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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20238
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My newly adopted cat tested positive in July. Since then, I

Customer Question

My newly adopted cat tested positive for FIV in July. Since then, I have had him to the vet numerous times for upper respiratory related issues. One of the last visits, he had a double ear infection. That seemed to get better, but I noticed he would sneeze a couple of times a day, and unilaterally have a very slight runny nose. From there he went to being what sounded like total congestion. I took him back in last Wednesday as a precaution. The vet looked in his ears and said there is still a wax ball, but it was sitting on the eardrum. He applied BNT crème and gave a shot of cortisone in case it could be allergies. Since that visit, the cat has been quitter when usually he runs up and down the hall, and constantly engages play. Saturday night, he began sneezing-this became constant, and now seems to sneeze everytime he moves. He is yawning a lot more (very markedly), and he is pawing a lot at his nose. He is due in to the vet tomorrow, but they insist it is FIV related. I don't think the cat is URI sick. I think he may have a polyp or foreign body. He continues to gain weight, his eating and drinking have still remained good. I have asked them to sedate him to check his soft palette, and to also do an ear and nasal flush. They keep insisting that it is because he is FIV. He has no other symptoms, and this sneezing, yawning, and pawing all came out of nowhere.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Has his nasal discharge always been unilateral? Always the same side?

Did his vet every test for the URI respiratory viruses (ie herpes, calicivirus) ?

Any issues with eating (ie drooling, dropping food, etc) or visible gingivitis?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Usually his discharge is from the left side, which is the same side that is being treated for a really bad yeast infection.No eating issues at all.Unsure if the vet tested for any of those other ailments. I am also giving the cat 500 mg of Lysing a day.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

First, if he is FIV positive, then we need to be careful giving him steroids. He is already more immunosuppressed then a normal cat (hence why he struggles to overcome URIs), so giving steroids like cortisone can actually help give the infectious agents a hand against his immune system. Therefore, if one did expect allergies (despite their usually causing bilateral nasal signs), then an antihistamine may be a better option in the future.

Otherwise, just to note if you are giving Lysine, that is a treatment for feline herpes virus. So, I would be suspicious that it is suspected even if he wasn't tested for. And I would say that if he has chronic URI signs, then herpes is a reasonable suspect since it too is a lifetime infectious agent.

That all aside, if he has predominately unilateral nasal discharge and he is pawing at his nose (likely trying to reach something irritating inside), then I agree with you about possible one sided issues like polyps, growths, foreign bodies, or fungal infections. And with his pawing, the foreign bodies or inflammation secondary to the others would be highly suspect here. Therefore, your request to have him sedated and the nasopharyngeal reason examined +/- flushed is very reasonable. In fact, if there is concern about a growth, then an xray or scoping of the nasal passage may also be worth consideration. So, it is worth pressing his vets on the subject (perhaps they will tell you why they are not keen to do so) or considering seeing an alternative vet for a second opinion. That way you can make sure there is nothing caught that is being missed due to assumptions based on previous issues. And if something is found, then we can address it for him. Or if that is clear, then we can give a sigh of relief, and consider treating any inflammation with kitty safe anti-inflammatories (provided the cortisone is out of his system).

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. It's just very frustrating that his FIv+ label is getting placed on everything. I'm going to suggest a nasal scope as well. I just want him to get back to how he was feeling the morning before he went to the vet last week...pre cortizone shot.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome, my dear.

I suspect once he gets past the cortisone's effects (which can vary depending on which preparation they used, so it may be worth checking that with them), we will see his immune system start to get things in order. Otherwise, I do agree that it is very frustrating for anything else to be discounted because of his FIV status. Especially as his FIV status does not mean he cannot have other issues (be great if it did). So, it is always something to keep in mind and be aware that he is a bit more immune fragile then other cats, but it doesn't mean we can overlook other issues.

Take care,

Dr. B.