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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 22616
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My cat has a mucus plug in her nose and tearing eyes. What

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My cat has a mucus plug in her nose and tearing eyes. What can I do?

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

When did Minnie have a dental?

Is the mucus clear or snotty (yellow/green)?

Are you seeing signs in both nostrils or just one?

Any sneezing?

Any facial swelling?

How is her appetite?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Minnie's treatment was 1 month ago

Mucus is yellowish in one nostril

Lots of sneezing

No swelling

Thank you Sharon,

First, as I am sure you can appreciate, we can see upper respiratory signs of this nature for a range of reasons. Most commonly it will be associated with cat flu. Still with Minnie's history (especially with a history of dental issues and a one sided nasal discharge), we do have a few other considerations for her signs. Specifically, we do have to consider oral-nasal fistulas (connective holes between the nose and mouth secondary to dental issues) and the possibility of something being present in that one nostril (ie fungal infection, foreign material like grass, polyps, tumors, etc.) that should not be.

Just to touch on Minnie and her mouth, if her dental procedure was a month ago, then we can put concerns about procedure induced fistulas (where a rotten tooth is removed and the bone is so thin it is breached and open until the gum heals over) lower on our list of concerns for her. The reason why we cannot totally remove it off our list of concerns and will still need to keep it in the back of out mind is because we can see rotten teeth (still present in the mouth or those that fall out on their own) induce bone erosion to cause the communicating hole. When we have that communication, bacteria from the mouth can invade the nose leading to a one sided (unless a fistula on each side) recurrent nasal infection.

Now with all that in mind, we do have to focus on how to approach the situation. To start, with yellow snotty colored discharges present, this tells us that secondary bacteria are present and antibiotics would also be indicated. Therefore, addressing the bacterial infection would be the first step for Minnie.

From there, I will now outline supportive care you can use at home to help reduce her signs. If she has a cat flu flare-up, then hopefully we will see this settle completely with antibiotics and supportive care. But if we don't and the discharge continues from that one nostril, then we'd want her vet to examine her mouth (to rule out a fistula or visible tooth issue) and aid you in determining if any of those other nasal based issues could be a problem for her.

Now in regards XXXXX XXXXX treatments to keep her comfortable, I would suggest taking her in the bathroom while you run a hot shower. The steam will help loosen and clear any of the snot congesting her. You can also use a baby nebulizer/humidifier, but often cats don’t like things held up to their faces. That said, you can alternatively make a little ‘steam tent’ with her in her carrier, a humidifier or nebulizer, and a bed sheet over both.

If she is building up mucus that the steam isn't shifting, use a cotton ball moistened with warm water to wipe away crust and mucus you can reach. As well, you can also use saline nasal drops (like Ocean Mist but not anything medicated) to relieve her congestion. To do so, take one at a time and tilt their head back and drop two to three drops in one nostril. Cats hate this, but it helps. After the drops go down, you can let the head up and wipe away any discharge that gets loosened. Then repeat with the other nostril.

When cats are congested, we can often seen their appetite wane. If this is the case of Minnie, then we will need to try to tempt her with her favorites but also with smelly wet foods (since they are easier to smell and are high in water). It may also help to warm it up a bit in the microwave to help her be able to smell it. Furthermore, if you struggle to get enough nutrition into her, there are also OTC calorically dense critical care diets (ie Hill's A/D, Clinicare, Royal Canin Recovery diet) available from the vets that can be useful in hand feeding cats who are not eating properly. They allow you to get more nutrition into her, even if you cannot get a large volume of food in.

Overall, we do have a few considerations for Minnie's signs. Hopefully, this is just a flare-up of cat flu but we do have to be wary of those other potential causes for these signs. Therefore, I would advise starting the above supportive care measures and have her vet dispense antibiotics to tackle the snot (+/- cat safe decongestants (ie Bisolvin) if she is very congested). Hopefully, she will respond and settle with this. But if she isn't then we'd have to be concerned about those other issues and may need her vet to take additional diagnostic steps (ie oral exam, x-ray, nasal scoping, and/or nasal flushing) to determine which is to blame and what can be done to address this or at least keep her comfortable.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

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