Posted By: Ellen - Vet

Pheonix the wheezy cat

Sneezing or snotty cats are something that we see fairly frequently at the practice.  We usually see them in young kittens with cat flu when they are often sneezing. Once a kitten has had cat flu they are usually more likely to get recurring respiratory problems.  

Pheonix is one such cat, although no longer a kitten as he is now over 14 year old. He has had ongoing problems with his breathing and breathes very noisily. Usually he copes well with this, breathes easily despite the noise and is a very happy cat.  However from time to time he gets infections which can make him feel quite unwell.

Pheonix likes his food and when he had stopped eating for two days he was brought in to see us, as this was very unusual. His breathing had become noisier than usual and he had a lot of discharge coming from his nose. We took a blood sample to check for other causes that might be stopping him from eating and gave him some decongestants, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics for his respiratory tract infection. The next day he seemed to have perked up and was eating ok. His bloods showed evidence of an infection but no other problems.

Two days later however he took a turn for the worse and had stopped eating again. His owners bought him straight back to see us. He was now struggling to breathe normally and was reluctant to even stand up. He was admitted immediately so that we could provide him with extra oxygen to ease his breathing. We also took also x rays of his chest to check if the problem had spread to his lungs.  We were worried how quickly he had gone downhill. Thankfully the x rays were normal. Once we had established that it was an infection causing the problem the next steps were to nurse him carefully while the antibiotics got rid of the infection and allowed him to recover.

He had not eaten or drunk properly for several days so we put him onto a drip to provide him with fluids, as he had become quite dehydrated. We also carried on with his decongestant to help get rid of his very ‘snotty ‘ nose. Our lovely nursing team spent lots of time with him giving fuss and attention, as well as cleaning his nose so he could carry on breathing through it. We needed to encourage him to start eating again and the nursing team tried a variety of foods to try and entice him to eat. They warmed up the food to make it smell more, as if cats are able to smell the food then it can sometimes tempt them to eat it. For the first 24 hours here Pheonix was not keen to eat at all, he was more focussed on trying to breath. Once the medications started to take effect his breathing became easier and his interest in food increased dramatically! The next day he started to eat small amounts again and by the following day he was well enough to go back home.

He’s been doing very well at home although we are keeping him on some decongestant to try and reduced how often the problem comes back. His breathing is still noisier than most cats, but he’s a very happy boy. 

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