Is there a danger of your cat being infected with a contagious disease when attending an animal shelter for low cost spaying or neutering operations? And if so, how big is the risk? Is it bigger than at a vet’s clinic? I really don’t know the answer but it could be relevant to decision making.
This is a comment, I received today from a visitor, Marty:
I had a problem with my cats a couple of years ago and my Vet told me that it was a virus that had come out and I should not let them outside…He gave me oral imoxisillion and everything seemed to have cleared up…a couple of weeks ago I took five more to an animal shelter to get spayed and neutered and now they have the same problem including the ones that didn’t go…They sneeze and the ones with white noses look like their noses are turning brown…Do you know what this is and is it life threatening? ( note: “imoxisillion” referred to is in fact meant to be “amoxicillin”, an antibiotic)
As I understand the comment, Marty took his cats to a local shelter for cheap spaying and neutering under a “Low-cost Spay/Neuter Program”. That would seem to be the case because the job would usually take place at a veterinary clinic. I don’t know how many people do this. Marty lives in the United States.
I do know that a reasonable percentage of people take their cat to be euthanised at an animal shelter where it is done without charge as I understand it. Or perhaps a very low charge and certainly much lower than a vet’s fee.
Shelter vs Vets?
The first question that comes to my mind is:
“is there a greater chance of a cat getting a viral infection when at a cat shelter for an operation rather than at a vet’s?”
The common sense answer would seem to be, Yes. Where there is a group of cats together contagious diseases are more likely to be transmitted from one cat to another. And I wonder whether the conditions are less rigorously hygienic at a shelter compared to a vet’s. It is likely that there will be more cats forced together in a confined space at an animal shelter than at a vet’s clinic. Or am I wrong on that presumption?
If I am correct the cost saving of going to a shelter might be eroded by a possible subsequent infection picked up at the shelter that needs veterinary treatment.
What is the Infection?
It might be that the cats at Marty’s home are infected but the infection is dormant and it only resurfaced after the operation. That needs to be said.
However, on the information in Marty’s comment it seems that his cats have a nasal infection. Marty says:
They sneeze and the ones with white noses look like their noses are turning brown
The nose has turned brown due to a brown nasal discharge of pus due to a secondary bacterial infection, which in turn is due to a viral respiratory infection, specifically what is called “feline viral respiratory disease complex”. That is my assessment. This is a highly contagious disease that spreads rapidly in shelters and multi-cat households.
The main viruses responsible are the herpes virus and calicivirus.
In answer to Marty’s question, this is not a life threatening illness. However, there may be a more serious underlying illness that has compromised the immune system.
I’ll stop there because this is a job for a vet. The purpose of this page was to answer Marty’s question as best I can but also ask a question: “Is it sometimes counterproductive to have cats spayed and neutered at animal rescue centers as opposed to a veterinary clinic?” I don’t have the answer.