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Another URI Thread---Need Support!

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone! My cat (Turtle) is 9-1/2 and gets a URI (cold) about once a year, usually after going to the vet for her yearly vaccinations. Last Saturday, two days after the vet visit, she started that sneezing, which, of course quickly went into runny eyes, runny nose, and licking her nose raw because it's running. Went to the vet Monday where she received an antibiotic shot, and a steroid shot. She was much better for about 36 hours, and then started going downhill again. Took her back today, because she's now worse than she's been this whole time, especially worrisome to me is the nose congestion and not eating or drinking (the eating/drinking probably started last night). They gave her subq IV fluids, an antihistamine shot, two meds to take home, and Neo-Poly-Dex with steroid drops for her nose. Has anybody used these as nose drops, and if so, did it help at all with the congestion? She just seems SO miserable and is seems like she's working so hard to breathe through that nose, all that rattling and whistling noise in there. She has no temp and it's not in her lungs at all. I can get her to drink "tuna juice," and she did eat about eight pieces of her regular food after the vet visit. Vet also suggested baby food (meat kind), that I could put it on my finger and stick it in her mouth as a last resort. Read somewhere else if you put it on their paw, they will eat as they clean it off.

I just get so upset when she's sick, I don't know what I'd do if she had a bad illness or something. (She actually took the nose drops--first time anyway--without much difficulty. I was surprised, although that could change!) I know it hasn't even been a week yet, but I'm just so concerned about the congestion/breathing thing. Probably sounds silly, I know.

Thank you!
post #2 of 19
Try a bit of boiled chicken shredded finely and mixed with some of the broth. Don't add any seasonings to the chicken, just boil it.

Warming up a small serving of canned food in the microwave for about 8-10 seconds (depending on your microwave) enhances the aroma of the food and might entice her to eat better.

Hold the bowl of food up off the floor, but still where she can reach it, without having to bend her head down. When kitty has to bend her head over to reach her food bowl, the snot starts running and who wants to try to eat when you have snot running our your nose?!?

Elevate his food dish so he doesn't have to bend his head over as much. Snot travels when he has to bend his head, if you know what I mean!

A small dab of baby Vick's on the top of the nose, out of the reach of the tongue helps with clearing nasal passages.

Eucalyptus oil (Out of the reach of kitty as it's toxic to kitties) in the vaporizer water. I also put a few drops of eucalyptus oil on an old wash cloth and put it near my kitty, but out of her reach. I even put it under her bed so that the warmth from her body would heat up the rag and thus spread the aroma.

Try steaming up the bathroom and then sitting in there with the kitty until the steam dissipates. You might not think it's working, but it does, if you do it about 3 times a day. Vaporizer in an enclosed room works best.

Water boiling on the stove helps add humidity to the house as well, which is good for your stuffed up kitty.

Also, keep the room where he is warmer than the rest of the house.

All these things we do for our kitties when they're stuffed up.

post #3 of 19
Did the vet give any explaination for maybe why it happens once a year--seems odd and abnormal. Perhaps a test for feline herpes is a good idea?

Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus/ Calicivirus is what the test is for, also if you want to look them up online and read about them

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great suggestions!

Jack31, she started getting this once a year about four years ago. In addition to rabies, her yearly vaccination is Fvrcpc, which includes vaccinating against Calicivirus and Feline Viral Rhinotrachetis (herpesvirus), so I don't think it's that. They're not really sure. I've read that stress can cause it, and she really stresses at the vet. When leaving the vet yesterday, I discovered a can outside for a home vet service. My mother-in-law has this for her aged dog, so I might try this next year--have a vet come to the house to give the vaccinations and see what happens.

stephanietx, the shower thing I had tried, but she wouldn't let me hold her up where the steam was, and it never seemed to reach the floor! She also kept trying to get out the door. She hates the smell of Vick's, and moves to a different location if I put it or Eucaliptus, etc., anywhere near her.

Great idea, too, about the food bowls. That seemed to help with the snorting she was doing so much while eating. She is eating, better, too. She had been throwing up moist food (she usually eats dry), but then I tried the same brand in canned food as she was eating in dry, and that works. She's eating that, and also now eating some of her dry, although still not near as much as usual. Chicken broth sounds good, too, and I have a lot of that in the cabinet already. I'm trying that today for extra liquid, too.

She's dealing with the nose drops well, actually. I think she's getting better, as she's not licking her nose as much, and the snorting sound she was making is better, although still there. And she's still just lying around for the most part.

Still won't drink much, if any water, but is laping up the "tuna juice." I added a tad bit of water to it this morning, and she still drank it. It get about one once from a can.

How much water should she be drinking a day? I never measured it before, so I have no idea how much she was drinking when she was eating all dry. How do you know if it's enough, especially if they're eating canned that is 75%+ max moisture? (Yesterday she ate a total of one small can, and about 1/4 of the amount she normally eats in dry.) Are trips to the litter box any indication?

Thanks for all your help and suggestions!!

post #5 of 19
Pam, I add about 2 teaspoons of water to the wet food so I know my kitties are getting that. They still drink from the bowls around the house, too. Do you know how to check for hydration? Just pull up the scruff on the back of the neck. It should go back down quickly. If it doesn't, then your kitty needs hydration.

If you want to try steaming your kitty, put him in his carrier and place it on the counter. My cats don't like it when I do this, but they endure the torture and are better for it.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Stephanie, thanks so much for the suggestions! I'm adding the water to the canned food. I did our first in-the-carrier bathroom steam for about 8 minutes. And, you're right, she was NOT happy! But, it it helps, it's worth it. Didn't notice any difference, but I think I understand that it needs to be done a couple times a day.

Thanks again!

post #7 of 19
Ok - just one question: I am not a doctor, but this treatment from your vet is just not making sense to me... Antibiotics obviously works with the immune system on bacterial infections. If you have a weak immune system, you are pretty much out of luck with antibiotics.... Steroids DEcreases the immune system, it actually kills it for a while. So - what is this vet doing? Treating an URi with the antibiotics, or allergies with the steroids??? Am I crazy for being questioning this?
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Carolinalima, they've always done it this way (which may or may not be right--I'm not a vet either--LOL). In the past, I know the outside of her nose has gotten infected from her constant licking, so I know that's why they gave the antibiotics then. It looks close to being infected now. Maybe to keep it from turning into something worse since she was so lethargic with loss of appetite, etc? Just guessing. And I don't know if this is why, but when she's taken Baytril before, it was either a coincidence, or it cleared things up. Is there a bad reason to take antibiotics once a year like this if there's a chance that it might be helping some type of underlying bacterial infection?

I asked for another steroid shot yesterday because it seemed to help her so much Monday when they gave her one (not knowing about the immune thing until she told me). She told me the reason she didn't want to give her another steroid shot was that steroids reduce the immune system which means it would take her body longer to fight the virus. The steroids were to help the congestion/inflammation in her nose. Instead, the nose drops have steroids, which is a much, much smaller amount than would be in a shot, plus it's directed right in the nose instead of throughout her system. (I know some probably gets absorbed.) She might not have given the drops to me if I hadn't kept voicing my concern about the congestion and it looking like it's so hard for her to breathe.

I tried saline drops at her suggestion (Little Noses for kids), but I didn't have much luck. These are much thinner than the vet's drops, and tend to run everywhere but where they're supposed to. Turtle leaves any area that smells the least bit like camphor or eucalyptus. I run the humidifier in a closed bedroom, but it doesn't seem to help much. Tried Stephanie's suggestion today about the putting her in the carrier and then putting her on the counter in a steamy bathroom. Didn't seem to help much at the time, but I've only done it once so far, so maybe if I keep doing it, it will.

Although I like these people, I have been contemplating switching to a vet that's open on the weekend (so I don't panic over the w/e if I think there's a problem!!). Possibly back to the vet I used years ago with my other two cats and dog that passed away a long time ago. Or to a vet that comes to the house.

If you have any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I feel so sorry for her with her congestion so bad that I'm trying to do everything I can to clear it up.

post #9 of 19
I don't think I'd rule out a second opinion or changing vets if it makes you feel better about your kitty's care. Since these outbreaks seem to occur after a stressful experience, I'd have her tested for Herpes. Ask for the Idexx Real PCR URD test. It's the most accurate test for herpes. IF the test comes back positive for herpes, you do not want to get steroid shots as the steroids cause flare ups.

The steroid was probably given to decrease any inflammation in the nasal passageways and aide in breathing ease.

Something else you can try is plain Pedialyte mixed with canned food. I've also made some of the kitten goop (recipe found over in the kitten forum) and fed that when my cat was really sick.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Stephanie, if she gets a vaccination that has the herpes vaccine in it, can she still have that? Fvrcpc has Feline Viral Rhinotrachetis in it, which is the herpesvirus, or are you talking about something different?

post #11 of 19
If she has herpes and she's given the shot, then it'll trigger a flare up.
post #12 of 19
Yeah... I would seek a second opinion... I would make sure to discuss the steroids as well, as they might be helping in the short term, but actually taking her the chance of strengthening he immune system to get better...
I personally would not give her steroids if she is trying to fight an infection. She might be bad for a couple of days, but will get better after that - antibiotics take about 72 hours to start really taking effect, and that is in a normal Immune system. I would take her to the second doctor for a second opinion, and just make sure to hydrate her, of course keeping her on anti-biotic...
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by stephanietx View Post
If she has herpes and she's given the shot, then it'll trigger a flare up.
Oh my goodness, I wonder if that's it? She's always gotten this shot, and just started getting the "cold" after her yearly vaccinations a couple years ago, but I wonder....

If this nose is not better by Monday, I'll give this other place a call, the one I went to years ago. In fact, might call them tomorrow and ask if I think I want to come in Monday, if I should make the appointment ahead of time. They have a good web site, too. (I'm going to my current vet instead of the old one because the humane society we adopted Turtle from uses this vet, and had already taken her there at least once, so we just kept her there.) Thank you both for support in changing vets, or at least seeking a second opinion.

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Stephenie, is it okay to get vaccines for something that you already have? Meaning if she picked up calcivirus or herpes virus in her first year of life (don't know if she had any shots prior to being a year old), is it okay to have vaccines for it? Do vets ever check to see if they have these things prior to starting vaccinations? I've written down the herpes test you mentioned. Is there one for calcivirus, too? These two seem to be the upper respiratory things. Can they be tested while they're sick? (I know, a lot of questions!)

I talked to my neighbor across the street, who's college-aged daughter is a vet assistant, and the place she works sounds good, as well as several home-visit vets as well. Although my vet's practice does have a very good reputation, second opinions are always good. She's a lot better---except for her nose. Also found out we have a cat-only vet practice in town, but it's a bit far away. Might call the at-home vets and see if any of them will do a home visit for a second opinion, and also see if they will do this test. Hate to take her out to the vet again. She's starting to freak whenever she sees the carrier now!

Thanks for all the wonderful advice!

post #15 of 19
I would assume that giving the vaccine for something she already has is exactly what is causing it to act up--because the vaccine is injecting the virus itself.

So therefore if she has herpes I would discontinue getting her FVRCP booster each year--which if she is indoor only won't hurt her in anyway--the only thing besides FVR (feline viral rhinotracheitis) C (calicivirus) it contains is P (panaleukopenia) which is feline distemper which an indoor only cat not exposed to other cats or only exposed to other cats who are vaccinated shouldn't be an issue.

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Jack31 View Post
I would assume that giving the vaccine for something she already has is exactly what is causing it to act up--because the vaccine is injecting the virus itself.

So therefore if she has herpes I would discontinue getting her FVRCP booster each year--which if she is indoor only won't hurt her in anyway--the only thing besides FVR (feline viral rhinotracheitis) C (calicivirus) it contains is P (panaleukopenia) which is feline distemper which an indoor only cat not exposed to other cats or only exposed to other cats who are vaccinated shouldn't be an issue.Leslie
Had lunch with a friend from church today, and we got to talking about our pets--she has 3 cats, two dogs, has raised puppies getting ready to be service dogs, and worked for a vet for seven years many years ago. She said the virus is dead, so it can't actually give it to them, but didn't know about a problem if they already were exposed to the virus at some point prior to being vaccination against it the first time. Her first vaccination against it was at one year, so she would have to have contracted the virus before then. The first 5 or 6 years she had the injection, this didn't happen (she's 9-1/2). I just think it's weird that if this is it, that it didn't start to become an issue until the last several years (and she's always HATED going to the vet.) So, I guess the thing I need to do is ask for the Idexx Real PCR URD to see if she has it, and then go from there. (Is this a blood test, and do you know about what the cost is?)

She's still improving, although the nose is still an issue, and some sneezing. She just ran away from me when I tried to give her a pill, so the spunk is returning! She woke me up this morning cleaning herself. She started cleaning her face again yesterday, and then the rest of her this morning. She's usually noisy doing this anyway, but especially so when her nose is still a little runny and congested!

post #17 of 19
You can go for years without having a herpes flare up... then when your immune system goes down for a reason or another (infection, stress, viruses), bam - there it is!
I hope it isn't.... but I would check - Good Luck!
post #18 of 19
The test is done with a swab of the nasal passage. It cost us about $75 and it took 3 days to get the results.

Something else to think about is that as your cat gets older, it's body changes. Things that might not have stressed her out when she was younger, might stress her out now. Callie, my 13 yo was the healthiest cat until about 4 years ago, then she started having various old-age problems. They don't stay spring chicks forever (unfortunately), and as they age, there's lots of new things to learn.
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
I lost my first two cats (didn't have them at the same time) each at 8 years of age, one to feline leukemia (vaccine not available at that time), and the other to kidney failure, and both of those came on so suddenly. Also had a dog that at about 10 years old, seemed to start falling apart. She had one thing after another. We always fixed her up and she was pretty much good as new, except for the last thing, which was some type of lung problem--big spot on her lung x-ray that wasn't even fully diagnosed before she passed. Her name was Angel, and she was one!! I'll call the vet in the morning just to double check that Turtle wasn't checked for these viruses before I adopted her. My records don't indicate that they did, but just to be sure.

Just received an e-mail from the home vet I'm been contacting. After I make sure Turtle hasn't already been tested, I'm going to call her and discuss the whole situation.


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