Samantha has lesions around her nose – Cryptococcosis?

I noticed just a spot on Samantha’s face two days ago. I thought it was nothing, so I left it.

Yesterday morning, there were suddenly three spots. But it still did not look serious. I thought she might have rubbed her nose onto the security window screen.

But by evening, at around 5.30pm (the vet had closed), two of the spots already looked like lesions. I also noticed another spot at the right ear. The lesions looked like classic sporotrichosis (what a nightmare). But how did she get sporo if she had been confined in the bedroom since 27th January? I looked it up and to my horror, sporotrichosis can stay dormant in the body for 1-12 weeks before it manifests itself as lesions. Oh my goodness….that could have been 3 months ago when Samantha was still on the street. She also fought ferociously with a pregnant tortie on 17th January.  Could have got scratches then, then got infected.

This morning, we took Samantha and all the kittens to the vet’s. Akira too wasn’t active this morning and that was worrying.

Akira did not look well this morning.

Kai and Indra were okay.

4th March, morning. Only a spot on the nose and another spot on at the whiskers.

4th March, evening. One new spot. Total: 3 spots.

4th March, night. 3 spots around the nose. 1 spot at the ear.

5th March, morning. About 5-6 visible spots plus one more at the ear. There could be more at the whiskers too.

So, about Akira first. An ear-prick blood test was done. Her white blood cells are fine, but she has some allergic cells (eosinophils). Her heart is okay. Everything is fine except that she is slightly dehydrated, so more frequent feeding is needed.

Kai and Indra are both fine.

Now about Samantha.

Oh my gosh…this is a nightmare.

Yes, it looks like classic sporotrichosis, but the vet did skin scrapes on all the lesions and not a single sporotrichosis or fungal spore was detected. She repeated the test. Again, no fungal spores at all. No sporo cells.

Okay, that’s a relief, but then, what are these lesions then?

The vet saw a lot of bacteria and a lot of allergic cells (eonosiphils). That means it could be a bacterial infection or an allergy. Alright, this doesn’t sound so scary. The ear-prick blood test showed elevated white blood cells and allergic cells. Again, this could mean it is a bacterial infection or an allergy.

There are actually more lesions under the hair around the nose, especially where the whiskers are. The hair falls off easily revealing more lesions underneath.

But, Samantha has a bump on her nose bridge. This is also classic sporo, but it is also a tell-tale sign of another fungal zoonotic disease – cryptococcosis.

Oh dear…I have no experience with cryptococcosis before. I’ve only nursed two sporo cats, Tiger and Zurik, and both recovered. Tiger took 54 days for the lesions to clear off while Zurik took 28 days. Sporotrichosis is very strange, though. Tiger did not have the classic sporo lesions, but sporo cells were detected all over his body on many, many lesions. Zurik only had two lesions on the chest. He healed very fast. I know that sporotrichosis is totally treatable, just that the treatment usually takes very long.

Cryptococcosis – I know nothing about this. I have only heard about it before.

Cryptococcosis is worldwide the most common systemic fungal disease in cats; it is caused by the Cryptococcus neoformans– Cryptococcus gattii species complex, which includes eight genotypes and some subtypes (strains) with varying geographical distribution, pathogenicity and antimicrobial susceptibility.

Symptoms of Cryptococcosis in Cats
  • Sneezing.
  • Hard swelling over the bridge of the nose.
  • Polyps in the nasal passages, which may cause difficulty breathing.
  • Nasal discharge that may be blood-tinged, yellow, clear, or a combination of mucus and pus.
It often spreads to the central nervous system, the skin (especially on the face and neck), the eyes, bone marrow, liver and kidneys. If these organs begin to fail, the infection can be life-threatening.

Is cryptococcosis in cats curable? Yes, it can be if the infection is treated quickly, and it does not cause neurologic involvement.

The treatment is antifungal medication too. But this disease can lead to pneumonia.

There is a possibility that spores can infect an open wound, although this is rare. The upper respiratory aspect of the infection can progress into pneumonia. Granuloma masses can grow in the nasal cavity due to cryptococcosis. Veterinary attention is needed to relieve and cure a cryptococcosis infection in a cat.

Although no fungal spores could be detected in the repeated skin scrapes today, the vet wanted to do pre-emptive treatment. This is especially since Samantha has that bump on her nose bridge – classic Cryptococcosis. Normally this bump will grow and eventually burst causing a huge lesion on the nose. Samantha has that bump and her nose is definitely swollen.

So, the vet gave a Convenia antibiotic injection (will not effect breastfeeding) that will last for 2 weeks to address the bacterial infection. Samantha was dewormed as well and given Itraconazole (Inox). I asked if Sporanox would be better. The clinic doesn’t have Sporanox and I managed to find a pharmacy that sells it if I bring a prescription, but the vet says if it is Cryptococcosis, Inox would work and it won’t affect the liver as badly as Sporanox. Sporanox is very effective against Sporotrichosis and when taking it, the cat should be on a liver protectant.

Samantha will also start on Prednisolone tomorrow (tablet) for the inflammation. I am to continue the Inox and monitor if there are any new lesions in the next 3 days. If there are, I would have to take Samantha back to the vet for a diagnosis again in 3 days’ time.

But because Samantha has to take Inox (anti-fungal), she cannot breastfeed her kittens anymore.

This is sad, because she still has milk (maybe not enough, but she has) and the kittens suckle for comfort. She also grooms them very well.

But we don’t know what the nose lesions are, so it is wiser and safer to keep the kittens away. Even if it is a bacterial infection, it can spread to the kittens too and we cannot risk that. More about Crypto in the next post.

Initially I wasn’t keen to put her on Inox since there is no evidence of any fungus. If not on Inox, then she can still breastfeed. Convenia is safe for breastfeeding. But the vet thinks it is better to do preemptive treatment just in case it is Cryptococcosis. At least we address it fast and hope to cure it.

Luckily (or not), I have been handfeeding the kittens, so it won’t be something new for them. It is just that now I will be doing all the feeding with no help from Samantha’s breastmilk and her superb grooming.

The possibilities of what Samantha has:
1. A fungal infection.
2. Sporotrichosis (fungal).
3. Cryptococcosis (fungal).
4. A bacterial infection.
5. Allergy.

Of course I hope it is No. 5 – an allergy, which will not spread to anyone.

The vet says I can give Samantha 0.5ml of Vetri DMG too. And the kittens can have 0.3ml of Vetri DMG as well. Samantha was dewormed and an Advocate spot-on was applied.

So we came back and it was madness. Had to borrow Ginger’s sick bay (the new cage that the Monsters love so much), disinfect it and lug it upstairs. It was VERY heavy because it is stainless steel. I took every piece of fabric from Samantha’s room and gave it a thorough wash. Then I mopped her room with disinfectant three times.

Then we had to set up the kittens’ temporary abode – a corner in the kitchen. We wanted to put Samantha in the room in a cage and the kittens in the same room, but both sporo and crypto are airborne diseases. We simply cannot risk the kittens getting infected.

Let’s hope they aren’t already infected. If it is a fungal infection, it could have been dormant in Samantha for weeks or months prior to now.

Please do not be alarmed. This looks terrible because it is after the skin scrapes were done. The vet says she had to scrape until it bleeds in order to check for the fungal spores. There were no fungal spores. Only bacteria and allergic cells.

The thing with sporotrichosis is, once the lesions manifest, you should be able to see a lot of tell-tale sporo cells in the lesions. But there were absolutely none in Samantha’s lesions.

So, maybe it isn’t sporotrichosis.

Maybe it is Cryptococcosis, which is worse, because the treatment takes even longer than sporotrichosis. The only symptom Samantha has that points towards Crypto is the nose bump.

Sigh…this isn’t good, but we will take it one day at a time and we will go all the way, Samantha.

So right now, it’s monitoring for 3 more days. If new lesions appear, I am to take Samantha back in 3 days. If no new lesions, the kittens’ appointment is on Friday and I will take the whole family there.


This will be the temporary abode for the kittens.

There is a hot water bottle where the patchwork blanket is.

Riley, their godmother. Tabs isn’t interested in them at all.

Riley wants to play with them. She has jumped in too.

The vet said I should be weaning the kittens off milk and putting them on solid food now. But I tried giving them Cindy’s baby food and it looks like they aren’t ready yet.

It’s going to be a long, long 3 days coming up.

Please, let there be no new lesions on Samantha.

I think she must have got injured when she fought with the pregnant tortie on 17th January and somehow contracted the fungus (if it is a fungal infection) and it is only manifesting now. Or maybe, she got it elsewhere. I read that it be from decaying vegetation and pigeon droppings.

But let’s hope I am totally wrong and it is only an allergy.

I want to be wrong!!