General information on Cryptococcosis
Cryptococcosis is a fungal disease caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. Cryptococcosis can affect both humans and animals and is the most common systemic fungal infection found in cats. Although both humans and animals can be affected by cryptococcosis, there are no reported cases of cat to human transmissions. Cryptococcosis is acquired by inhaling contaminated spores. These spores are most commonly found in the soil and are contaminated by bird droppings. Once the spores are inhaled, the fungus then spreads throughout the body to different organs. Immunosuppressed cats are most at risk of being infected with cryptococcosis, but casts that are not immunosuppressed still may become infected. There are many different forms of cryptococcosis. There are three main types of cryptococcosis. The first type of cryptococcosis is nasal cryptococcosis. Nasal cryptococcosis may produce symptoms ranging from sneezing and coughing to meningitis and neurological symptoms. The second type of cryptococcosis is cutaneous cryptococcosis. Cutaneous cryptococcosis may produce symptoms ranging from the swelling of the nose, neck, and face to difficulty breathing. The symptoms of cutaneous cryptococcosis are typically not as severe as those of nasal cryptococcosis. The third type of cryptococcosis is neurologic cryptococcosis. Neurologic cryptococcosis may produce symptoms that vary greatly depending on the area of the body affected. The symptoms of neurologic cryptococcosis vary from blindness and seizures to vestibular symptoms. The other forms of cryptococcosis the nodules ulcerate and drain pus. Weight loss and lethargy are the most common symptoms of cryptococcosis.
Symptoms of Cryptococcosis
Sniffling, Sneezing, Mucous discharge from the nose, Bloody discharge from the nose, Coughing, Difficulty breathing, Seizures, Blindness, Pink colored polyps protruding form the nose, Weight loss, Lethargy, Meningitis, Swelling over the bridge of the nose, Swelling of the neck, Swelling of the face, Lack of coordination, Head tilting, circling, and Confusion.
Treatments for Cryptococcosis
The treatment for cryptococcosis is oral antifungal medications. The medications for cryptococcosis are slow acting and are taken over an extended period of time. Some of the medications that a veterinarian may prescribe for the affected cat are fluconazole, itraconazole, or ketoconazole. Fluconazole and itraconazole are newer medications for the treatment of cryptococcosis than ketoconazole, but seem to be better tolerated by cats. Ketoconazole works best in cases of cryptococcosis when the infection has been discovered in the early stages. The best way to try and prevent a case of cryptococcosis is by preventing the cat from hunting; especially from hunting birds.
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