With the recent weather change we seem to have cats that are sneezing. Is this just a cold and if so, how do I home treat?

  • Blog >
  • With the recent weather change we seem to have cats that are sneezing. Is this just a cold and if so, how do I home treat?
RSS Feed

With the recent weather change we seem to have cats that are sneezing. Is this just a cold and if so, how do I home treat?

There are a number of potential complicating factors in the situation you describe. A run of the mill virus, or "cold," is a possibility. It this is the case you will notice only clear discharge from the nose or eyes, no change in appetite or activity, and it will resolve in a week or so on its own. If you want to help boost the immune system for more rapid fighting of the virus, you may use L-Lysine at 250mg per cat per day. It is an amino acid that you can purchase at any health food or vitamin store.

There are several more serious viruses I am worried about. There is a cat herpes virus, called rhinotracheitis, that commonly causes premature birth, low birth weight, and high kitten mortality. In older cats with healthier immune systems, it tends to cause upper respiratory infections that are more serious than run of the mill colds. They also tend to be recurrent infections that may cause additional problems in the future. Cats that have been vaccinated with a good quality FVRCP vaccine in the past year will be less likely to develop full blown symptoms. Longer interval vaccinations will result in variable immunity levels between cats. This virus is a bit complicated to diagnose, but also may respond to Lysine.  

Feline Leukemia (FLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) are also common complicating factors with so many cats that have access to the outdoors. Also, Feline Corona Virus (FCV) and it's cousin Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) are possible complicating viruses in the scenario you gave. FLV, FIV, and FCV are easily tested for by your veterinarian. FIP is more difficult to diagnose on a live cat.

There is also a bacterium, called Bartonella, that is carried by about a third of cats in our area. With Bartonella, otherwise minor inflammation of the nasal passages can be worse and more chronic.

If you notice any yellow or green nasal or ocular discharge, any change in appetite or activity, or if any cat is having difficulty getting enough oxygen, you should seek veterinary care. These can be signs of a bacterial infection that needs antibiotics.

Be sure you have sat down with your veterinarian to discuss disease prevention programs. With this many cats you are running a very high risk of a virus or parasite outbreak that could be heartbreaking for you and could even affect human health in your family. Serious blood infections, like cats scratch fever, larval parasitic migration that can lead to blindness in children, and devastating fatal viral infections are much more common in situations with this many cats that intermix, have access to outside, and have new members introduced without a quarantine period. If you were my client, I would want to have a good long discussion about sanitation, separate colonies, new cat testing and quarantine, effective vaccination protocols, aggressive parasite prophylaxis, and routine viral surveillance.

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you

Location