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Dr. Kevin
Dr. Kevin, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 125
Experience:  9 years of clinical experience in small animal (canine/feline) medicine and surgery.
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My cats are drooling with a thick mucus that has an odor, are

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My cats are drooling with a thick mucus that has an odor, are lethargic, refuse food and water, scrunched up eyes. First cat to have it is well now and each other cat is coming down with the same thing.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kevin replied 7 years ago.

Hello. This sounds like a calici virus, which can cause ulcers in the mouth that lead to excessive drooling and foul breath. If you can look in there mouths, do you see any red spots on their gums, tongue or roof of their mouth?


Dr. Kevin

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I am at work now so cant look at them. However, I forgot to mention that I had the male at the vet for a booser shot when he was in the end of this cycle. The vet did not know what it might be after taking temperature (none) and looking in eyes, ears, and mouth even pulling back mouth to look at gums.
Expert:  Dr. Kevin replied 7 years ago.

Thanks. Was the male still showing signs of the excessive drooling when the vet checked him, or had it resolved?


Dr. Kevin

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
It had mostly resolved. He was still rather tired but now seems fine. This is over a period of not quite a week. Second cat is somewhat better today, still drooling a little bit and still a little tired but more aware today. Third cat did not really drool but opened mouth and had thick mucus in there. She has not been as affected as other two. She is not around them as much. First two were close those days. Fourth cat (male) shows no signs so far. He is a longer and not in close contact with others.
Expert:  Dr. Kevin replied 7 years ago.

I would attribute the eye issues to a mild viral conjunctivitis. One of the primary causes of conjunctivitis with excessive drooling in cats is calici virus. It seems to fit all criteria in this case: drooling, irritated eyes, transmissible from cat to cat, resolves quickly. Calici virus is one of the respiratory viruses that commonly affects kitties (the others being feline herpes virus and the bacterium chlamydia psittacci). Calici is unique in that it also causes ulcers of varying degrees from the tongue to the pharynx. These lesions tend to heal quickly, and I suspect had healed by the time the male was examined. Check the others carefully, and you may find evidence of some oral ulceration. Although, sometimes the virus will only cause microscopic lesions, just enough to cause oral pain and salivation.


Other possible causes of excessive drooling could be toxin exposure, liver disease, nausea, etc. These would not follow the course of the disease you are describing however.


The course of the disease points towards viral infection and all of the symptoms point towards calici virus. As you are seeing, this condition usually passes quickly. Reasons to initiate a vet visit include:


1) Not eating for more than one day

2) Acting severely ill or non-responsive


Other symptoms you may or may not see are:

1) sneezing

2) lameness

3) limping

4) ulcers on the pads of the feet


These signs will vary depending on strain of the virus.


Treatment is supportive care. Antibiotics are sometimes indicated, if a secondary bacterial infection develops, but these will not affect the course of the viral infection.


Dr. Kevin

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