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Vet_Dr.Drea, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 371
Experience:  Boarded, licensed, and accredited veterinarian. Interests: general medicine, ophthalmology (eyes).
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My cat is sneezing and has a watery eye. I am wondering

Customer Question

Hi, my cat is sneezing and has a watery eye. I am wondering whether it's allergies. I've been deep cleaning and she's been around a lot of dust.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Vet_Dr.Drea replied 2 years ago.
Hello, as a licensed veterinarian I am happy to assist you!
I am sorry to hear that Stella isn't feeling her best!
To answer your question, yes it could be allergies, but it could also be an infection commonly caused by the feline herpes virus. This virus causes respiratory and ocular signs such as those you note. A large proportion of the cat population has been exposed to this virus at some point in their lives, and in otherwise healthy adults it typically only causes mild cold-like symptoms that usually go away on their own. As long as she seems otherwise ok, continues to eat and drink and act like herself, she will likely be just fine.
However, sometimes the virus can cause secondary bacterial infections, ulcers on the eye, or conjunctivitis (pink eye), in which case Stella may need to see her vet for antibiotics or other treatments. Therefore, if Stella shows any of the following signs she should see her vet:
- Signs that she doesn't feel well: increased hiding, loss of appetite, lethargy, fever
- Signs of respiratory disease: production of mucus or pus when she sneezes, difficulty breathing (increased respiratory rate or effort, open-mouth breathing), unusual sounds while breathing (crackling, gurgling, wheezing, etc), pale mucous membranes. **Please note that open-mouth breathing and/or pale membranes are a medical emergency so she should be rushed to her veterinarian immediately if they occur**
- Signs of worsening eye problems: excessive blinking, squinting, holding the eye closed, pawing at the eye, swelling of the tissues around the eye, change in appearance of the eye (cloudiness, change in color, uneven pupils, white or dark spots on the eye)
If you'd like, there are some things you can try:
- In the case of allergies my favorite antihistamine for cats is zyrtec (cetirizine): for your average sized cat the dose is 1/2 to 1 of a 5mg tablet 1-2 times per day. For good allergy control twice daily dosing may be necessary.
- In the case of herpes virus, the addition of an L-lysine supplement (can be purchased online or from a pet store), can help decrease recurrences
- For some respiratory relief, you can run your shower on hot and leave Stella in the bathroom with the steam.
- Herpes virus flare-ups can be caused by stress so decreasing stress often helps
Thank you for your question- I hope you find this information useful! Please feel free to respond with additional questions. Once you are satisfied with my answer, please remember to rate my answer such that I receive credit for my time.
Have a great day!
Dr. Drea

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