abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, can cause severe and occasionally fatal disease in very young children and immune-compromised individuals.
Susceptible domestic species Reptiles, dogs, cats, birds, and livestock.
Zoonotic? Yes
Diagnostic tests: Fecal culture  
Test sensitivity (false negatives) High  
Test specificity (false positives) High  
Test Comments Intermittent shedding is possible so three negative fecal cultures at two-week intervals are required to call an animal free of salmonella.
Vaccine available? No
Vaccine efficacy N/A
Excreted in : Feces
Mode of transmission: Transmission between animals by fecal-oral spread directly, in contaminated water, food or on fomites such as food dishes and grooming implements. Free roaming cats and dogs are at increased risk for exposure. Spread from infected humans to animals is possible. Transmission to humans by fecal-oral route from surfaces, food and water contaminated by feces, or handling of infected animals, especially reptiles. Most common source is food borne but infected animals are significant risk.
Disinfection Commonly used disinfectants. Routine hygiene and sanitation. Hand washing after handling reptiles or any animal with diarrhea is mandatory.
Incubation 8-72 hours in people
Post-recovery shedding Can persist as long as six weeks after clinical recovery. Up to 90% of reptiles are asymptomatic, chronic carriers.
Carrier state? Yes
Treatment Can be self limiting, may require antibiotics, fluid and electrolyte replacement.
PPE Required Gloves, gowns and impermeable shoe covers
Disease Name: Toxoplasmosis
Agent: Toxoplasma gondii
Clinical Signs: Animals - Asymptomatic, recent infection may cause transient fever, diarrhea or respiratory signs, symptoms are more likely in young kittens and cats with concurrent disease. Occasionally causes chronic or more severe disease including neurological and ocular disease.
Humans - May cause transient, flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes, can cause abortion or severe congenital disease in infants when pregnant mothers are infected between the 2nd and 6th month of gestation. May cause severe disease in immunocompromised patients, including headache, seizures, cognitive impairment and partial paralysis.
Susceptible domestic species Cats
Zoonotic? Yes
Diagnostic tests: Serology ELISA Absence of oocysts in fecal flotation should not be used to rule out the disease.
Test sensitivity (false negatives) Good Yes- see above
Test specificity (false positives) Good- serum IgM antibody titre indicates active or recent infection  
Test comments Cats may shed infectious oocysts before developing antibodies to toxoplasma and the vast majority of cats that are positive on serology are not shedding oocysts. Oocysts may be detected on fecal flotation although it is impossible to differentiate these from the oocysts of certain other protozoan parasites.
Vaccine available? No
Vaccine efficacy N/A
Excreted in : Mother’s milk
Mode of transmission: Cats are the only domestic species that shed infectious oocysts in feces. Cats may become infected through ingestion of oocysts or infected intermediate hosts such as rodents. Transmission to kittens through mother’s milk is also possible. Most cats become infected in the first year of life and oocyst shedding is usually highest at the time of first infection. Human infection is through ingestion of intermediate stages of toxoplasma in undercooked meat. Humans may also become infected by ingestion of oocysts from soil contaminated by cat feces, usually following gardening or ingestion of raw vegetables from such soil. Transmission by the fecal-oral route after exposure to cats feces is also possible, usually when cleaning litter boxes.
Disinfection To prevent transmission from cat feces, litter boxes should be changed and thoroughly cleaned daily with hot water and disinfectant.
Incubation Uncertain
Post-recovery shedding No
Carrier state? No, but most animals with toxoplasmosis are asymptomatic and will have gone through the excretion/shedding phase without clinical symptoms to alert handlers/owners.
Treatment Clindamyacin/Trimethoprim-Sulfa/Azithroycin
PPE Required Gloves, gown
Control As most infections are not transmitted by direct contact with cats or cat feces, the best prevention is to cook meat properly, and wear gloves when gardening. Pregnant women may consider getting tested for antibodies to toxoplasma; if negative, retesting during pregnancy to detect new infection should be discussed with primary health care practitioner.
Disease Name: Whipworm
Agent: Trichuis vulpis
Clinical signs and significance Most infections are asymptomatic, but heavy infections can cause mucoid diarrhea with flecks of blood.   Weight loss, dehydration, anemia and death can occur in extreme cases.
Susceptible domestic species Dogs, rarely cats.  In a national fecal parasite survey, whipworms were reported from 14.3% of shelter dogs. 
Zoonotic? No
Diagnostic tests: Fecal float (identification of eggs).  Eggs are barrel- or lemon-shaped, yellow-brown, with prominent bipolar end plugs and a smooth shell.
Test sensitivity (false negatives) Moderate.  False negatives are not uncommon, Because of the long prepatent period, heavily-infected animals may show clinical signs before eggs are shed in the feces.  In low-level infections, eggs may be shed intermittently.
Test specificity (false positives) Excellent.  False positives are very uncommon.  However, Trichuris eggs must be distinguished from Capillarid eggs, which are slightly smaller and have a rough surface.
Vaccine available? No
Vaccine efficacy N/A
Excreted in : Feces
Mode of transmission: Fecal-oral
Disinfection Very difficult.  Eggs are very resistant to disinfection, especially in soil.  Eggs are also resistant to drying, temperature extremes, and sunlight.   Reducing exposure of dogs to embryonated eggs in the environment is best achieved by prompt removal of feces from yards and other environments where dogs defecate.
Incubation Prepatent period (time from infection to shedding) = 3 months Eggs become infective one month after they are shed.   Because the prepatent period is so long, shelter-acquired infections may not become manifest until after adoption. Dogs adopted from a known whipworm-contaminated shelter should be routinely tested and/or treated up to three months after adoption.
Post-recovery shedding Yes.  Most animals that are shedding are asymptomatic.
Effective Dewormers: Fenbendazole (Panacur), Milbemycin (Interceptor or Sentinel), Febental (available as an ingredient in Drontal Plus).
Because of the long period of maturation, deworming must be repeated three times at monthly intervals.
Note:  Pyrantel is NOT effective against whipworms. 
PPE Required Gloves, gown, impermeable shoe covers