Does your Cat Have a Weak Immune System? Here’s what you Should Know

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Your kitty’s immune system defends it from bacteria, parasites, and viruses from the outside world. When this defense system becomes weaker than usual, your feline friend is more vulnerable to illnesses which can be life-threatening.

Weak immune system is caused due to deficiency of phagocytes, a type of white blood cell. Phagocytes are vital to the immune system, as they swallow up any foreign particles in the blood. This process is known as phagocytosis. Cats with a low deficiency in phagocytosis are more prone to different types of health problems.

Symptoms

Cats with weak immune systems appear to be healthy for the first few months after birth. Once they pass the nursing stage, their bodies become more vulnerable to infections. The symptoms of a weak immune system are highlighted below:

  • Anorexia
  • Continuous illness
  • Lethargy
  • Mediocre hair coat
  • Recurring infections that don’t respond to conventional medicines
  • Stunted growth

There may be symptoms from contracted infections and viruses such as feline immunodeficiency, feline leukemia, and feline parvoviruses.

Causes

The causes for the weak immune system are the following:

  • The cats are born with immunodeficiency disorder, resulting in a low number of phagocytes.
  • The cats get infected with viruses such as feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia virus and feline parvovirus. These viruses attack the immune system which affects the count of phagocytes.

Diagnosis

The veterinarian goes through the medical history of the cat and will ask the owner further details about when the symptoms began. The vet will then do the following.

  • Conduct a physical examination
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Urinalysis
  • Biochemistry profile

Additional testing may be done based on the results of the previous tests.

Treatment

Cats who have congenital weak immune system have no known treatment or cure. Viruses that lead to weak immune system haven’t been caught early enough to effectively treat the problem. There is no effective treatment available that can cure the disease. However, supportive care is used to extend the feline’s life as long as possible.

The vet may resort to the following in order to treat the secondary conditions that come with the disease.

  • Antibiotics – bacterial infections
  • Antimicrobial medications – yeast/fungal infections
  • Chemotherapy

Recovery

The best way to keep your feline friends healthy is to be proactive. Isolate the cats from other animals and stop them from leaving your house. Vaccinations have to be administered at the correct time and the vet will give additional vaccines to help the cats. Secondary infections are quite common in this disease, so you will have to visit the vet for medical treatment.

The owners of cats who have weak immune system are requested to stay away from reproductive practices as it can be passed on to the next generation.