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My cat has ad what seems like a sinus infection for a few…

My cat has ad...

My cat has ad what seems like a sinus infection for a few months now and can not afford to go to the vet right now. His left eye can’t fully open because of his nasal gland..he has been sneezing but no cough. Is okay to give him some Benadryl until I can get him into the vet?

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. Cats have coughing problems all the time but it is worrying. The Expert will know what you should do. What is the cat's name and age?

His name is ***** ***** is 2 years old

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

No he has had all of his shots and is neutered

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
11/27/2017
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,754
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Verified

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Apologize for my spelling and grammar..if you have any confusion I can reword my first conversation?
Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Would you like any additional info?

I am sorry to hear that your fellow Tigger has been sneezing for a few months, and now his left eye cannot fully open.

Cats rarely get sinus infections, and these sort of chronic symptoms are very worrisome.

Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine. It helps to block the effects of histamine release when there is an allergic reaction. Thus in cats it helps with hives, a reaction to insect bites or stings (flea or tick bites) or itchy skin. It is unlikely to help with issues that cause chronic sneezing and changes in nasal turbinates, changes in the lining of the nasal cavity, or conformation of his eye or nose due to inflammation, infection or a mass.

The nose anatomy in a cat is amazing, it is built to filter out micro-organisms and foreign bodies and has very fine, intricate bone anatomy and sinuses to do so. If this system is damaged unfortunately it can become a hiding place for bacteria and fungal infections to hide however.

Because this has been a long term problem for him we may have worsening of a primary problem or a new condition developing because his nasal architecture has never been normal. Has he been tested for immunosuppressive viruses (feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus) recently? If not that should be done.

Many cats, especially purebreds from a cattery type situation, outdoor cats or strays, carry viral upper respiratory viruses chronically. They may have a flare-up once in their life or here and there when under stress. Signs can range from sneezing, a clear nasal discharge to high fever, lethargy and eye discharge and loss of appetite. In some cases however, either due to a severe infection as a small kitten that destroyed the normal nasal anatomy or because of a chronically suppressed immune system, the symptoms linger throughout their life. These cats we call "snorters" as they will often snore or snort due to chronic infection/inflammation and destruction of their normal nasal anatomy and will have a chronic nasal discharge. The discharge is usually clear, from both sides of the nose equally and the cats don't seem otherwise sick. We almost never see a bloody discharge or a change in nose or eye conformation with these cats.

The most common cause of viral upper respiratory infections in cats is the Herpes virus so I recommend trying an amino acid supplement called L-lysine at a dose of 500mg orally twice daily. If this infection is due to Herpes this amino acid interferes with virus replication and will shorten the infection's duration and severity during an outbreak. Good supplements to try are made by the Viralys brand which comes in a powder to add to the food or a tasty gel. You can give this supplement long term at a low level and increase it when the symptoms worsen. There is controversy about whether this really works or not but I have seen some cats improve on it, it doesn't hurt so it's worth trying.

I also recommend using a humidifier to help thin nasal secretions and keep the nasal mucosa moist, both of which help them breathe better and more comfortably.

Because his symptoms have lingered there are a few possibilities.

One is that a secondary bacterial or fungal infection has taken advantage of his damaged nose and is growing in his sinuses/nose. These tend to cause a cloudy, or green or yellow, thicker discharge and often we do see some blood due to the infection destroying normal tissue. It can be difficult to get high enough levels of antibiotics/antifungals to these areas because of the scar tissue and previous damage. And of course we must make sure to use the proper antibiotic/antifungal for the correct length of time. We may need to give medications for weeks to months to clear these infections. Rhinoscopy with cultures (both bacterial and fungal) and flushing is a great idea to look for abnormalities, gather culture samples and possibly flush out a foreign body (like a grass awn). Radiographs of his nose and sinuses are also helpful in some cases. Sometimes a CT scan or MRI of the nose is needed to find the problem area.

Another possibility is a polyp or mass in his nose that is painful and is interfering with her ability to get air through her nose and placing pressure on his eye. A mass will allow a secondary bacterial infection to thrive as it gives the bacteria nooks and crannies to hide in and grow and stimulates mucous production (great food for secondary invaders) as it is an irritant.

Sometimes we can see a polyp or mass when we perform rhinoscopy or radiographs of the nose but often an MRI or CT is needed. If one of these is seen I recommend a referral to a veterinary surgeon for removal. These are difficult to remove and we want to get it all on the first try.

I understand finances are an issue. You can try Benadryl (diphenhydramine) at a dose of one half of a 25mg tablet per 8 to 15 pound cat every 8 to 12 hours (1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight every 8 to 12 hours). Benadryl is very bitter and some cats will drool excessively or may even vomit because of that. That doesn't mean it is making him ill, he just hates the taste. If that's the case with him try a different antihistamine, such as Zyrtec (Cetirizine hydrochloride) at a dose of 5 mg per cat given orally every 24 hours. (Make sure it is NOT the formulation with a decongestant (such as Zyrtec-D) because cats cannot tolerate decongestants.)

Antihistamines can cause sleepiness or hyperactivity in some cats but those effects usually wane with repeated use.

To ease nasal congestion you can take him into the bathroom with you if you run a hot bath or shower as the steam will soothe his sore, congested airways. You can use sterile saline to loosen the thick mucous in his nose and help remove it. He won't like it but it will help him breathe and be able to smell his food better. You can also use sterile saline to remove eye mucous if it accumulates.

If your regular veterinarian is beyond your means financially now your other option is to contact your local shelter or humane society and see if they run a low cost clinic or know of one in your area.
If not here is a web-page that lists some that may be able to help:
http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/trouble_affording_pet.html?credit=web_id91754962#Assistance_by_state
Other sources of help can be found here: http://speakingforspot.com/?p=Financial%20Assistance%20for%20Veterinary%20Care

Let me know if you have questions about the information I have given you.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Thank you, ***** ***** check out the local shelter and these websites. I also will contact you if anymore questions arise.

You are very welcome, my best to your kitty.

Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,754
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Verified
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