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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20242
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My kitten is 4 months old. I got her from a foster ..

Customer Question

Hello my kitten is 4 months old. I got her from a foster .. A few women found her with her siblings very young and Bottle fed them . She is sneezing and seems to shake her head more often like her ears are bothering her . I have an appt in in morning for her but I'm worried it might be a respiratory infection. She had all her shots and vaccines when I got her so I know she has been seen by a vet. Thank you. Debbie. I hope she's not more sick and if I should go to an 24 hour vet tonite
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello & welcome, Debbie. I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Are you seeing any redness or discharge in her ears?
Does she have any eye or nose based discharge? What color?
Is she breathing comfortably?
Does she sound wheezy, congested, or stuffed up?
How is her appetite?
And how is she otherwise?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. She has so discharge in her eyes or nose. She has a good appetite and is playful . She seems a little wheezy and sneezing is off and on.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome,
As I am sure you can appreciate, sneezing and wheezing can be triggered by a range of agents (ie foreign bodies being caught up the nose, polyps, upper respiratory tract infections, allergies, etc). Still as you have noted, viral and bacterial upper respiratory tract infections are the most common in cats her age and that would be our top concern for her. And I would just note that while shaking her head could be related to irritation in the nose (as if she were trying to loosen congestion), it is also a sign that would make us wary that she may have ear mites too.
Now I am glad to see that she is going to have a check up today, as that is ideal if we have a brewing infection here. That said, if she has no snotty discharge (which is often a sign of bacteria being present and therefore antibiotics being indicated), then supportive care measures are often our mainstay of treatment and worth starting for her here.
To do so, since she is sneezing and wheezy, you can take her in the bathroom while you run a hot shower. The steam will help loosen and clear some of the snot congesting her. You can also use a baby nebulizer, but often cats don't like things held up to their faces. That said, you can alternatively make little ‘steam tents' with the kitty in their carrier and the nebulizer under a thin bed sheet.
If she is building up mucus that the steam isn't shifting, use a cotton ball moistened with warm water to wipe away crust and mucus. Use saline nasal drops (like Ocean Mist or Little Noses) but not anything medicated. Tilt her head back and drop 2-3 drops in one nostril. Cats hate this, but it helps. After the drops go down, you can let the head up and wipe away any discharge that gets loosened. Then repeat with the other nostril.
Making sure she is getting food and water is important, as congested cats who can't smell their food often won't eat as well as they should. Therefore, if you were to see any appetite loss, then I do just want to note that we often will tempt these cats with smelly wet foods (since they are high in water). Also we find warming the food in the microwave can also help them smell it.
Finally, since her lack of discharge and rescue background does make feline herpes virus a suspect here, I would note that L-lysine can be of benefit in these cases. This is a nutritional supplement that can help them recover quicker. This is available over the counter at your vets, pet stores, and online. It comes as a gel, powder, or crushable tablet that can be added to her food. An average cat dose is 500mg a day and you could consider its use here.
Overall, I agree with you that an upper respiratory tract infection would be our top concern for her signs at this stage. If she is bright and breathing comfortably, it is not an emergency and we can use the above to keep her comfortable. Still, it is worth a check with her regular vet as planned, so they can check her ears for mites, rule out anything stuck up her nose, and potentially dispense further treatment if needed to clear this for her.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best, *****
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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. B.