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I have a cat which I took in because someone dropped off,she…

I have a cat...

I have a cat which I took in because someone dropped off,she eats and goes putty ok but sneeze a lot and have discharge, she is so sweet

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the cat's name and age?

We going to call her boots,don't know age but think 1year or younger because she was abanded

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

No she seems ok otherwise

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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/10/2018
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18,125
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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I’m sorry to hear that your rescue kitty Boots is sneezing, and has a runny nose.

I suspect that she has picked up a contagious upper respiratory infection. An upper respiratory infection in cats is just like a cold in you and I, and these are commonly caused by a virus, the most common one being Herpes virus. These are easily caught by breathing in virus particles in the air from a sneeze or nasal or eye discharge. Some cats get sicker than others and young, healthy adult cats seem to tolerate them and fight them off better than very young kittens or older cats. Symptoms range from a mild runny nose and occasional sneeze to severe congestion, coughing, sneezing, fever, eye discharge, and in some cases fatal pneumonia.

You can help her feel better by adding warm water to her food to make it smell more (they don't eat as well if they cannot smell) as well as making it easier to swallow.
The more fluids she gets the better. Offer tuna juice, low salt chicken broth, run the tap if she likes to drink out of the sink.

Take her into the bathroom with you if you run a hot bath or shower as the steam will soothe her sore throat and airways and thin the mucous in her airways.

If her nose become very congested you can use sterile saline to loosen the thick mucous and remove it. She won't like it but it will help her breathe better. You can also use sterile saline to remove eye mucous if it accumulates.

You can give her 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. Good supplements to try are made by the Viralys brand which comes in a powder to add to the food or a tasty gel.

Some lethargy is understandable, let her rest as she needs rest to get better. If your cats normally go outdoors keep her (them) inside until they are back to their normal playful selves.

If she runs a high fever (more than 104F), has a green or yellow nasal or eye discharge, stops eating even with coaxing and clearing her nose and eyes, or starts coughing or having difficulty breathing then she needs a veterinary exam. Not an emergency as long as she is eating but soon if she isn't eating or has a green or yellow nasal or eye discharge.

Sometimes these upper airway infections turn into pneumonia so that's what we need to guard against. In most cases antibiotics aren't needed and can contribute to a decrease in appetite so I don't tend to prescribe them unless I feel there is evidence of a secondary bacterial component. These include a green or yellow eye or nasal discharge, evidence of pneumonia upon listening to their lungs or an infection that lingers beyond the normal 10 days or so.

Given that she was a rescue I highly recommend testing her for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency viruses. These immunosuppressive viruses will make a simple infection much worse as they stop the immune system from fighting infections the way it was designed to do.

Other reasons for nasal congestion are an infected tooth root, a fungal infection, a foreign body inhaled into the nose or a nasal polyp or tumor. If she isn't much better in 7 to 10 days she needs a veterinary visit.

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.

Sometimes these infections become a long term problem. In some young cats they have a chronic discharge because her nasal architecture has been damaged from the infection and doesn't develop normally, either due to a severe infection as a small kitten that destroyed the normal nasal anatomy or because of a chronically suppressed immune system. T he 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 with these cats unless they are in very dry conditions, are hypertensive and have been sneezing a lot. This is more common in cats with immunosuppressive viruses (feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus).

Another possibility for chronic sneezing/nasal discharge is a polyp or mass in her nose that is allowing 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.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you,she eats and goes potty ok,all I see is her sneezing shows no other sign of illness
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
No I can't afford much more thanks for information

I am glad to hear that.

I would try supplementing with L-lysine and see if she improves.

I would recommend testing any new cat for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus. It is important to know her status because it will affect her health her entire life if she is positive for either one.

If she does not improve then a nasopharyngeal polyp or chronic infection which has led to sinus and nasal turbinate damage are all possible problems.

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Sorry about the offer of a phone call. That is an automatic, site generated offer that many licensed veterinarians are unable to fulfill. Many states/province licensing boards do not allow veterinarians to communicate via phone calls, unless they have previously physically examined a pet. The states and Province I am licensed in have that restriction. I could lose my license for calling. If you would like you can reply and ask any follow-up questions regarding my written response and I will be happy to respond to them here.

Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18,125
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Verified
Dr. Kara and 87 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Ok I'll try it thanks ,she a verry sweet cat

You are very welcome, she's very lucky to have found a wonderful, caring home.

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