Sneezing Cat may have Infectious Disease

Lab Work & Treatment should be Started Soon

I have a male cat, 20 months old, who gets sneezing fits, sometimes sneezing 9 times in a row (all without the courtesy of screening his nose with a paw!!). He was a stray we got through Animal Control. This morning he sneezed several times, then had a string of mucus from his nose with a black spot that looked like dried blood. When he sneezes at night he manages to sneeze in my face! He seems to be feeling somewhat lethargic today.

Dr. Nichol:
The gross volumes of cat snot at your house can’t be fun for anybody. It’s not unusual for repeated sneezing to aggravate inflammation in the nasal passages and cause minor bleeding. You and your kitty need relief, not to mention a box of Kleenex.

Chronic upper respiratory infections are common in cats, especially those who’ve served a stretch in a shelter. While today’s facilities do a vastly better job of controlling disease and stress than those of yesteryear, these are high risk environments for cats, especially youngsters. Widespread contamination with infectious organisms can lead to nosocomial infections – contagions that reside permanently not just in the inhabitants but in the building, equipment, and furnishings as well.

Many cats with nasal discharge and frequent sneezing are afflicted with feline herpes virus (FHV-1). Like herpes infections of humans, this nasty bug usually smolders in the nervous system for the life of the cat. Often in a latent phase, FHV-1 reemerges and wreaks havoc from time to time. It’s a daily challenge for some. Your veterinarian can submit swabs for a Feline Upper Respiratory Profile that will screen your cat for 6 different infectious agents.

Feline herpes infections are treatable with l-lysine, an oral amino acid with antiviral activity. But there could be more. A fungal infection of cats, called cryptococcosis, can do more than cause sneezing and discharge. Skin lesions, swellings of the nose, eye discharge, and neurologic symptoms may also develop. Your kitty’s doctor can send a nasal swab and a blood sample for testing. Most cases of cryptococcosis respond to treatment with an oral antifungal medication like fluconazole. Life could be better for your boy. I wouldn’t wait any longer. Get him the help he needs.