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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 33247
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Our almost 5 year old female tabby has been sneezing on and

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Our almost 5 year old female tabby has been sneezing on and off since about last Christmas. No other symptoms and appetite is good. Some days we don't notice any sneezing, other days we hear either a few very soft sneezes in rapid succession or just one or two loader ones. She never seems to sneeze whilst sleeping, not even if she sleeps 8 or more hours on end.
She goes out every day and has some problems with other cats, so much so that she got stress related cystitis a couple of months ago. Our vet gave her an injection and prescribed a course of Metacam and advised us to get some more litter boxes. She was her normal self in a day or two. Only change is that she now prefers to use the litter boxes rather than the outside. Before the cystitis she never wanted to use the litter box.
If sneezing is due to dental problems, wouldn't her appetite have been affected? Also, the sneezing started long before she started using litter boxes, so we can't really pinpoint any obvious causes for allergy. Had hoped the x-mas tree was the culprit, but getting rid of that didn't solve the problem.
Grateful for any advice.
Mr & Mrs Horwood
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin

Mrs. Horwood, the feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) is the most common cause of such sneezing in cats. The bacteria Chlamydophila and Mycoplasma can contribute to her symptoms of FHV-1 or exist as sole infections. Inhalant allergies causing sneezing are poorly described in cats but undoubtedly exist.

A minorly affected cat need not be treated. FHV-1 typically waxes and wanes but is expected to go into lengthy remission in most cats. Severely affected cats might be prescribed the antiviral drug famcyclovir which is dosed thrice daily for three weeks - a stressful protocol best avoided if possible. A lengthy - 30 days - of oral doxycycline is prescribed when addressing either of those bacteria - the presence of which is identified by PCR (a DNA-based) testing as is FHV-1. An over the counter antihistamine trial is reasonable in the uncommon case allergy is present. My preference is chlorpheniramine commonly dosed at 2mg/cat twice daily. You should be able to find a generic chlorpheniramine product at your local druggist.

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Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'm going to check back with you in a few weeks for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.

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