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What To Do When A Cat Has A Cold?

    What To Do When A Cat Has A Cold?

    Cats experience many of the same symptoms humans have when they have a cold. Does your feline companion sneeze or have a congested nose? You can then be sure that your cat is suffering from an illness. Our North Asheville veterinarians elaborate on cat colds and the circumstances under which your feline companion should consult a veterinarian today. Cats are susceptible to catching colds like humans, manifesting comparable symptoms, including rhinorrhea and sneezing.

    What Are Cat Colds?

    “cat cold” is an umbrella term for a collection of symptoms that affect cats. It resembles the common cold in humans and is typically transmitted by a feline-specific virus.

    Symptoms Of Cat Colds

    Cold-related symptoms in cats may include lethargy, sneezing, wheezing, discharge from the nose or eyes, and occasionally fever. These symptoms will resolve spontaneously within seven to ten days for most felines.

    However, some cats may develop complications such as pneumonia or a reinfection caused by bacteria. It may induce yellow-green discharge from the nose or eyes, potentially resulting in severe congestion that impairs the cat’s senses of scent and taste. This condition may cause cats to deny food.

    Causes Of Cat Colds

    While the majority of cat colds are benign, some can become severe, particularly if treatment is delayed, according to Elswick. “Acute respiratory distress, bronchopneumonia, and even fatal infections are infrequent occurrences in cats,” she explains. “Although unlikely, it is not impossible for it to occur.”

    What symptoms indicate that your cat may be developing a cold? Elswick advises being vigilant for the following symptoms:

    1. Sneezing

    Sneezing is among the initial indications that a cat is developing a cold. Nevertheless, sneezing does not invariably indicate a cold. An excessive amount of sneezing by your cat may result from allergies, an environmental irritant, dental problems, nasal polyps, or even a foreign object lodged in their nostril, such as a piece of grass.

    2. Runny Nose

    Additionally, nasal discharge is a frequent sign of a cat cold. A clear discharge emanating from the runny nostril of your cat does not warrant concern. However, green or yellow nasal discharge may indicate a bacterial infection in your cat, which is treatable with antibiotics.

    3. Runny Eyes

    Eye discharge in cats suffering from colds can vary in consistency and color, from clear and watery to viscous and colored. “Eyes are susceptible to severe infection and ulceration,” Elswick cautions. Your cat may be experiencing eye pain if it is squinting or closing its eyes; therefore, you should schedule an appointment with a veterinarian to examine the animal.

    4. Fever

    Fever manifestations in cats afflicted with colds are not universal. However, a fever (greater than 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit) indicates that the cold your cat is experiencing has become more severe; you should seek veterinary attention immediately. Utilize a flexible pediatric rectal thermometer or a digital thermometer inserted into your cat’s ear to determine its body temperature. However, if your cat appears distressed or in pain during the temperature reading, you should consult the experts at a nearby veterinary clinic.

    5. Lethargy

    Specific less apparent indications that a cat has a cold may require a certain degree of detective work to detect. “Cats prefer to conceal their ailments,” explains Elswick. “Consequently, it could appear as though your cat is depressed or is hiding more frequently than usual.” These could be indications that your cat’s lethargy is due to an illness. Therefore, if your cat ceases to participate in its customary daily activities and exhibits extreme fatigue, consider alternative indicators that may suggest a cold.

    6. Lack Of Appetite

    Feeling ill can cause cats to abstain from food and water consumption. “Cats are particular about the aroma of their food,” explains Elswick. “If they have a stuffy nose and cannot smell their food, they will often refuse to drink or eat, which can lead to dehydration.”

    Immediately seek veterinary care if you observe an increase in any of the symptoms above or if your cat is not consuming as much food or water as usual, gasping, panting, or experiencing difficulty breathing.

    How Vets Diagnose Cat Colds?

    Your cat’s veterinarian will comprehensively examine if it exhibits signs of a viral infection. You must provide your veterinarian with a comprehensive medical history of your cat, encompassing the timing and characteristics of the symptoms.

    To identify potential complications of a common cold, your cat’s veterinarian may advise routine diagnostic tests based on the examination results. The diagnostic procedures may comprise a complete blood count (CBC) to assess the counts of white and red blood cells as well as platelets, a serum biochemistry analysis to evaluate the functionality of the internal organs, and chest X-rays to identify the presence of pneumonia or other pathological conditions like asthma or fungal infection.

    Your cat’s veterinarian may advise you to have an upper respiratory PCR panel performed to identify the specific virus or bacterium responsible for her symptoms. Swabs capture secretions from the nose and eyes, which are then analyzed in a laboratory for the presence of pathogens responsible for respiratory disease.

    What To Do When A Cat Has A Cold?

    Generally, the most effective treatment for moderate colds is to provide your cat with maximum comfort and allow the illness to resolve naturally, a process that may require up to two weeks.

    To alleviate the symptoms of a common cold in cats, Elswick proposes several established do-it-yourself remedies. “Run hot water in the shower to create a steamy environment in the bathroom, and then simply let your cat relax there for a while,” advises Elswick. “The increased humidity will be beneficial for your nasal passages.”

    Elswick recommends that cats with excessive discharge from the nose or eyes use cotton balls immersed in warm water to cleanse the area several times daily, particularly before applying eye drops.

    Consult your veterinarian if the symptoms of your cat’s cold worsen and ensure that the correct treatment is determined. However, it should reassure you if your veterinarian does not recommend any medication. Even for more severe feline colds, most drugs will not accelerate the resolution of the infection, mainly if it is viral.

    Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotic eye drops and oral antibiotics in certain circumstances to treat and prevent secondary bacterial infections that may develop during a cold. In addition, your veterinarian may advise subcutaneous fluids (fluids administered under the skin) to prevent dehydration if your cat is not imbibing enough.

    Cats who experience recurrent, severe colds may benefit from testing to identify the specific virus or bacterium responsible for the infection. Your veterinarian will then be able to devise a more targeted course of treatment, which may consist of antiviral medications.

    Cat Cold Prevention

    “Humans lack a vaccine against the common cold.” “Fortunately, a vaccine exists for felines,” Elswick explains. “It is the most effective method for preventing upper respiratory infections in felines.”

    Although no vaccine can achieve absolute efficacy, vaccinations mitigate the occurrence and intensity of infections, even in cases where felines harbor dormant strains of the virus responsible for colds. Elswick observes, “Your cat may still catch a kitty cold, but it won’t be nearly as severe as it would be without vaccination.”

    Additionally, you can prevent colds in your cat by ensuring that it is exclusively indoors and by maintaining regular veterinary exams. Although these precautions cannot completely prevent your cat from acquiring a cold, they can substantially mitigate the potential hazards.

    Providing a warm, tranquil environment, ensuring adequate hydration, and offering nutritious food to a cat with a cold all contribute to its recovery. You may require veterinary care if symptoms endure. By adhering to a clean environment, administering prescribed medications, and providing compassionate care, one can effectively mitigate discomfort and bolster the immune system of the feline companion.

    Thank you for reading…..

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