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petdrz
petdrz, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7284
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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I have multiple cats. Noticed some seem to be sneezing or coughing

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I have multiple cats. Noticed some seem to be sneezing or coughing loudly,also gagging. Began wih a few outside cats and although inside cats were fine, when going outside for short periods also have begun acting the same. Am worried the baby kittens will also become sick,although are fine now...they are appx five weeks and share food and litter box with the other cats...what could be causing this and how can it be treated? When the cats eat, some times they throw up their food....

Dr Z :

Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy work with you.

Dr Z :

Most likely what you are dealing with amongst the cats are feline viral upper respiratory infections.

Dr Z :

Are any of the cats vaccinated?

Customer:

NO. Live in rural area.


 

Dr Z :

I would suspect the outdoor cats will probably handle a viral infection a little better since they are more likely exposed to more and probably have a stronger immune response. The indoor cats maybe able to handle it, but the kittens are the ones that are at the biggest risk if they did not receive good antibody protection from the mother cat. Vaccinating them now is likely to late to help this exposure as the virus spreads very easily and if the adults are already showing signs, they have probably been exposed.

Dr Z :

Let me send a link with more information about the virus.

Dr Z :

LINK HERE

Dr Z :

I would try to keep them in a separate room, especially away from the ones who are actively showing symptoms (sneezing and coughing).

Dr Z :

Try to keep them strong by insuring they are eating and drinking well.

Dr Z :



If they start to build up mucus, use a cotton ball moistened with warm water to wipe away crust and mucus. Use saline nasal drops (like Ocean Mist) but not anything medicated. Tilt the head back and drop two to three 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.



Also, steam treatments to relieve congestion are helpful for the cats showing symptoms. Run a hot shower with the door closed to get the room steamy and then leave them in there for 5-10 min. You can do this a few times a day.

Customer:

Would worms cause the reaction of similar symptoms ...also will the kittens die...will this virus cause death in all the cats...?

Dr Z :



If however, the discharge turns yellow of green, that is usually a sign that bacteria are involved and a course of antibiotics are needed. The antibiotics will not get rid of the virus, but will get the bacteria hopefully under control so the cat's immune system can get the virus back in check.

Dr Z :

Worms usually lead to GI signs versus respiratory. The vomiting could be intestinal parasite related, or could be due to post nasal drip that often accompanies an upper respiratory infection.

Dr Z :

It is not to say that any of the cats will die, but the adults stand a better chance of recovery than the kittens. In most cases with viral infections, just like in humans, the treatment is supportive while the cat mounts an immune response to the virus and the symptoms resolve. Kittens have less reserve, so if they stop eating and drinking becasue they don't feel good, they can easily become dehydrated. You may need to seek veterinary intervention if that occurs.

Dr Z :

Is there anything else I can answer for you today?

Customer:

kittens are drinking water and eating kitten chow now but ,, although would be difficult to separate them from others..can try to limit ...so if I try the saline drops on the other cats..inside cats..it might help? Does the virus last for a time limit of maybe weeks or continue ... ? To be clear, does it go away or just stay in their system and become worse?

Dr Z :

If the cat or kittens have a strong immune system, they should be able to form antibodies and resolve the viral infection.This will usually occur withing a week or two. With most viruses, they will get rid of it, but if it is a herpes virus infection (which is one of the most common viruses involved) most cats do not ever get rid of the virus completely. The virus will be come latent (inactive) but stays hidden in the body. When this occurs, the symptoms will at least resolve and the cats will feel better. These latent viruses can become re-activated at any time, but usually if it does, it is at a time of stress or when their immune system weakens. The symptoms of a reactivated virus infection are usually mild however and not as severe as the original infection.

Customer:

thank you, XXXXX XXXXX have helped all you can at this time...I appreciate the steaming and other advice which might be helpful to them...thanks again for your time...

Dr Z :

You are welcome. Good luck with all of them!

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