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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7940
Experience:  35 years in practice,
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I have a 5 year old cat who lives on our farm, and is really

Customer Question

I have a 5 year old cat who lives on our farm, and is really a pet to us. She suddenly is coughing and sneezing. What can we give her from a Phamacey. Our Vet is shut for the weekend. She is generally quite tough, and will probably overcome herself.

What can we do to help her?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 4 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr. Bob.
I'm sorry to read of Betty's respiratory condition. Statistically, the most likely cause of this condition is a herpes virus. This virus only affects cats and is taken into the cells of the body, making it very difficult to treat. The odds are that she was exposed sometime earlier in her life and something in the environment or her body is stressing her causing the dormant viral condition to become active. There are some anti-viral medications available that can be used to treat herpes, but they have fairly serious side-effects in many patients and are very expensive, so we rarely resort to their use, except in very severe infections. Secondary bacterial infections are possible when their immune systems are occupied fighting the virus, so you should take her to your veterinarian as soon as is practical for the possible prescription of antibiotic protection. In the meantime, keep her warm (indoors, if possible), feed her especially smelly foods like fish and warmed canned foods if she likes these and is accustomed to eating them. The virus often affects the nasal membranes causing a loss of the sense of smell. When cats can't smell their food, they often won't eat. this can have a detrimental effect on their recovery, as they need the nutrients to help fight the infection. Encourage her to drink water - mixing a bit of milk, half and half or coffee creamer in the water may entice her to drink more. Canned clam juice - available from many grocery stores - is also a good way to encourage water consumption.
A nutraceutical, lysine powder, has often been used by veterinarians in the past to help reduce the severity and duration of herpes outbreaks, but recent research has called its efficacy into question. Given the long-term use, however without significant side-effects, you may want to use some lysine sprinkled over her food. In my practice it seems to help them. Use one quarter teaspoonful twice daily on food.
Hopefully she'll soon shake this condition off, but if you should have further questions, please let me know.
Kind regards,
Dr. Bob