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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
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Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I have two cats who have both gone off food. One is six

Resolved Question:

I have two cats who have both gone off food.

One is six months old, female and was neutered on Tuesday. Yesterday she woudlnt eat in the evening. And same today though she ate breakfast. She has brown drool around her mouth and has been sleepy.

The other is male, neutered and 2 years old. He is incredibly greedy but tonight does not want to eat treats which is very unlike him. He ate dinner. They are also both addicted to cat milk normally but refused it tonight.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'd like to help with your concerns about Nora and her housemate's reluctance to eat and lethargy.

It is possible that Nora picked up an upper respiratory infection at the animal clinic when she was spayed. Though we do our best to prevent this from happening these respiratory viruses are airborne, and very contagious. If a sick cat came in the clinic and sneezed and she breathed in the aerosol droplets from the infected cat then she could pick it up. It is like you going out in public and picking up a cold. Short of putting everyone in isolation we simply cannot prevent it.

The two most common types of respiratory infections in cats are Herpes virus and Calici virus.
Herpes virus tends to cause a lot of sneezing, a fever, and an eye discharge, but unless the fever is very high or their nose becomes very congested they usually continue to eat.
Calici virus can cause sneezing, fever, runny eyes and noses but it can also cause painful oral ulcers on their gums and tongue and that leads to drooling and a reluctance to eat. If you look in your kitties' mouths and see reddened areas or actual ulcers on their gums and tongue then Calici virus is more likely.

Cats with Calici virus sometimes need oral antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections in the mouth as well as fluid therapy to keep them hydrated and electrolytes in balance while the ulcers heal. I also recommend using a mouth rinse like CET oral rinse to help keep the ulcers from getting infected and increase comfort.

If they have oral ulcers or continue refusing to eat they should see their regular veterinarian. Calici virus has a variant type which can be deadly so we do want to watch them very closely.

You can help them feel better by adding warm water to their food to make it smell more (they don't eat if they cannot smell) as well as making it easier to swallow.
Also the more fluids they get the better. Offer tuna juice, low salt chicken broth, run the tap if they like to drink out of the sink.

Take them into the bathroom with you if you run a hot bath or shower as the steam will soothe their sore throats and airways and thin mucous in their airways.

If their noses become very congested you can use sterile saline to loosen the thick mucous and remove it. They won't like it but it will help them breathe and be able to smell food better. You can also use sterile saline to remove eye mucous if it accumulates.

Here is a link to a write up on Calici virus if you are interested in reading more:

http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/feline-calicivirus-infection/4132

Best of luck with your kitties, please let me know if you have any further questions.
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 15143
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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