How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask purrdoc Your Own Question

purrdoc
purrdoc, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1053
Experience:  feline-only vet for 11 years
12558602
Type Your Cat Veterinary Question Here...
purrdoc is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My cat has a very stuffy nose I have seen my vet who had prescribe

Resolved Question:

My cat has a very stuffy nose I have seen my vet who had prescribe antibiotics but she seems to be getting worse unfortunately my Vet is away until Friday so I wondering if I could give her doze of Afrin as prescribed for small children to help clear the stuffiness until I can see him on Friday
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  purrdoc replied 5 years ago.

Hello-

I am sorry your cat is ill and I would be glad to help.

 

Yes, Pediatric Afrin is safe in cats but should be used for no more than 3 days total, and only once to twice daily.

 

I noticed she is elderly. Sometimes a bad tooth root can cause nasal congestion so make sure your vet checked her teeth....she may not be a good candidate at this age for a cleaning but some antibiotics are better for dental infections than others.

 

Also, dehydration is common in older kitties and can make congestion worse. The current feeding recommendation for cats is 100% canned food. This is because dry food just doesn't provide enough moisture, even if your cat is a good water drinker. You can learn more about this at www.catinfo.org.

 

Below I will attach the handout we use at our feline only clinic on senior cats. If you need anything else, please let me know. :)

 

 

 


 

Senior Cat Care

 

Cats age at a different rate than humans. During the first year of life, a cat achieves adulthood. Therefore, that first year is equivalent to about 18 human years. After that, the cat ages in a fairly linear fashion. Each year then becomes the equivalent to about 5 human years. Based on this aging scheme, any cat over 8-10 years of age is deemed a "senior" cat.

 

Feline Age

Human Age

1 year

18 years

2 years

21 years

3 years

25 years

4 years

29 years

5 years

33 years

6 years

37 years

7 years

41 years

8 years

45 years

9 years

49 years

10 years

53 years

11 years

57 years

12 years

61 years

13 years

65 years

14 years

69 years

15 years

73 years

16 years

77 years

17 years

81 years

18 years

85 years

19 years

89 years

20 years

94 years

 

Common Changes in the Aging Cat

 

Many senior cats get a bit lazy in their grooming habits. They often begin to develop mats in their hair coat. Therefore, frequent (1-3 times per week) brushing is important. Brushing collects the dead hair that would normally be removed by grooming, and it breaks down tangles before they become mats. However, occasionally it will be necessary to cut out a mat. Be very careful with scissors or clippers because many elderly cats have very thin skin that cuts or tears easily.

 

Senior cats also lose the desire or ability to sharpen their nails regularly. The nails become very thick because the dead nail tissue is retained. Failure to sharpen nails can also result in the nail curling backward into the footpad. This will be most uncomfortable and will result in lameness and bleeding. The key to preventing these problems is to cut your cat's nails at least once each month.

 

Dental disease is common in older cats. The two most common forms of dental disease are tartar buildup, with resulting periodontal disease, and deep cavities near the gum line. Tartar buildup is common in cats of any age, but older cats often have heavy tartar buildup due to years of dental neglect. The tartar irritates the gums, pushes the gums away from the roots of the teeth, and fosters growth of bacteria. Bacteria not only affect the mouth but they are also carried by the blood stream to other organs, most notably the heart and kidneys. Tartar buildup and periodontal disease are very treatable with proper cleaning and antibiotic therapy. Cavities that form at the gumline (gingiva) are called cervical line lesions. As they form, they may become covered by the gums; the gum then continues to proliferate over them. The cat's mouth is very painful when that tooth is touched and it may have difficulty eating. The only realistic treatment is extraction of the tooth. Attempts have been made to fill these cavities, but invariably these teeth undergo further deterioration and need to be extracted a few weeks to months later. Remember that dental disease is uncomfortable and potentially compromising to the overall health of your cat.

 

 

 

 

Geriatric cats do not usually lose their eyesight, although it can become diminished, especially in dim lighting situations. However, the irises (the colored part of the eye that opens and closes) often begin to get a mottled appearance at about 15 years of age.

 

The ears often are afflicted with two problems. Hearing loss and outright deafness occur in many cats over 16 years of age. It is permanent. Excessive wax production is the more common problem. Many older cats have very waxy ears that need cleaning about once each month. A wax solvent may be used; it is put in the ears the first few days of each month or possibly every other month.

 

Arthritis occurs in the spine or legs of some geriatric cats. It causes them to become reluctant, or even unable, to jump on and off furniture; they may be hesitant to climb stairs. We are limited in the drugs that can be used safely in arthritic cats, so a close examination and discussion of options is important.

 

Age-related Diseases

 

Diabetes (more correctly called diabetes mellitus) is a disease caused by the failure of the pancreas to produce adequate insulin. Insulin is required to move blood sugar (glucose) from the blood into the cells. It results in excess urine production, increased thirst, weight loss, and a ravenous appetite. Although these signs should be present in all diabetic cats, some of them may be missed. This is especially a problem when cats go outside because they may eat, drink, and urinate outdoors. If you have several cats and they all eat and drink together, increased thirst or urine production in one cat will easily be missed. Longhaired cats can lose a substantial amount of weight without immediate detection. If you suspect that any of these signs are occurring, your cat needs a blood test to determine its blood glucose level. It is most accurate if your cat has not eaten for at least 6 hours. This is a treatable disease.

 

Chronic kidney failure is the result of many years of slow deterioration in kidney function. Kidney infections, certain toxins, and congenital diseases may be part of this deterioration process, but aging is the major factor. Something has to wear out first, and in many cats it is the kidneys. Cats in kidney failure are actually producing an excess amount of urine in an attempt to remove waste products that are accumulating in the blood. This results in increased thirst. Gradual weight loss is also common, and loss of appetite occurs as the disease progresses. It can be diagnosed with some simple blood and urine tests. It is manageable if treatment begins before the kidney failure is advanced. While the process can be slowed and the cat made to feel better, the kidneys are not restored to normal.

 

Hyperthyroidism is due to an enlargement of the thyroid gland. This gland controls the body's rate of metabolism so metabolic functions are accelerated. The first sign is weight loss followed by an increase in appetite as the cat tries to "catch up." As the disease progresses (over several weeks to months), increased thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, and lack of sleep may also occur. It is diagnosed by feeling for thyroid gland enlargement and some simple blood tests. The good news is that 98% of the time, the enlargement is not due to a cancer; therefore, this is a very treatable, and curable, disease.

 

High blood pressure, more accurately called hypertension, is fairly common in senior cats. Most of the time it is secondary to either chronic kidney failure or hyperthyroidism. However, it appears that a few cats may have "essential" or "primary" hypertension. This means that there is not an underlying disease; essential hypertension is common in humans. This disease is suspected in cats with the two underlying diseases and is diagnosed by measuring the cat's blood pressure. Because the cat's arteries are so small, a special instrument is required. The most common one used is based on the Doppler principle. Hypertension is very treatable.

 

Cancer is another common disease in senior cats. There are so many forms of cancer that it is impossible to list specific clinical signs. The signs will be determined by the parts of the body that are affected. Therefore, weight loss, anemia, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and coughing are all possible. However, it is unlikely that all of those would occur in any one cat.

 

 

Detection of Geriatric Diseases

 

Early detection is the key to successful treatment of all of these diseases. Most of them can be controlled or cured if diagnosed early enough. We recommend a panel of tests for our senior patients. These tests begin with a thorough history of your cat's past and present health. Next, a thorough physical examination is performed. Finally, we perform a blood and urine panel that includes specific tests for diabetes, chronic kidney failure, and hyperthyroidism. Blood pressure is determined. If any of these tests have questionable results, other tests can be added including chest x-rays (radiographs), ultrasound studies, and possible biopsies of suspected abnormal organs.

purrdoc, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1053
Experience: feline-only vet for 11 years
purrdoc and other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  purrdoc replied 5 years ago.

One more thought:

A warm air humidifier in a small room for several hours would be a good, safe option too :)

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
< Last | Next >
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3053
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3053
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    4146
    UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/doggfone1/2009-07-16_133633_vet_pic.jpg Dr. Scott's Avatar

    Dr. Scott

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3980
    12 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet experience in medicine and surgery.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BI/bigislandvet/2013-2-21_214244_IMG0357.64x64.JPG Dr. Michael Salkin's Avatar

    Dr. Michael Salkin

    Big Island Vet

    Satisfied Customers:

    3268
    University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 41 years of experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3188
    12 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AN/andrewDVM/2012-4-27_12585_iStock000011751407XSmall.64x64.jpg Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2873
    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PE/petdrz/2012-6-7_16239_MeandDoncropped.64x64.JPG Dr. Z.'s Avatar

    Dr. Z.

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1936
    Over 25 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.