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I took in a stray cat who has a discharge from his nose. He…

Customer Question
I took in a...

I took in a stray cat who has a discharge from his nose. He has been treated with antibiotics but nose is still clogged. What can cause this?

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the stray's name and age?

About 2 years old. Dudley.

Veterinarian's Assistant: What is the stray's name?

Dudley

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Dudley?

Stray unneutered male.

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Cat Veterinary
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Answered in 5 hours by:
11/18/2017
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian replied 8 months ago
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23,189
Experience: Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

How long has he had these signs?

Have any tests been done?

What color is the nasal discharge? From one or both nostrils?

Are his breathing changes or paling of his gums?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Has had signs for about a month. Currently on his second round of antibiotics but BOTH nostrils have discharge. Clear but thick mucas. He was been to vet. His breathing is okay but he makes a sounds like snoring. Looks like he has drainage on to throat. Has not had any test done for Feline leukemia.
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian replied 8 months ago

Hello again,

Now I have to say that given his age, the knowledge that he has clear discharge, and with the long term nature of his signs; we do have a few concerns for Dudley. Viral cat flu agents (herpes, calicivirus) allergies, or polyps in the back of the nasopharynx would be our top suspects here. Foreign bodies caught up the nose could also fit but usually the discharge is one sided. And it is not clear if he has been tested for FeLV or not. But I'd note that we see chronic infections generally with that and FIV. So, if he does have any risk of those 2, we'd want to make sure they are excluded as we look into the rest.

Now with a long term history that isn't responding to antibiotics, we'd want his vet to test for those aforementioned viruses. We may also need them to sedate him to examine for a polyp (growths as well but less likely at his age). Depending on their findings, polyps can be removed and viruses can be managed with antiviral treatments. Feline anti-inflammatories may also be of benefit +/- kitty safe decongestants to reduce nasal inflammation and the discharge.

Any delay and I'd note a few supportive options we can use to reduce the signs for Dudley. First, we can start with steam treatment. To do so, you can take him in the bathroom while you run a hot shower. The steam will help loosen and clear discharge from the airway. You can also use a baby nebulizer, but often they don’t like things held up to their faces. So, if you find that to be an issue, you can make a little ‘steam tent’ with him in a carrier, the nebulizer next to that, and a bed sheet over both.

Furthermore, if he is building up mucus that the steam isn't shifting, use a cotton ball moistened with warm water to wipe away crust and mucus. As well, non-medicated saline nasal drops (ie Ocean Mist or Little Noses) can be used. To do so, just tilt the head back and drop 2-3 drops in one nostril. Not a favorite, 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 he 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 need be, try offering smelly wet foods (since they are high in water). It may help to warm it up a bit in the microwave to help him smell it.

Furthermore, after testing for herpes virus (since we don't want a false negative), we can also start OTC L-lysine. This is a nutritional supplement that can help them recover quicker. This is available over the counter at vets, pet stores, and even online. They come as gels, powders, and as crushable tablets that can be mixed into food. An average cat dose is 500mg a day.

Finally, if you did wish to rule out/treat for allergies, you can try an OTC antihistamine. Most commonly we use Benadryl/Diphenhydramine (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/diphenhydramine-benadryl). A low dose (ie. 0.25mg per pound of their body weight twice daily) can just be enough to reduce allergic irritation. Alternatively, we can use Cetirizine (just 5mg for a cat) once daily. For either, we like to keep the dose low, to avoid drowsiness. Of course, double check with your vet first if your wee one has any known health issues or is on any other medication you didn't mention.

Overall, Dudley's signs do raise concerns over a few chronic issues. Therefore, you can try the above to help give him some relief. Of course, if these signs linger or are severe, then we'd want the local vet involved testing for the above so we can pinpoint which is present here and get it settled for him.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I followed your advise and took the cat to my regular vet. The cat is positive for Feline Aids but not Lukemia. She changed the antibiotic and prescribed steroids and cleaned the cat's ears. No mites. This new antibiotic seems to be working, currently. Congestion is less than it was.
Thank you for your advise.
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