Meet ‘Dude’ a 5 year old domestic short hair cat who travelled all the way from Bourke to be assessed by our Small Animal Medicine Team. Dude’s symptoms included increased breathing sounds, nasal and ocular discharge.
Dude was anaeasthetised and advanced imaging (computed tomography, CT) was performed to assess the degree of nasal cavity damage and rule out any nasal cavity masses (polyps, tumours). Samples were taken for bacterial and fungal testing. Results showed Dude had a fungal infection called cryptococcosis of his nasal cavities and frontal sinuses.
Cryptococcus is acquired from the environment, particularly from soil and decaying plant matter (eucalyptus) and can be shed from pigeons. Humans can become infected with this disease as well but the risk of spread from animals to humans is low. Good general hygiene should be practiced when handling infected animals to reduce the likelihood of exposure.
Dude has started antifungal medication and will require treatment for several months. He will have regular blood tests to check how he is responding to treatment (cryptococcus antibody testing). We will monitor Dude’s progress and are hopeful he will make an uneventful recovery. It was lovely meeting Dude and his owner- he is a beautiful and good natured cat!