My cat, a 16 year old Cornish Rex, has had sneezing/coughing spells (I can't really tell which) for the past several years. I thought it was just sinus, but someone told me that Cornish Rex's are prone to an upper respiratory condition. None of the other cats who live with us have it. One other male has asthma and is on medication for it, and the cough from my cat does resemble the asthma cough somewhat (again, I can't be sure, and he doesn't do it in front of the vet). There is no runny discharge from nose or eyes.
Type of Animal: Feline-Cornish Rex
Name of Cat: Boney
Three years ago he had 3 teeth extracted. One was growing into the bone, two were cracked. One of these was a front tooth that was infected and the infection went into his sinuses. I believe he had got an upper respiratory vaccine during this time. I can't remember if it helped. I was so focused on the other issue. But, no other treatment.
Hello, I am sorry to hear about your fellow's sneezing and coughing.
Cornish Rex's are purebred cats that often come from catteries which, because of cats coming and going to be bred, have a higher stress level and a bit higher incidence of viral respiratory infections, Herpes being the most common one.
However with respiratory infections we tend to see nasal and ocular discharge. It would be rare not to see any.How is he feeling otherwise?Any weight loss?Decrease in activity?
Since he had his teeth taken care of, he has much more energy. But, he show stiffness in his haunches now (just from age I think).
Otherwise he seems fine. He does get bored because he can't go outside. He used to go out at our other house.
I agree at his age stiffness is to be expected.I do take a cough in cats seriously as they rarely cough with a simple respiratory infection. Coughs generally indicate tracheal or lower airway disease.They can be from asthma, other primary lung diseases (pneumonia, bacterial, viral or fungal), heartworm or lungworm infection or heart disease.
Just the coughing/sneezing issue
So how can I find out what's wrong with him.
Right now I don't have a lot of cash for an extensive exam
Is there a less expensive way to find out.
Because no one else has any symptoms I do think he has something going on that isn't contagious.No weight loss with him?I understand that finances may be tight. You can check things in a stepwise fashion.If he were my patient I'd check a heartworm test (especially as he used to go out) first, then a chest radiograph, then more extensive testing if need be.
No, he has a great appetite.
Unfortunately I have to feed him canned food because of the
Unfortunately there isn't any way for you to know at home where the cough is coming from without testing.Glad to hear his appetite is very good, that makes primary heart disease much less likely.
missing front tooth. He also has to shake his upper lip to get it to come down.
Because of the missing tooth there is nothing to hold his upper lip in place, it's sad.
I would be most suspicious of a primary lung disease given what you've told me. But what it is is impossible to speculate any further. Where do you live (city/state)? Some things are more common in some areas of the country.
Right now I'm in the process of moving and I'll be gone for several weeks after that. I want to take care of this before I leave. So, I'll try to get him to the vet before then. We live in Tucson, Az.
Thanks very much.In your area of the country fungal infections (Valley Fever) are more frequent.Heartworm is possible, but less likely in Arizona. So I might recommend the chest film first or a fungal titer test.
Oh, I almost forgot, he used to sleep under and inside of things (with his short fur I think he gotc old) . It was almost as if he didn't need as much air to breathe. I realized he doesn't do that anymore, as if he needs more air, like he's not breathing as easily.
That would make sense with primary lung disease.Of course if you have seen lots of mosquitos in your particular area then do discuss the incidence of heartworm with your veterinarian.
Yes, valley fever is horrible. My daughter just recovered from a serious case of it.
They usually check that first in animals and people. In humans they also check for TB. That's also not uncommon here.
TB incats is fairly rare thank goodness.
No, not many mosquitos, too dry thank goodness. I was thinking the fact that he won't go inside blankets and other things to sleep (he also used to sleep wit his nose in a plastic bag, it scared me, but didn't bother him), might make a case for the asthma .
It may, really what it is telling us is that he is aware that he can't oxygenate himself well. That can be from heart or lung disease but in cats that are coughing with heart disease they are usually very sick. With lung disease they tend to compensate, by not sleeping in or under things, playing a little less.If your daughter had Valley Fever that is the first thing I would check for him.
Ok, sounds good. Is there a test for asthma? Is it very expensive?
Asthma is actually a diagnosis of exclusion in many cases. We can sometimes get lucky and see characteristic lesions on a chest radiograph but many times we rule out other reasons for a cough, then try bronchodilators + or minus steroids and check the response.But if this is Valley Fever we don't want to put him on steroids, he needs an antifungal drug.
So we want to make sure he doesn't have Valley Fever first.
Ok, I'll have them do the VF test first. We're having a serious allergy/pollen/dust season here. I've been ill for 3 months (next stop allergy vaccines) and people/animals with asthma are pretty sick. My daughter's cat has been really ill with his asthma (we had it under control with steroids) and we're going to take him in, so I'll just take Boney too.
Sounds like a very good plan. The spring winds and the allergens they bring can be pretty tough.
Yes, I love the desert, but dust and Valley Fever are some of the disadvantages.
Thanks for your help
Very welcome. Best of luck with your fellow. Please follow up and let me know how things go for him.
Ok, we'll do! ( :
23 years of experience treating dogs, cats, mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, & iguanas