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Posted on 10-10-2011
Cat symptoms, such as sneezing that lasts more than two days, signal an upper respiratory infection, or URI, that affects a cat's nose, throat, trachea and eyes. Caused by a variety of viruses or bacteria, most of the time a URI is no more worrisome than a common cold. But, three viruses can cause serious illness- feline rhinotracheitis virus (also called feline herpesvirus), feline calicivirus and Bordetella (which causes "kennel cough" in dogs).
If your cat suddenly stops eating, has a high fever or develops ulcers on the tongue and eye surface, don't delay. At Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin, we recommend that you bring your pet into our emergency vet clinic immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.
Our 24 hour veterinarian will carefully assess the situation to determine the best approach. If your cat is still eating, the preferred option may be an in-home treatment plan that includes antibiotics and specific foods in addition to treatments administered at the clinic. However, if your other cats have not yet developed a URI, keeping your cat in the emergency animal hospital may be best for all, since these viruses spread rapidly through sneezing. Our after hours veterinarian may also advise a hospital stay if your cat has stopped eating, so that proper antibiotics and nutrition can be administered.
If you are treating your cat at home, keep an eye out for secondary bacterial infections in the throat, nose or eyes. They may cause your cat to stop eating, which can lead to dehydration and even death. If this happens, return to our emergency animal hospital as soon as possible.
Can URIs be prevented? Yes, if your cat has not been infected with rhinotracheitis virus, the calicivirus or Bordetella. We recommend annual vaccinations as a generally successful way to prevent URIs. Even if your cat does develop an infection, it will be much less severe.
Do you have more questions about URIs in cats? Please contact us so we can help!
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