URI for a Year?

8stringfan

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Hi folks! About two years ago we started noticing this little black and white feral in our backyard. Long story short, we left food out for it on our side porch, built it a shelter, and it gradually took up residence on our porch. For a year or so it would run if we came too near but it gradually warmed up to us around January of this year and started coming inside and spending the night (amazing how cold and snow can help to convince a friendly-but-cautious feral to come inside :)). From the beginning she's had a runny and stuffy nose. We got her to the vet in the spring for vaccinations, a check-up, and meds and they did two rounds of different antibiotics, but it didn't do much and she's gotten particualrly snotty and congested over the last week or so. We're leaving town on Wednesday for a couple of weeks and taking her into the vet first thing when we get back, but I'm just wondering...a year-long URI? Does such a thing happen? She is constantly congested, sneezes a ton, and shoots thick brown and green snot all over the place - cleaning up her snot costs us a small fortune in paper towels and 409. Otherwise, she's fine. She eats well, drinks water, plays, sleeps, demands to go outside and runs all over the yard. But she just sounds horrible, and always has. I've never had a cat with this kind of issue, but I've also never adopted a stray, or perhaps more accurately, been adopted by a stray. Any thoughts? Thanks!
 

Furballsmom

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Hi
Who will be taking care of her while you're gone? Do they have your vets number?

What are you feeding her? Is her water filtered?

Is your vet a cat-only clinic?

Can you stop using 409 and find something more pet safe, maybe Seventh Generation has something, but there are other pet safe products on the market. What cleaning sprays are you using elsewhere, do you have fragrance free laundry detergent and dryer sheets, stop using air fresheners if you are, scented candles won't help her, etc.

Imagine you have severe asthma and change your household over to accommodate that, and see if it helps her.

I'm not saying this will be a cure or was a cause, but I'm guessing it will ease her respiratory tract.

Also see if spending a little time in the bathroom with a steaming hot shower helps.
 
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8stringfan

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We have a pet care person coming three times a day. It's a weird situation. We actually have an elderly cat who was diagnosed with CKD about a year ago. She is doing alright, but her eating habits have become rather finicky and she kind've demands at least three feedings per day of this special wet food for CKD cats. The two cats have not met and will not meet...we've seen the feral chase and attack other ferals in our yard so there's no way she's getting around an elderly cat who's down to about five pounds and may only have about six mnonths or so left to live, and that's not even getting into the possibility of the feral giving Munchkin her respiratory disease. As a result the feral stays in our basement when she's inside. It's a finished basement that had previously been used as a seperate apartment, but I use it as an office, music room, and rehearsal space for my band. While we're gone she'll be back outside but the pet sitter will put food and water out on the porch by her shelter in the morning. The kid next door said she'd help out and take the food away in the late afternoon in order to keep it from attracting raccoons and possums in the dusk hours. Cow Cat (the feral) basically only trusts my wife and I. She'll fall asleep in my lap but flees if anyone else comes near, although the last time we left for vacation the kid next door fed her for a week and said by the end of the week she at least seemed to be more tolerant of her presence. Good point about leaving both caretakers the cats' vet number. My wife may have already thought of that, but I hadn't and will let her know tomorrow. Thanks!

Honestly, we should be feeding Cow Cat better. She hates wet food and won't touch it. We always gave her the Kirkland Chicken and Rice food when she was just a feral because, well, we have always fed the local ferals but weren't going to spend a fortune on it, especially since the birds were just as apt to eat it, so we just bought big bags of the Kirkland stuff to leave out for them. Now that she's coming inside to eat, we should be buying better food. Keeping her on the Kirkland stuff (which she loves) is just a habit on our part that we hadn't stopped to reconsider. Our vet is cat only. Other than the URI she was given a clean bill of health. The vet seemed to think it might just be something we're stuck with.
 

Furballsmom

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I'm keeping my fingers crossed that if you're able to make some of those changes in your household in addition to the food, that your Cow Kitty is able to overcome her troubles. Even an air purifier or two could be helpful.

Something else you could consider, although it's a little controversial in that some people don't think it's useful, is to add some L-Lysine to her diet to give her immune system a boost.

There's a boatload of information here, but this website might give you some tips to help Munchkin;
Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - What You Need to Know First
 

Astragal14

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It's good that you're taking her to the vet (and a cat only one, that's great!!) because there is a very long list of potential causes; you want to rule out the most serious causes, like structural abnormalities or tumors. And your vet is correct that it may just be something you're stuck with - one of the more frequent causes is a prior infection as a kitten that caused damage somewhere in their nasal cavity/sinuses. But even if stuck with it, there are still many things you can do to help alleviate her symptoms.

Chronic upper respiratory disease in cats (Proceedings)
Some have postulated that chronic idiopathic rhinosinusitis is a result of damage to the turbinates from previous URI infections allowing for chronic intermittent colonization and infection with environmental bacteria.
In general treatment is first undertaken with antibiotics (ideally based on culture of nasal flush or tissue culture) for approximately 4-6 weeks to clear a secondary bacterial component of the disease, following with steroid therapy. Inhalants may work well for this purpose (fluticasone, Flovent 220mcg metered dose, 2 puffs twice daily and wean, some cats may respond to lower concentration Flovent). Floventusually takes approximately 1-2 weeks to reach maximal efficacy. During this time concurrent administration of oral steroid (prednisolone) may provide additional relief for the patient. Glucocorticoids may exacerbate infection and some cats respond poorly. Additional therapies that may be considered include antihistamines, L-lysine, NSAIDs (not concurrently with steroids), Little Noses saline drops, or Little Noses decongestant drops on a three-day on three-day off schedule to avoid rebound vasodilation. Famciclovir, an anti-viral, has been evaluated in a small number of cats and seems to be well tolerated with a positive impact on the cat's condition. Intermittent nasal suction and flushing (anesthesia usually required) may provide additional relief for the severely affected cat. The mucus produced by cats is rich in sialic acid giving feline mucus a distinctive thick, ropey texture. Most cats cannot sneeze forcefully enough through their narrowed passages to clear the discharge material. Response to therapy is quite variable. This can be a very frustrating disease for cat owners and practitioners.
We use some of these methods with our cats, in addition to the cleaning tips from Furballsmom Furballsmom . Our cats both have environmental allergies, and one cat has feline herpes virus and the other cat's allergies are severe enough to lead to URI's during allergy season. Just taking steps to prevent sinus inflammation is a HUGE part of managing their symptoms - fish oil and a healthy cleaning routine reduced their symptoms by over half.

For cleaning, our vet agrees with Furballsmom Furballsmom to clean as if you have asthma. In our experience, fragrance free cleaning products with fewer harsh chemicals are the best options (nothing fancy, all of ours can be found at Target and Wal-Mart). And an air purifier keeps things noticeably cleaner and for longer.

Our cat with feline herpes also needs 1,000 mg lysine per day to manage his respiratory symptoms. Without it, he has major sneezing fits and clear discharge from his nose and eyes. Our cat with severe allergies sometimes needs antihistamines or antibiotics. She's had previous nasal flushes and they really do help a lot, but the relief only lasts about a week before her symptoms return. A very mild version of an at home nasal flush is to keep them inside a bathroom while running a hot shower for 10 minutes; this helps enough that I doubt we'll bring her back for an in office nasal flush.

Regarding food - you may have more success transitioning her to wet food once you've implemented some of these tips and treatments. Sometimes my cats' first symptom of a URI is losing interest in their wet food (but they'll still eat their dry food):

URIs — Kitten Lady
When their nasal passages are clogged they may have trouble smelling their food and may need to be enticed by mixing the food with water and briefly warming the food.
 

di and bob

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My cat have leukemia and a coldd or URI could kill them. I have had very good luck with DMG, a supplement to build up the immune system. They used to get URIs a couple of times a year, they haven't since i started it. It lasts a long time, i put it in a lickable treat. It wouldn't hurt to try it, research it. All the luck!
 
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