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Treating Upper Respiratory Infections

| October 6, 2010

Cats are subject to an airborne virus disease that is very similar to the human cold. It is called Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)

Cats are subject to an airborne virus disease that is very similar to the human cold. It is called Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), and we deal with it everyday in the shelter. We do all we can to prevent its spread, but because the cats are all confined in one large room, a single sneeze from an infected cat exposes all the others, just as a cold is spread through a classroom. Also, all the cats in the shelter are under stress just by virtue of being here, which lowers their resistance.

If your cat begins to sneeze or show runny eyes or nose within 6 days after you get her home, chances are that she has come down with URI. The virus is quite contagious to other cats, so if you have any, keep them separate. You can expect symptoms to continue for 7 to 10 days and may vary in intensity a great deal (just like a cold). The cat may sneeze, have discharge from eyes and nose, may drool and breathe with difficulty through her mouth. She may lose her appetite, even stop drinking. If the discharge is watery and the cat’s temperature is normal you are dealing with “simple” URI virus. Mucous and fever are indicators that a secondary bacterial infection is complicating the picture. The cat should definitely receive antibiotics.

Caring for a cat with URI
As with a child’s cold, you simply provide as much relief from symptoms as you can while allowing the virus to run its course. We put cats with URI on an antibiotic to prevent secondary infections like pneumonia from developing — but antibiotics do not affect the virus itself. See your vet to get a supply. Keep the cat strictly indoors, of course, in a warm quiet room without drafts. Feed canned food–the “smellier” the better–in order to stimulate appetite. It is important to make sure adult cats eat at least a little bit every day. Wipe the eyes and nose as needed. Some cats, especially the short nosed ones, get so congested that they are really miserable, unable to breath, eat or drink or sleep comfortably. You can use a humidifier to make the cat more comfortable. You can also use Pediatric Neo Synephrine (not adult), 1 drop per nostril, morning and evening (for no more than 2 -3 days) to relieve the congestion. Never give a cat any “home remedies” without consulting your veterinarian.

Because URI is such a common shelter problem and other vets seldom encounter it, we are very familiar with techniques for nursing a cat through the disease. Please feel free to ask for our advice. You can call directly at 787-2500 ext. 804. Leave a message and we’ll return your call as soon as possible. Be sure to take your cat to your vet and try not to worry. Remember how miserable a bad cold feels (and appears). With your care and attention, your new cat will undoubtedly be her normal self in a week or two.

*Please note. This article is from Paws USA based animal welfare organizations.

The PAWS health guarantee covers only those conditions which are life-threatening even with proper veterinary care, or which require extensive surgery or other expensive and/or risky treatment by a veterinarian. Examples are: cancer, feline leukemia, diabetes, etc. In those cases, we will refund the adoption fee or give a credit for another animal. We cannot assume responsibility for any vet bills.

Copyright & Credit:
Source: Paws –

Photo copyright and courtesy: Antixstar – stock.xchng

Category: Feline Health, Feline Health and Care, Feline Resources

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