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CalCatDoc, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 341
Experience:  I have 31 years of clinical experience, with the past 22 years being in a feline-exclusive practice.
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I adopted a 18 mo. old feral cat two months ago. She adapted

Customer Question

I adopted a 18 mo. old feral cat two months ago. She adapted quickly to cat box, our two cats and our laps which led me to believe she was at some point an indoor cat (no chip when found). She was sneezing a lot (in and out type of sneezing) since we got her. I had never seen this before and I have had many cats in my lifetime. Recently she started coughing and gagging. Took her to vet ti check for upper respiratory infection. No temp. or chest noise. She was put on .25 ml. antibiotic which she finished yesterday morning. By evening she seemed warm and wanted to be left alone. About to call vet again when she began finally started eating (had missed dinner and breakfast) and became a little more friendly. Continues to have cluster sneezing of 10 or so at a time.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  CalCatDoc replied 1 year ago.

Hi! I'm CalCatDoc and I can help with your questions.

Expert:  CalCatDoc replied 1 year ago.

I have been in practice for 33 years, the last 24 of those in an exclusively feline practice. So I have seen my share of sneezing kitties.

Bearing in mind that the most common cause of upper respiratory disease in the cat (sneezing and sometimes laryngitis, fever, even some eye problems) is feline herpesvirus, and given that your kitty had a rough start in life and almost certianly didn't have a mom that passed on immunity, and probably didn't get proper vaccinations when little.....................

Expert:  CalCatDoc replied 1 year ago.

There is a very good chance that Bridgit has FHV infection. It is extremely common.

The antibiotic won't help it since antibiotics only affect bacteria, and not viruses. That said, some of these cats do get secondary bacterial infections. But most are simple and straightforward kitty "colds".

The most important thing to do is keep her eating - good nutrition gives her body the energy to fight it.

FHV is, like other herpesviruses, not curable. It will be with her forever, but may or may not ever cause trouble in the future. I always put these kitties on a lysine supplement which serves to make it difficult for the virus to replicate, and helps the cat get the upper hand.

Lysine is not a drug - it's an amino acid - so this is a nutritional approach with a good track record. FHV needs arginine to reproduce and the lysine blocks arginine receptor sites.

I use Viralys powder, which is available OTC online and through larger pet stores and at many vet clinics. I give my patients 1 scoop twice a day for at least 2 weeks, then eventually decrease it to once a day for long-term maintenance.

Some cats just need to stay on it or they keep having relapses. Many do not, so it is used temporarily. There are no side effects. You do need to mix it into a tablespoon of canned food.

Expert:  CalCatDoc replied 1 year ago.

Her symptoms probably will peak within a couple of days of starting, and then gradually subside. If you are concerned about her, it might not b a bad idea to get her seen on Monday to make sure she is not dehydrated. Sometimes they will have a little fever that makes them feel bad, but often by the time we vets see them that is resolved. If they didn't see a fever when you took her in she's probably already on the mend.

I hope this has helped. Please let me know if you have further questions or need clarification.

Expert:  CalCatDoc replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?