Undiagnosed Sinus Problem-Where to go from here?

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I've been dealing with this sinus problem since August of 2021, cat has been seen by 2 different vets and still no correct diagnosis. My question is: has anyone had experience with a foreign body in their cats nose, and how was it treated? And, would a skull x-ray be of any help? Below is a basic history of the problem.

Sushi is a 13-year-old female, with no health problems up until now. She is mostly indoor, but does occasionally go outside. In August of 2021, after coming in from outside, she began blowing her nose repeatedly, as if trying to dislodge something and blow it out. After approximately a week, I became concerned that she had either a foxtail or a burr stuck in her nose and took her in to see the vet. The diagnosis was URTI, based on "sneezing and watery eyes." After 30 years in cat rescue, I'm fairly well-versed in upper respiratory symptoms, and was almost certain this diagnosis was not correct. She wasn't "sneezing," she was blowing her nose. We had been sitting outside in partial sun while waiting to be seen, and her eyes began watering. She has never had watery eyes, and does not have watery eyes at home, or at any time other than this visit to the vet, so it's fairly certain this was likely a response to the sun in her eyes. I took her home and waited.

The nose blowing persisted. I called every vet office in the county, but none of the offices had a nasal scope. We live in a remote area of northern California where services are limited, advanced services are non-existent, and going out of area is a 200-mile+ drive. In May of 2022, she had been out on the patio and came in gagging, so off to the vet again (different one) for a piece of grass stuck in her throat. We again waited outside until intake, and coincidentally, her eyes again began to water. During that exam (for which she was sedated), I expressed my concern about something in her nose and the doctor suggested a nasal flush. After the flush, the blowing seemed to lessen, but soon increased again. Last Friday, Sushi had an actual nose bleed with bright red blood, and another one on Tuesday of this week, also with bright red blood. Other than the blood, there has been no nasal discharge.

The few possibilities I can think of might be foreign body lodged in her nose, allergy, tumor? I'm frankly terrified at the thought of a foxtail stuck in her nose!!!

Thanks for any information you can share.

Cheryl & Sushi
 

Furballsmom

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Hi
reading your post, she's getting more irritated rather than better. Could you schedule an xray?
 
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Gremlin's Guesthouse

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Yes I can, and that may be the next step that I'll discuss with the vet. I'm unsure about what exactly can be seen on an x-ray. I think they'll show soft tissue masses, but again, not sure. I'm trying to make decisions that will produce results rather than throwing money around on a lot of expensive maybes and guesses that produce no answers.
 

Astragal14

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Yes I can, and that may be the next step that I'll discuss with the vet. I'm unsure about what exactly can be seen on an x-ray. I think they'll show soft tissue masses, but again, not sure. I'm trying to make decisions that will produce results rather than throwing money around on a lot of expensive maybes and guesses that produce no answers.
The x-ray should be able to show foreign objects or tumors. And if the x-ray is clean, you may want to ask your vet about allergy testing. One of my cats has severe environmental allergies and they first appeared with some of the symptoms Sushi has - nose blowing and nose bleeds (our vet thinks the nose bleeds were caused by internal trauma to her sinuses from so much sneezing and inflammation). We also did a nasal flush at one point but it only provided temporary relief. Allergies can also get worse with age. My sneezy girl just turned 10 and we did another round of allergy testing, which showed even stronger allergic reactions to certain things.

Can you have the x-ray and allergy testing performed at the same appointment (if both are needed)?
 
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The x-ray should be able to show foreign objects or tumors. And if the x-ray is clean, you may want to ask your vet about allergy testing. One of my cats has severe environmental allergies and they first appeared with some of the symptoms Sushi has - nose blowing and nose bleeds (our vet thinks the nose bleeds were caused by internal trauma to her sinuses from so much sneezing and inflammation). We also did a nasal flush at one point but it only provided temporary relief. Allergies can also get worse with age. My sneezy girl just turned 10 and we did another round of allergy testing, which showed even stronger allergic reactions to certain things.

Can you have the x-ray and allergy testing performed at the same appointment (if both are needed)?
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I was leaning toward the nose bleed possibly being the result of broken blood vessels from the forceful blowing. It sounds like x-ray/testing should be the next step. Thanks a bunch.
 

fionasmom

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I hope this is not a foxtail, and no, I am not implying that it is. Bring it up to the vet though. What you are describing with Sushi happened to a GSD puppy years ago....walked outside and inhaled the only foxtail in the yard. Fortunately I was close to easier access medical care. Please let us know what happens.
 
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I hope this is not a foxtail, and no, I am not implying that it is. Bring it up to the vet though. What you are describing with Sushi happened to a GSD puppy years ago....walked outside and inhaled the only foxtail in the yard. Fortunately I was close to easier access medical care. Please let us know what happens.
I hope it isn't, either. They are absolutely insidious. Cat's nostrils are so very tiny compared to a dog's, but foxtails can be in tiny pieces as well. I've kept her in for last several weeks until I could weed my patio, and she is now confined to the patio and carefully watched when out. She loves to chew on greenery, and a couple years ago ate a 6" piece of ornamental grass - the one that has a smooth leaf in one direction and sandpaper in the other. Again was told, "can't see anything, so nothing wrong." It took 3 months for that one to come back up. Of course, got rid of the plant.
 
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