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C2006-44

Dear Christopher Cat

My cat escaped from my house and was gone a month. If she picked up any diseases on her travels, I don’t want her to transmit them to my other cats. Should I have her tested for any particular diseases?

Christopher Responds

Years ago, I ran away from home, too. When I returned, Mom checked me for several transmissible diseases.

First, she ran a flea comb through my coat to make sure I hadn’t brought any pests into the house. Next, she tested my stool for intestinal parasites.

One month after I returned home, she tested my blood for the feline leukemia virus. Although I had socialized with other cats while I was away, my FeLV test was negative.

One month later, she did an FIV test for antibodies to the feline immunodeficiency virus. That test was negative, too.

Free-roaming cats can develop other problems – from ear mites and ringworm, a fungal infection of the skin, to upper respiratory infections and toxicities – so take your cat to her veterinarian this week for a thorough check-up.

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