Friday, 13 July 2018 13:06

Porky & Buddy Column: Might Sneezy Need a Vet Visit?

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Dear Porky & Buddy: My cat Sneezy got that name because he sneezes and coughs and his nose runs almost all the time. He doesn’t really seem sick otherwise. He eats fine and plays and seems happy. But should I be worried? Signed, Sam

Dear Sam:

For crying out loud, get Sneezy to a vet! In what way do symptoms like sneezing, coughing and a runny nose not equate to being sick? Sneezy could have any number of underlying causes for these symptoms, some of them quite treatable, and some of them quite dangerous.

So now that we have gotten the lecture out of the way, let’s talk about “chronic idiopathic/post-viral rhinitis.” In other words, chronic runny nose for which there is no identifiable cause. It is surprisingly common in cats, and it may well be what is going on with Sneezy, but, once again, you can’t make that determination. Once everything else has been ruled out by your vet, if you are left with a cat like Sneezy, what can you do?

Your vet will tell you that realistically controlling rather than curing the condition is the primary goal.

Treatment options that may be tried initially include antibiotics. The disease (although viral in origin) is often associated with secondary bacterial infection and antibiotics usually help, at least in the short run. However, symptoms may not resolve completely with antibiotics and may recur again after a period of time. You may end up treating him with antibiotics intermittently just to keep secondary infections at bay.

Nebulization therapy can help. Nebulizers produce a cloud of very fine water droplets. These are breathed in and help to moisten the airways in the nose and make sneezing more productive. (We have no idea how you would persuade Sneezy to actually do this, but your vet can help if she thinks it would be useful.)

In some cases, the use of corticosteroids may be indicated. These drugs help to relieve inflammation. But nothing over the counter, please, only what your vet recommends.

Good daily cat care at home is also extremely important. Keep Sneezy’s face clean and clear of discharges, and encourage him to eat if his appetite diminishes by providing warmed up food that is strong smelling. Remember this condition, while possibly a little gross, is only that, and Sneezy can live a long happy life in spite of it.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Located at 29 West Seneca Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email: [email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org

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