Remembering Lico

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A pitiful sight. But Lico was still loving and sweet as usual.

Cryptococcosis is an infectious disease caused by the fungus Cryptococcosis neoformans. The disease is contracted by inhaling infectious particles (e.g. from bird droppings, soil, decaying vegetation).

In animals with a suppressed immune system, the organisms can spread from the nasal passages or lungs to other organs, and progress to develop severe diseases. 

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Lico was an old cat and also living with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) which made her highly vulnerable to Cryptococcosis. The disease is not transmittable to humans or other animals.

Symptoms of Cryptococcosis include:

  • weight loss
  • lethargy
  • sneezing
  • nasal discharge
  • nasal mass
  • skin lesions on head
  • eye disease (e.g. haemorrhage in the retina,  inflammation of the eye)
  • central nervous system abnormalities (e.g. head tilt, incoordination, circling and seizures)
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The fungus may cause Meningitis, an infection and inflammation of the meninges (membranes that cover the brain). Left untreated, Meningitis can be fatal.

Diagnosis of Cryptococcosis is obtained by fine needle aspiration and cytology or tissue biopsy. A blood test called the latex agglutination test identities the actual fungal antigen.

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A fine needle aspirate of the mass was taken for microscopic examination.

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The fungal cells are rounded yeasts with a thick mucoid capsule.

As cryptococcus is a fungus, treatment requires the use of anti-fungal medications which include fluconazole, ketoconazole and itraconazole. 

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Lico’s final visit to Dr Girisha at Mount Pleasant Veterinary Centre (Changi).

The prognosis for cats with Cryptococcosis is relatively good. However, Lico was old and weakened from FIV. She was also losing weight for the past 6 months although blood tests were normal. The original swelling above her eye was very mild but ballooned rapidly within 2 weeks. All the while, her appetite was good.

Lico did not recover. She crossed the rainbow bridge at 15 years old. A good age for a rescued community cat.

Well-loved. Fondly remembered. And always beautiful in our eyes.

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