Sporotrichosis in cats

In the last two days, I’ve received three enquiries on the treatment of sporotrichosis in pet cats. All three are pets, not strays or newly rescued cats.

There is cause for concern if they are pets. As far as we know, sporotrichosis is not seasonal. It is a fungal disease and cats are known to be infected by it through puncture wounds and bites (usually from fights).

This article: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+2134&aid=358 talks about the treatment and prevention:

What is the treatment for sporotrichosis?

Infected cats are treated with oral potassium iodide. Treatment usually lasts 4 to 8 weeks. Ketoconazole, and the more expensive itraconazole, are sometimes used as an alternative therapy. All of these compounds can be toxic to cats and are administered with caution and at lower doses than dogs.

Since Sporothrix is a fungus and not a bacteria, antibiotics are ineffective. Animals with sporotrichosis should not be given steroids.

How is sporotrichosis prevented?

Prevention consists of prompt treatment of all puncture wounds and minimizing cat fights by neutering cats and keeping them indoors.

Sporotrichosis is fortunately very rare in cats, dogs, and people. It is just common enough that we should keep it in mind if our pets develop nodules or non-healing sores, particularly if they spend time in the woods or are involved in cat skirmishes.

We also have the following sharing by two of our readers who have successfully home-treated their sporo pet cats:

http://myanimalcare.org/2012/08/30/treating-and-looking-after-a-sporo-cat-a-sharing-from-fenton-yong/

In any case, if you suspect your cat may be infected with sporotrichosis, please do not delay taking your cat to the veterinarian for a proper diagnosis (better be safe than sorry) so that early treatment can be started to increase the chances of a successful recovery.

If you would like to communicate directly with the two readers above, please write to me at chankahyein@gmail.com and I will forward your emails to them.

The treatment for sporotrichosis usually takes a considerably lengthy period (depending on the severity of the disease) so not all vets are willing to board and treat the infected cat as the disease is infectious and proper quarantine is needed. Another factor is that the disease is zoonotic (can potentially spread to humans) so proper handling is required. Cost may be another concern as the duration of treatment is quite lengthy.

As such, the owner might have to treat and nurse his/her cat at home, hence the two sharing above may come in very useful.

Last but not least, don’t give up on your sporo cat. There is hope for recovery but perseverance is needed:

A letter from Morton, senior sporo survivor: http://myanimalcare.org/2012/02/20/an-email-from-a-sporo-survivor-morton-the-cat/

Wong Wong, now thriving: http://myanimalcare.org/2013/04/02/wong-wong-a-home-nursed-sporo-survivor-a-sharing-by-fenton-wong/

Fitri, another sporo survivor: http://myanimalcare.org/2012/03/03/fitri-sporo-cat-goes-home-myza-nordins/

Puteri, another survivor, but now deceased due to unknown causes: http://myanimalcare.org/2012/02/26/our-ex-sporo-cat-puteri-having-a-time-of-her-life-now/

Blacktail, in recovery: http://myanimalcare.org/2013/04/03/blacktail-sporo-cat-now-recovering-well-a-sharing-by-wong-yoke-mei/

We’ve had another few more cases of sporo survivors, but their caregivers did not send updated photos after recovery.

If you have a success story to share, please do write in with photos (if possible). Your hands-on experience will really be beneficial to others who are facing a similar situation.

1 comment to Sporotrichosis in cats

  • Wong Yoke Mei

    Once the rescuer/owner suspects that something is amiss, the animal should be sent to the vet immediately for diagnosis. Treatment as early as possible saves a lot of time, effort, unnecessary stress to animal & human and definitely $$$$. I am glad i send Little Blacktail to the vet before things got out of hand. Physical symptoms are now almost gone (after 1 month of treatment). Will have to bring him to the vet this week to follow up and decide to stop or continue medication. The only problem is, not many owners/rescuers know about Sporotrichosis until they experience a case for themselves. I knew because previously i noticed a stray which had a severe condition and i took a picture and asked the vet about it. So when this stray kitten that i feed shows signs of such sores, i quickly send him to the vet before the whole colony is infected.