Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm

Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Sniffles and snuffles

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Half of Canberra's human population is down with the flu this winter - and so are the cats. While the viruses that affect cats' respiratory systems are quite different to the ones that affect humans the signs are similar: runny eyes and noses, sneezing, snuffling and snorting. Some cats suffer from mouth ulcers, too, but coughs and chest infections are mercifully rare.

Cat flu is spread by aerosol or nose to nose contact so outdoor cats or cats who run in outdoor enclosures are the most likely to be infected. 

While the cat flu vaccination doesn't always prevent illness, it reduces the severity of the signs and shortens the duration of the illness. Annual vaccination is strongly recommended as immunity wanes within a year.

Some cats, especially kittens or insufficiently vaccinated adults, suffer secondary bacterial, mycoplasma or chlamydial infections. If your sneezing cat refuses dinner or has pus in the eyes or nose then antibiotics are indicated.

At home you can offer strong smelling foods, keep the air moist with a vaporiser or pop your cat in a steamy bathroom. Wiping secretions away from the nose and eyes with a moist cotton ball will make your cat feel more comfortable.


Snotty nose cats

Saturday, May 31, 2014

                                                                                                                                                                  Snotty-nosed and snuffly cats are difficult to live with.Their owners put up with sneezes and snot all over the house, as well as snuffles and grumbles all day and half the night.

The causes of sinusitis and rhinosinusitis are also difficult for vets to diagnose accurately and even more difficult to treat effectively.

Inflammation and infection spread rapidly from cats’ throats to adjacent structures, such as the middle ear, frontal sinuses, nose and tympanic bullae. These cavities are difficult to reach with medical or surgical treatments.

Feline mucus is also thicker than human mucus and medication has a hard time penetrating the mucus to get to the offending microbes.

Feline Herpesvirus is the most common initiating cause of chronic rhinitis and rhinosinusitis. It causes chronic airway inflammation and swelling, destroys the normal lining of the nasal cavity and upsets the normal mucus layers. The nasal cavity cannot remove foreign particles or the abnormal mucus and the sinuses become blocked. Bacteria leap in and set up infections making the situation even worse.

Drugs to reduce the mucus and the swelling in the sinuses help a bit. We treat the bacterial infection with antibiotics but are still left with Herpesvirus and all the damage it does. Herpesvirus sinusitis soon flares up into full blown bacterial sinusitis again. Some cats respond well to antiviral drugs but others keep getting intermittent sinusitis.

Nastier causes of similar signs are Cryptococcosis, a fungal disease, and cancer, commonly lymphoma, adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. These are difficult to distinguish on X-ray but CT or MRI are very helpful, if they are available. A biopsy clears up any doubts. A blood test is available for Cryptococcosis.

Bad teeth and infected tooth roots sometimes make cats snuffly. A dental inspection and X-ray under general anaesthetic allow targeted and successful treatment.

Occasionally a cat breathes in a grass seed or other foreign body. Usually nasal discharge is from one side only and there is some bleeding.


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A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

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