Educational Articles

Infectious Diseases

  • Conjunctivitis is the medical term used to describe inflammation of the tissues surrounding the eye. These tissues include the lining of the eyelids and the third eyelid, as well as the tissues covering the front part of the eye or globe. Conjunctivitis may be a primary condition or may be secondary to an underlying systemic or ocular (eye) disease (see also our handout "Conjunctivitis in Cats").

  • Coronavirus disease is an intestinal infection in dogs that is usually short-lived, but may cause considerable abdominal discomfort for a few days. The cause is a virus of the Coronavirus family.

  • Crop infections are common in pet birds, especially baby birds that are being hand fed. While not usually fatal if treated early, crop infections can be serious and result in a complete loss of appetite.

  • Cytauxzoonosis is a tick-borne parasitic disease caused by Cytauxzoon felis, a protozoal organism. Cytauxzoon felis infects the blood cells of cats. It was first reported in the USA in 1976, and is now an important emerging disease in domestic cats.

  • Diskospondylitis involves infection and inflammation of the disks between the vertebrae in the spine. The most common first clinical signs are difficulty getting up from a down position, reluctance to jump, and an abnormal, unstable gait, including lameness.

  • Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic dogs and other animals such as ferrets, skunks and raccoons. It is an incurable, often fatal, multisystemic disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. Distemper is caused by the canine distemper virus (CDV).

  • Feather loss is as much of a concern to bird owners as hair loss is to dog and cat owners. The feathers of a bird provide protection, insulation, flight, and visual signals to other pets.

  • Feline calicivirus (FCV) is a virus that is an important cause of upper respiratory infections and oral disease in cats. This virus infects cats throughout the world, and can cause disease in both domestic and exotic species of the cat family.

  • Feline Hemotrophic Mycoplasmosis (FHM) is the current name for a relatively uncommon infection of cats. With this disease, the cat's red blood cells are infected by a microscopic blood parasite. The subsequent destruction of the infected red blood cells results in anemia. Anemia is a medical term referring to a reduction in the numbers of red blood cells (erythrocytes) or in the quantity of the blood pigment hemoglobin, which carries oxygen.

  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR) is an infectious disease caused by feline herpesvirus type-1. As with other herpes viruses, the virus is very species specific, and is only known to cause infections in domestic and wild cats. The virus can infect cats of all ages.