Chronic Upper Respi...

Chronic Upper Respiratory Tract Disease  

Aly B
Originally Answered: Chronic Upper Respiratory Tract Disease

My 3 year old cat Pumpkin just finished FIP treatment and we’re hoping for a full recovery. However, she has a persistent upper respiratory infection that just won’t go away. She is congested and sneezing green mucus. She even had conjunctivitis at one point but we were able to soothe her eyes with frequent flushing and drops. My vet has prescribed an oral antibiotic (doxycycline) and given her a antibiotic shot (convenia) but her congestion/sneezing/mucus will not go away. I was reading that cats can develop chronic upper respiratory tract disease from different viruses and I’m afraid this came from her having FIP. We bring her into the shower with us when we remember and have set up a humidifier in the house. I have also tried 3 different oral supplements (HomeoPet nose relief, Wapiti Labs chest formula, and Pet Wellbeing Lung Gold) but none have proven to help. Any tips for making this infection  go away?

Dr. Joanna Woodnutt, MRCVS
Originally Answered: Chronic Upper Respiratory Tract Disease

Hi Aly,

Congratulations on beating FIP - it's a horrible disease and it's amazing that we're getting closer to beating it!

Chronic upper respiratory disease in cats is frustrating. As you say, it can have several causes - but viral diseases are top of the list. Calicivirus, FELV, and feline herpes are the most common causes (at least here in the UK) but there are others! The problem with many of these viruses is that cats never truly beat them - they live in the cells waiting for the immune system to lapse (due to stress, or meds, or fighting other diseases) and then rear their ugly heads.

Hopefully, as your cat recovers from the FIP their immune system will recover and help them fight this off. It's best to do what you can to support the immune system. Reduce stress in the house as much as possible by minimising changes and providing hiding places for your cat to retreat to. There are immune-boosting supplements available - although there's no evidence they work - and I often recommend trying something with lyseine in in these cases - it's worth a shot, right? (You may have tried this, I'm not sure what's in the products you mentioned). The antibiotics with hopefully squash any secondary infection, which is helpful - is your cat on any immunosuppressive meds? If so, talk to your vet about whether they're still necessary. (Please don't just stop them - not only can this cause illness in itself, it may cause a flare up of the FIP). Taking her into the shower is great for helping shift the mucus. Try to keep her well hydrated, and keep her eating (heating up her food to body temperature can help release the aroma and make it more tempting to stuffed-up noses).

It can take time, so be prepared for this to go on for a couple of weeks. However, if you aren't getting anywhere, it might be a good idea for your vet to do some swabs to check what it is that you're fighting - it might help guide treatment. Remember, many cats live with chronic URT disease - usually it disappears and reappears throughout their lives, so you should get a resolution in symptoms, but don't be surprised if it comes back at a later date, especially after a period of stress - like a trip to a cattery.

I hope that helps, but please let us know how you get on!

Aly B liked

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