Fight Respiratory Infections

Lower your cat's chances for a viral upper respiratory infection.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted:  August 15, 2006, 5 a.m. EST

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I could hear it the moment that he came through the door. Pokey, a 9-year-old neutered cat, was in his carrier sneezing his head off. "He's been doing this for the last two days," said his owner, Siobhan Taaffe. "He must have sneezed about 50 times yesterday." In the exam room, it only took a few moments to determine Pokey's problem. The sneezing, watery eyes and snotty nose … it was a classic upper respiratory infection.

Upper respiratory infections (URIs) are common in cats. Several infectious organisms cause signs of upper respiratory infection, but viral URIs are most prevalent. Most URIs (80 to 90 percent) stem from feline herpes virus, feline calicivirus or both. Other respiratory pathogens seen in the remaining 10 to 20 percent include chlamydophila, mycoplasma and bordatella.

**For the full article, pick up the October issue of CAT FANCY**

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Reader Comments

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

2/7/2010 8:57:53 AM

good article thanks

ML    Montoursville, PA

6/19/2009 2:39:32 PM

Isolation is always better than a pen at the humane society. Don't get me wrong I am not complaining about humane societies but the places are loaded with germs and there is no way to avoid it. All new cats in our household have a minimum of two weeks isolation. We of course spend time with them and wash our hands real well after each visit. That keeps the rest of the gang as healthy as possible

Donna    Austin, TX

9/14/2008 8:30:15 AM

I didn't find the article in the October issue.

Bill    Pittsburgh, PA

10/11/2006 5:42:32 PM

I just brought another kitty (Lucky) into the household with five other cats ranging from 1 to 13 years old (five cats). The cat was purchased five days ago (Saturday) at the local humane society, but could not be picked up until Monday because he was scheduled for neutering.

On Saturday he was fine, but on Monday night he was starting to show signs of a URI. Tuesday night he was breathing from his mouth, sneezing like a horn blowing because he was clogged up, had watery eyes, and some drainage from the nose. The drainage was clear. The cat was miserable. I spent an entire night and morning on Tuesday trying to make him comfortable on my bed. I even turned on the shower (hot water) to steam the bathroom and closed the door so he could breath in the steam. This was a recommendation from a vet a couple of years ago when three of my cats were infected with a URI from a kitten purchased through an out-of-state humane society through PetsMart. The kitten went back, but my three cats were infected and $800 later they eventually got through it. I thought I was going to lose the oldest one.

The article doesn't say much I must admit. The Humane Society where I purchased "Lucky" said that if the other cats in the household have all their shots up to date (which they do), they would not be infected. I've heard otherwise through my veterinarian so I didn't believe them. Lucky is now sitting at the Humane Society battling his infection only because I don't want to infect the other five cats and go through what I went through in December 2004.

The apartment that I have doesn't have a place where I can isolate Lucky adequately so this was the only choice, but I'm wondering if Lucky will be subject to additional germs at the shelter (and the affection during the off hours). He's only 8 months old and very loveable, and I have to admit I miss him already even though I just dropped him off today. However, I don't want to infect the other cats. Would having a vaporizer be sufficient with medication from the humane society? Would isolation be better than being locked in a cage at the humane society for a week? I could also put in a latch on the outside of the door since none of the doors lock in this crummy rental property.

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