Cats in animal shelters are uniquely prone to upper respiratory infections, aka URI or “the cat common cold”. These infections are complicated. They are inextricably tied to stress and crowding in cats. They can be caused by a number of viruses and bacteria. You can’t vaccinate or treat your way out of an established URI problem. Affected cats are often treated with antibiotics, even though infections are often viral, and this can result in poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and resistant infections. Chronic URI can be a nightmare for shelters and adopters, and can sometimes cause severe health issues.
This presentation will focus on newer shelter medicine approaches to URI – prevention strategies that have succeeded to the point that many shelters no longer have a “URI problem”; when to isolate affected cats and when that’s not needed; when diagnostic tests are needed and which ones are useful; when to treat and with what; and how to manage a newly adopted cat that is sneezing. RACE Approved!
Dr. Linda Jacobson obtained her veterinary degree in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1986, and went on to specialize in companion animal internal medicine. She has been at the Toronto Humane Society since 2010, where she is currently Senior Manager, Shelter Medicine Advancement.
In 2015 she completed a Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine through the University of Florida. Linda is co-founder and President and Treasurer of the Ontario Shelter Medicine Association. She serves on the Standard of Care Working Group of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario and Toronto Humane Society’s Unsocial Cat Working Group. Her professional passions and interests include accessible veterinary care, infectious diseases, animal hoarding, and evidence-based medicine.
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