Cytomegalovirus From Cats and Other Pets
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Cytomegalovirus From Cats and Other Pets

Published on Jun 07, 2022 and last reviewed on May 12, 2023   -  5 min read


Cytomegalovirus are organisms causing diseases in animals that may lead to malformations in the human body. This article is an overview of cytomegalovirus from pets.

What Is a Cytomegalovirus Infection?

Cytomegaloviruses are microscopic organisms and agents of infection in a diversity of animals. The cytomegalovirus in humans has been associated with several infections that are known for leading to malformations. There are other kinds of cytomegalovirus infections in humans via pets such as cats and dogs that are not apparent at all. Cytomegalovirus infections from cats and other pets tend to cause more harm and severe deformities in individuals who are immunosuppressed.

A few animals tend to have cytomegalovirus infections that have mild signs and symptoms. In case the animal is suffering from mild symptoms, the clinical manifestation in human beings that have been affected by the cytomegalovirus infection are also parallelly mild. There has been continuous study in the transfer of cytomegalovirus and other zoonotic disease from animals to human beings, thanks to the state-of-the-art in vitro technology. Animals suffering from cytomegalovirus can additionally be used as a model in order to study and understand the molecular structure of cytomegalovirus host-cell interaction, immunobiology, and pathogenesis.

How Is Cytomegalovirus Transmitted to Humans From Cats and Other Pets?

Every individual who is a pet owner, whether it be a cat, a dog, or any other pet animal, must make sure that their pets are keeping well and healthy. This is not only for the well-being of the pet but also for the health of the owner, including the entire family. Pets, just like human beings, have the tendency to pass on a few infections to their human friends, and cytomegalovirus is one of them. Animals are a walking house of germs. Thus, microorganisms such as parasites, bacteria, fungi, and viruses can easily make their way to human beings.

Mentioned below are a few ways cytomegalovirus can be transmitted to humans from cats and other pets:

  • Bite of a sick pet or animal.

  • Scratching with dirty nails.

  • Coming in contact with animal stools.

  • Direct contact with the saliva of animals.

  • Ticks and tick-prone diseases.

  • Animal dander.

Who Is at a Greater Risk of Being Infected With Cytomegalovirus?

Coming in contact with a sick animal does not always mean falling ill with the same disease. The immune system of human beings is made in a way that fights off several microorganisms. Nevertheless, there are certain groups of individuals who are at a greater risk of being infected with diseases from animals.

Mentioned below are a few categories of individuals who are highly prone to developing cytomegalovirus from cats or other pets:

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Individuals Suffering From Cytomegalovirus?

Cytomegalovirus can be easily spread between animals and humans via several routes such as direct or indirect contact with infected animals and their body fluids, etc. It should be noted that the clinical manifestations of cytomegalovirus or any disease, are generally at par with the clinical manifestations experienced by the infected animal. In case the disease is mild, humans parallelly reveal milder symptoms. If the infected animal is highly contagious, the infected human being may simultaneously develop stronger and more severe manifestations of the same disease.

Mentioned below are a few of the signs and symptoms of individuals suffering from cytomegalovirus from cats and other pets:

  • Fatigue.

  • Yellowish discoloration of skin and eyes.

  • Inflammation of the liver.

  • Dry cough.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Headache.

  • Rashes.

  • Swelling of the spleen.

  • Difficulty in concentrating.

  • Episodes of seizures.

  • Loss of hearing.

  • Pneumonia.

  • Low birth weight.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Diarrhea.

  • Painful ulcers in the mucous membranes.

  • Pain in the abdomen.

  • Confusion.

  • Weight loss.

  • Pain in the lower back region.

How to Diagnose the Presence of Cytomegalovirus?

Pet animals must always be taken for routine examination and general checkups. This will help diagnose any abrupt medical condition as well as keep infections at bay. It is generally difficult to understand the signs and symptoms of a particular disease in animals. Thus, utmost care must be taken to follow a routine health checkup of our furry friends. Nevertheless, there are several tests to diagnose the presence of cytomegalovirus, both in animals as well as in humans.

Mentioned below are a few of the diagnostic tools for cytomegalovirus:

  • Complete blood picture.

  • Urine culture.

  • Routine urine examination.

  • Eye tests for inflammation.

  • Computed tomography of the brain and the lungs.

  • Biopsy of the intestine.

  • Polymerase chain reaction.

  • Cytomegalovirus antigen testing.

  • Virus culture.

  • Serological tests.

What Is the Treatment of Cytomegalovirus?

There is no particular cure for cytomegalovirus because the virus remains in the body even if it is inactive. The cytomegalovirus can cause various symptoms depending on the site of infection. Treatment differs as per the organ that has been deformed. Induction therapy is one of the most successful therapy for cytomegalovirus infections. The therapy begins with an intravenous mode of drug administration that lasts for prescribed weeks. The patient is then advised to switch to oral medications.

What Are the Risks of Cytomegalovirus?

Complications are a part and parcel of every health condition. It should be noted that cytomegalovirus does lead to several complications but it is extremely rare.

Mentioned below are a few risks of cytomegalovirus:

  • Inflammation of the brain.

  • Retinitis.

  • Pneumonia.

  • Skin lesions.

  • Swelling of the cardiac muscles.

  • Difficulty in breathing.

  • Deformity of the lungs, esophagus, colon, nerves, and mucous membranes.

  • Mononucleosis.

  • Guillain-Barre syndrome.

  • Cerebral palsy.

  • Difficulty in the coordination of muscles.


Cytomegalovirus is a viral infection that can be easily passed on from animals to human beings. Animals must be under routine medical examination to keep cytomegalovirus or any similar infections at bay. Contact, direct or indirect, with animals must be kept limited, especially for infants and immunocompromised individuals. There is no definite cure for cytomegalovirus. The virus stays in the human body and is reactivated in case the patient undergoes any organ transplantation or stem cell therapy. Making sure one’s pets are completely vaccinated is a key to healthy pet and family life.

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Last reviewed at:
12 May 2023  -  5 min read




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