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Dr. John
Dr. John, Small animal veterinarian, ER vet
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1205
Experience:  significant surgical and medicine background, currently working as emergency clinic veterinarian
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My cat is sneezing and has watery eyes (mainly just one eye),

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My cat is sneezing and has watery eyes (mainly just one eye), should I take him to the vet? Other than sleeping a lot he acts ok. He is elderly, 20+ years old.

Dr. John :

Thank you for your question. Is Bob eating and drinking well? Has he ever had sneezing episodes before (upper respiratory signs)?

Customer:

He seems to be eating and drinking ok. I know he's had watery eyes before but not often. I don't remember him sneezing before.

Dr. John :

Thanks for the additional information. Do you have any other cats in the house? When was the last time he was vaccinated?

Customer:

He is actually an outdoor cat that lives in the garage in the wintertime (now that he is older). I'm not sure when his last vaccination was - probably a couple of years ago. There is a stray cat that has been hanging around so that is kind of scary.

Dr. John :

The sneezing and watery eye(s) can definitely represent an upper respiratory virus. Upper respiratory viruses (calicivirus and herpes virus - cat specific) can cause varying signs, including sneezing, eye discharge and/or ulceration, oral ulcerations, fever, nasal discharge, etc. They typically run their course and should improve in 7-10 days.

Dr. John :

How long has it been going on?

Customer:

It's been a few days now. So does it sound ok to watch him and just take him to the vet if he's not better by the end of the week?

Dr. John :

The other possibility is that he has always carried a latent upper respiratory virus and he has some other unrelated illness right now that has suppressed his immune system, allowing this virus to cause infection - things we concern ourselves with in elderly cats include (but aren't limited to) kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and cancer.

Dr. John :

Yes, I think that plan is fine UNLESS he stops eating and drinking or you notice any other concerning symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, increased water consumption, etc, then I think he should be seen sooner!

Customer:

That sounds good. Thanks for your help!! Have a happy Thanksgiving! :)

Dr. John :

You are welcome, Happy Thanksgiving too! Good luck with everything!!

Dr. John :

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