Cat With a Cold

"My cat has a chronic stuffy nose. She has been treated with nose drops, surgical procedures and antibiotics. Now I'm using NeoPolyDex and Little Noses because blood is still draining from the Rhinoscospy that was performed last week. My vet advised me to get a Rhinoscospy because it could be a tumor. Her stuffy nose used to clear up and return. But I’ve never seen a tumor that grows, decreases, and grows again. Please help me! I don't like to see my cat like this. My cat is not a quitter."

Your cat could be what we call a chronic snuffler.  Upper respiratory infection in cats is very common and can be caused by influenza virus (cat flu), Feline rhinotracheitis virus (herpesvirus), feline calicivirus or Chlamydia Psittaci infection.  The latter three agents can become a chronic problem in some cats, with continuous signs or intermittent flare-ups. Concurrent signs may include discharge from the eyes or corneal ulceration and oral ulceration.  If your cat is indeed a chronic snuffler, it is likely that she was infected at a young age with a persistent infection that likely cannot completely cleared.

The first step to diagnosis could be a blood test to try and ascertain what the infection is.  This PCR test identifies antibodies in the blood to the common respiratory infections, and the results will probably affect treatment.  While this chronic problem may not be clearable, it could be manageable.  Management depends heavily on the infectious agent which is at work.  Chlamydia can be treated or managed using antibiotics such as tetracyclines.  Many vets use long courses of antibiotics followed by pulse therapy with antibiotics, where we prescribe short and regular courses to be continued throughout the cat's life. In the case of viral infections, anti-virals may help as well as supplements such as L-Lysine in the case of herpesvirus infections.  Occasionally, long term steroids are used, however these should be used with care. NeoPolyDex contains a steroid as well as antibiotics and should be used with care, as the steroid component could delay healing and perpetuate infections. Decongestants such as Little Noses may help alleviate some of the discomfort that comes with having a stuffy nose.  Setting up a vaporizer in the home or using regular masked vapour therapy may also help.

The development of a tumour or nasal polyp could make signs worse, and this could be why a Rhinoscopy was recommended.  A CT scan may also show any masses in the nasal cavity.

My advice would be, since a tumor has been ruled out, to firstly try and ascertain the cause of the infection with a PCR blood test.  This may give your vet more guidance as to the best management strategy to use in your particular cat to maximize her quality of life.

Does your cat always seem to have a stuffy nose? How are you managing it?

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