Cat 'flu remains a depressingly common experience, despite the important contribution made by vaccines. The disease can vary in severity, although kittens are particularly at risk.
This section will help you control cat 'flu and understand the disease. It should be of benefit not just to cattery owners, but to all those who keep large numbers of cats on a single site.
Although it provides some background knowledge to the disease, it is designed primarily to provide an understanding of the problem and act as a practical guide in preventing outbreaks.
Despite the name, the causes of cat 'flu bear no relation to those of human influenza. Whereas influenza is caused by a single virus, cat 'flu is a syndrome: the signs of this disease may be caused by one or more of several different infectious agents (pathogens).
However, there are only three known primary pathogens, capable of causing the disease on their own. These are the viruses Feline Herpesvirus (FHV), and Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica. Respiratory disease problems within a household or cattery environment may involve one or more of these infectious agents. Both of the viruses that cause cat ‘flu can only cause disease in members of the cat family. Bordetella bronchiseptica, on the other hand, can cause disease in a range of species and, importantly, is the principal cause of kennel cough (infectious tracheobronchitis) in dogs.