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Dr. Jill
Dr. Jill, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 309
Experience:  6 years of veterinary experience
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I think my cat has cat flu, she has had the problem for a long

Customer Question

I think my cat has cat flu, she has had the problem for a long time but they seem to be getting worse. She is petrified of the vet and becomes very stressed at the sight of the cat basket.She has a constant running nose and eyes and she sneezes a lot.Her appetite is good and her intake of water has increased, can a vet help her.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Jill replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Jill :

Hi, I'm Dr. Jill. I'd like to try to help with your issues with your kitty. First, I have a couple questions that will help me better address your concerns. How old is your cat? Indoor, outdoor, or both? Any changes in weight recently? Any issues urinating outside the litter box, or does she seem to urinate same amount or more frequently now in addition to the drinking more? How is her activity level? Any changes in her appetite or activity level? What is her vaccination history? And how long has the runny nose been going on? These answers will help me give you more detailed information as to what a veterinarian can provide specific to your kitty, and they will give me a better idea of what you might be able to try at home and how urgent or not urgent a vet visit might be.

Customer:

Hello thank you for your reply, she is about 17 years old, she is a outdoor cat and was a stray when I had her.I had her vaccinated every year for about twelve years or so. She has had these symptoms for about 3 years but not as severe as they are now. My vet said that she may have aids, he gave her an injection which helped but after about a month she was back to the same, I took her back and forth for months and she was so distraught that I felt I was being cruel by taking her every month.

Customer:

Her appetite is good and she seems normal as to going to the toilet, but her little nose seems sore when I try to wipe it and her eyes are very runny. She loves to be cuddled but she is quite lathargic.

Customer:

She has flea treatment every month, but I also have two other strays as well.

Customer:

got your e mail about a reply but nothing has come through to me

Dr. Jill :

Thank you for the additional information. Given your description, I am suspicious that what she is dealing with is recurrence of a viral upper respiratory infection. There are several viruses that cause upper respiratory disease in cats, and a high percentage of cats infected with these viruses at a younger age harbor the virus in a dormant state their whole lives. In times of stress or when their immune system isn't functioning at it's best for other reasons (such as old age or concurrent other disease), these viruses can cause recrudescent upper respiratory infection.

Dr. Jill :

Because they're viruses, antibiotics are not effective unless there is a secondary bacterial infection. Anti-inflammatory medication like steroids may help with symptoms, but steroids can also weaken the immune system and cause other side effects so they're not a good option for continuous use.

Dr. Jill :

It's certainly possible that your kitty also has another concurrent disease such as FeLV or FIV (2 infectious viral diseases of cats), or other issues related to older age such as chronic kidney disease or hyperthyroidism that can also weaken the immune system.

Dr. Jill :

Blood tests are available to look at these and other potential issues if you wish to investigate further. You may also be able to find a mobile veterinarian in your area that would come to your house if you would like to further investigate other potential issues that may or may not have treatment options.

Dr. Jill :

Chronic kidney disease and hyperthyroidism (as well as other diseases) can cause increased water intake and increased urination as you've noted as well. Sending a urine sample to the lab with the blood sample can give even more information regarding kidney function or other potential causes.

Dr. Jill :

If the kitty is otherwise doing well (active, eating well, not in obvious pain, etc.), then you can also choose to simply monitor her at home. L-lysine is an amino acid that you can also give daily (250mg-500mg per day by mouth for the average sized cat) which can help prevent some recurrent viral upper respiratory infections. It won't hurt, so I do recommend trying it either way. L-lysine is available over the counter in gel, tablet, or treat forms.

Dr. Jill :

If she stops eating, seems lethargic, or otherwise is acting uncomfortable or not herself, then a vet visit would be a more urgent matter.

Dr. Jill :

I hope this addresses your question and gives you more information regarding your options. If you still have questions on this topic please don't hesitate to ask. I would be happy to continue the conversation further.

Customer:

Thank you so much for the information I will monitor her and go from there.

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