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Aujeszky's disease in cats: causes and symptoms


Aujeszky's disease in cats is also known as pseudo-rage. It is a virus infection that is transmitted by a pathogen that is one of the herpes viruses. The rare disease is usually triggered by a cat eating raw or insufficiently heated pork. Fortunately, the pork cooked through the boiled ham, otherwise there would be a risk of Aujeszky's disease - Shutterstock / Irina Kozorog

The so-called Aujeszky disease is one of the cat diseases that are almost always fatal. As a rule, a cat contracting the viral disease dies 12 to 48 hours after the first symptoms appear. Fortunately, the fatal infection is relatively rare. You can protect your cat from this by ensuring that your house tiger does not eat raw pork or roams freely on a farm.

Aujeszky's disease: causes

The virus infection was first described by the Hungarian veterinary pathologist Professor Aladár Aujeszky in 1902 - the Aujeszky disease was also named after him. The disease was first diagnosed in pigs and wild boars, which, like rats, are considered to be the main virus. Rats transmit the virus primarily through bite wounds. In addition to cats, dogs, goats and cattle are also prone to Aujeszky's disease.

The virus is transmitted between pigs by droplet infection, and the virus spreads to rats or cats either through bite injuries or through the consumption of pork. The viruses only reach the cat's gastrointestinal tract via food and migrate from there to the brain. Here they cause inflammation, which gradually destroys the nerve tissue and ultimately leads to the cat's death.

Symptoms of "pseudo-rage"

Since Aujeszky's disease affects the brain, it mainly manifests itself through neurological symptoms. The cat looks restless and restless at first, meows a lot, makes swallowing movements and loses a lot of saliva. Often there is also severe itching in the head area, which can lead to the cat hurting himself and having cramp-like symptoms - this is where the term "pseudo-rage" for Aujeszky's disease comes from, since the signs resemble those of rabies.

In the late phase of the disease there are movement disorders, paralysis and loss of coordination, the cat keeps falling over while walking. The affected cat dies about 12 to 48 hours after the first symptoms appear. Although Aujeszky's disease is not curable, you should take a sick cat to the veterinarian immediately, as the infection must be reported.