Your cat may suffer from feline colds, colds, or upper respiratory tract infections, it is a relatively common disease in cats. Cats that live with many other cats have the greatest risk of being affected, as the infection is more easily spread between them. Unvaccinated cats, young cats, and the elderly with a weakened immune system are also more easily affected
In most cases, the disease is due to a viral infection and then most often herpes or calicivirus. The bacteria Chlamydophila felis and Bordetella bronchiseptica are other organisms that can also cause feline colds.
The symptoms can range from mild and transient, to very severe. Clinical symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, purulent eyes, decreased appetite, fever, and general malaise. Sores in the mouth, cough, increased salivation and ulcers on the cornea may also occur. Chronic damage can occur in the nasal cavity, and symptoms may recur.
Diagnosis is made with the help of symptoms and sampling that can detect infectious agents. Sometimes the cat does not show classic symptoms. It can be important to rule out another cause of runny nose, such as a foreign object (eg blade of grass) in the nasal cavity, cancer, fungus or polyp. For further investigation, the cat must be anesthetized to inspect the nasal cavity with the help of an endoscope, perform imaging diagnostics such as conventional X-rays, computed tomography, or take tissue samples.
The treatment is above all symptomatic and supportive, ie general care such as keeping the eyes and nose clean, providing good food that can be heated to increase the aroma. Nasal drops can be given and the pet owner can let the cat inhale some steam to soften secretions and facilitate sneezing. Antibiotics are only given when a secondary bacterial infection is suspected, as antibiotics do not help with viruses. More severe cases of respiratory infection may require enrollment in a ward so a drip can be given. Sometimes tube feeding is also required.
Many cats that have been infected become carriers of the virus and can spread the virus through body fluids such as saliva, tears, and sneezing to other cats. It is mainly cats with herpes that can be infected for a long time, the risk of virus secretion is greater in connection with stress.
The risk of a cat suffering from a serious upper respiratory tract infection is reduced if it is vaccinated regularly, and this mainly applies to cats in larger cat households. However, the pet owner should be aware that vaccination may not completely prevent infection but often relieves the symptoms.
It is very important not to let cats live together in too large groups, and it is important to remember to maintain good hygiene and reduce the risk of stress. New cats should be quarantined for a while before meeting other cats. Before, for example, a pension stay, the cat should be vaccinated against feline colds in good time.
When to see a veterinarian
If your cat develops symptoms of a runny nose that do not go away quickly, high fever, or decreased general condition.