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12 yr. old male tuxedo cat developed cough about 2 mos. ago,

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not going away....
12 yr. old male tuxedo cat developed cough about 2 mos. ago, not going away.
Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Cat Veterinary
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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/6/2018
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 4 months ago
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18,846
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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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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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 4 months ago

I am sorry to hear about Zippy's cough that has lingered for 2 months.

Since his cough is seeming to linger without any nasal or eye discharge a bacterial or viral infection seems very unlikely.

A dry cough can be a sign of heartworm disease. The most common symptoms for heartworm disease in a cat are coughing or gagging/vomiting. A simple blood test will help diagnose heartworm.

Another possibility, especially if he is allowed outdoors to hunt, is a lungworm infection. These can be more difficult to diagnose but checking several stool samples for eggs or trying a course of fenbenadazole (Panacur) worming medication may be diagnostic if he gets better.

Of course the other possibility is feline asthma. We can usually diagnose them with radiographs of the chest when they are showing symptoms. But if we don't catch them during an episode radiographs can look clear.

Heart disease is another possibility but I would him to be sicker with heart disease. If he seems relatively normal otherwise, eating and drinking well, and active with no signs of fatigue with exercise then heart disease is less likely.

Since he is an older fellow we need to think about cancer, either a primary lung tumor (very rare in cats) or cancer spread from other areas in the body (metastatic cancer).

It would be very reasonable to check a heartworm test as well as a stool sample and worm him with fenbendazole. If those aren't diagnostic and he isn't improving the next step would be to take chest radiographs and look for changes consistent with asthma and compare them to the previous ones taken to see if there have been any changes if he has ever had radiographs taken before.

If his radiographs look suspicious for asthma or even if they look clear when he isn't coughing then try a course of bronchodilators (oral like theophylline or inhaled) and inhaled cortisone (like fluticasone). In most cases inhaled formulation of both drugs work best. In some cases your veterinarian may start with an injection of steroids to get him some immediate relief. Inhaled formulations can work directly on the lungs, and thus tend to work better in the long run, and because they aren't systemic they have less side effects.

Rarely a nasopharyngeal polyp or a fungal infection can be the cause of a cough, so looking further with sedation and a nasal scope, as well as a look behind the soft palate may be needed, if he isn't coming along.

There aren't any good over the counter medications to give a cat with a cough, other than a wormer like fenbendazole, but hopefully I have given you the information you need to approach his cough and the diagnostic testing that will help pin the cause down and get him appropriate treatment.

Best of luck with your fellow, please let me know if you have any further questions.

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 4 months ago

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your kitty. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 4 months ago
Hi Iona,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Zippy. How is everything going?

Dr. Kara
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