Immune system of cats – The immune system of cats protects them against disease-causing parasites. It consists of a network of antibodies, white blood cells, and other substances that help their body fight off disease. There are also some organs involved there that produce white blood cells.
These organs include the thymus gland and the bone marrow. You can also add there the lymph nodes, spleen, and liver.
The two division of the immune system of cats
Based on the specificity of their functions, the immune system of cats can be divided in two: innate and adaptative.
The innate immune system is that one that basically a cat is born with. It is the first line of defense. It is the first line of defense and is non-specific, meaning that it is basically designed to not let anything in. This immune system includes the skin of the cat, mucosa in the respiratory system, stomach acid, and special chemicals in the saliva of the cat.
The adaptative immune system, unlike the innate, changes and adapts to circumstances. They are specific for a certain type of invader. In other words, it attacks specific invaders, creating tactics for each one. This is the part of the immune system that acknowledges invaders by memorizing them, hence destroying them fast at a new invasion.
The major components of the Immune System of Cats
The organs that make up the immune system are connected and work together to generate an effective cat immune response. These components of the immune system include:
- Bone marrow. This is where white blood cells are produced.
- Spleen. Filters and traps antigens from the blood.
- Lymph nodes. They are located lying along the path of the lymphatic vessels. They also filter and trap antigens in the blood.
- Thymus. Located in the front part of the chest, it is the main site defense for kittens. It shrinks in size as the cat grows.
- White blood cells (Leukocytes). There are several types, each specific to an antigen.
- Antibodies. These are special protein produced by B cells. Their production is stimulated by the presence of antigens.
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