Cryptosporidiosis in cats is a rapidly emerging infectious disease that is zoonotic in nature, which means it can be naturally spread from cats to humans.
It is generally a self-limiting disease in your cat unless your pet has an immune compromised system, in which case it could be fatal.
Young cats or cats that live in multiple households, shelters, or kennels are much more prone to this extremely infectious disease that is now found worldwide.
What makes it even more dangerous is that there are no known effective cures for this disease.
This condition is one of the fastest growing causes of both gastroenteritis as well as diarrhea and is caused by a protozoan parasite referred to as Cryptosporidium.
It was considered extremely rare in the United States until the mid-1970’s where it affected over 400,000 people in Milwaukee.
It has been growing ever since in the United States as well as worldwide.
The actual form of the organism that causes this disease is the oocyst, which is perhaps the most dangerous from, as this is the thick wall like structure where sporozoan zygotes develop.
What makes them especially dangerous to your cat is that once developed, it transfers the organism very easily to other hosts.
It only takes a few of this oocyst to infect your cat, or worse yet, have the infection spread to you.
This is an extremely infective and contagious parasite that is generally spread by the fecal contamination of food or by your cat’s drinking water or other sources of water that they may be around.
If your cat is around any type of environment that is the least bit unsanitary, the risk of this infection compounds.
It is considered both a primary form as well as secondary form of disease.
It is considered secondary if your cat has any type of an immune weakened condition, in which case it is extremely dangerous simply because there is no known cure.
There have been over 100 drugs that have been tested and tried as treatments and none of them have shown any promise of curing it.
Some healthy pets that have contracted Cryptosporidiosis in cats may show absolutely no signs at all of any illness, while others may show just mild signs of diarrhea.
In about 30 percent of all cases in a healthy cat, the disease will mildly run it course and cure itself.
However, if your cats immune system if not a full operating strength, it can be an entirely different story.
The symptoms of Cryptosporidiosis in cats will all depend on the strength of your pet’s immune system.
A healthy cat may show no symptoms at all, or just a very mild form of diarrhea which should subside within a few days.
Kittens or young cats whose immune systems have not fully
developed or cats that have any immune weakness at all from another
illness or from nutritional deficiencies may develop diarrhea that will
be extremely watery.
As soon as your cat develops diarrhea, they will also start to get stomach cramps and as a result, will lose their appetite.
If Cryptosporidiosis in cats progresses, they will also develop a fever as well as become extremely lethargic.
If your cat shows any of these symptoms and they persist, there are two recommendations.
The first will be to take your cat to your veterinarian as soon as possible, and the second will be to isolate your cat as well as protect yourself and your family members in the best possible ways.
This disease is so highly infectious that small children and infants are at an extreme risk, as well as pregnant women and the elderly.
However, just like your cat, if a human with an immune suppressed system becomes infected, it can be extremely critical.
Anyone undergoing any type of cancer therapy as well as HIV or AIDS patients is also at extreme risks.
If your cat has any type of a primary condition that is already severely challenging their health, this normally mild disease can now become potentially fatal.
Treatment for of Cryptosporidiosis in cats will all depend on the severity.
If your cat is healthy and their immune system is at full strength, no treatment will be needed as this disease will very easily run its course.
If they are not 100 percent healthy, they will face some real challenges.
There have been over 100 drugs that have been screened and tested for cryptosporidiosis but none of them have been successful in treating and stopping this disease.
Antibiotics have shown some relief as treatments, but any of them that have been tried have been only marginal at best.
High fiber diets can help in slowing the diarrhea and the dehydration that results, but since this is a parasite that spreads very easily from host to host with only a few organisms, even this treatment is only marginally successful.
If your cat has had a severe reaction as a result of an immune suppression, they may also need supportive therapy such as intravenous fluid therapy.
Cryptosporidiosis in cats can be very mild and naturally run its course, or it can be a disease that can prove fatal to your pet if it is secondary and their immune system is already fighting another disease or infection.
Cryptosporidiosis in cats is so infectious, that you will need to take extra precautions by protecting your cat if you suspect they may have been around another cat that has any of the symptoms.
Keep your pet’s drinking water and eating dishes as sanitary as you can as well as keeping their litter box as clean as possible.
If you cat does frequent other households with an infected cat, by all means keep them away from their litter box and water, as these are the two major forms of spreading this disease.