Cryptococcosis in cats is a yeast-like fungus which is caused by a Cryptococcus neoformans that is widespread and can also affect dogs and people. Cats with a compromised immune system are more susceptible to the fungus. Cryptococcosis is contracted through the nasal passages but can spread to other organs such as the brain, eyes, lungs, and other tissues, as stated by the Pet MD. The most common cause of a Cryptococcosis fatality is due to a lung infection and central nervous system malfunction which leads to meningitis.
Cryptococcosis fungus in felines can be passed on through the environment. One contributor is bird droppings (especially from pigeons), though birds are not affected by the disease. If a cat has the Cryptococcosis fungus, it cannot be passed on to others since the yeast form of the organism grows in infected tissues and does not spread through the air. This is the most common systemic mycosis in cats.
Dr. Jon of the Pet Place says that symptoms of Cryptococcosis are dependent upon the organs that are affected by the fungus. Your cat may even show minor problems before the fungus is even full blown. Most often the symptoms recognizable for Cryptococcosis fungus are lethargy, weight loss and sneezing with nasal discharge. Siamese cats appear to be more susceptible. Other symptoms may be difficulty breathing, eye disease, superficial skin nodules such as papules, nodules and draining tracts as well as seizures and disorientation if the nervous system is affected. Your cat may come down with a fever and have swelling over the bridge of the nose.
Your cat will have to go through various tests, as stated by Dr. Jon on the Pet Place and the Pet MD, in order to get a definitive diagnosis for Cryptococcosis fungus in your cat. Samples may be taken from the nasal passage for biopsy as well as skin lesions from other affected areas. Blood tests, urine cultures and aspirations of affected lymph nodes are some other necessary tests to know if your cat is infected with the fungus.
Your cat may need in-patient care if there are neurological symptoms of the fungus and treated intravenously with medication such as Amphotericin B. Most cats affected with the fungus can be treated out-patient with oral medications such as conazole, fluconazole or ketoconazole per diagnosis and your personal veterinarian’s advice.
Once your cat is diagnosed and undergoing treatment, your veterinarian will continue to monitor liver enzymes for side effects of the anti-fungal medications. Your cat will also need to be observed to be sure there are clinical improvements of the lesions as well as a returned appetite. Treatment for Cryptococcosis fungus in cats normally takes a good three months although cats that have been affected in the nervous system may require longer maintenance. Speak with your own veterinarian for a maintenance plan which normally consists of follow-up visits every two months for up to six months after treatment. Continue with treatment and therapy as prescribed until your cat gets a thorough clean bill of health from your veterinarian.
http://www.petplace.com/cats/cryptococcosis-in-cats/page2.aspx http://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_ct_cryptococcosis http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+1317&aid=254