Rabies is a viral disease that affects the brain and spinal cord of all mammals, including cats, dogs and humans. This preventable disease has been reported in every state except Hawaii, and annually causes the deaths of more than 50,000 humans and millions of animals worldwide. There’s good reason that the very word “rabies” evokes fear in people-once symptoms appear, rabies is close to 100-percent fatal.
A discharge from both nostrils, often accompanied by fever, loss of
discharge, drooling, coughing,
or sores in the mouth suggests a feline viral respiratory disease. When both
nostrils are blocked by swollen membranes, the cat sniffles, breathes noisily,
and may breathe through his mouth. Because cats avoid mouth breathing whenever
possible, you may see this sign only when the cat exercises. Any cat who is
breathing through the mouth should be examined by a veterinarian.
Foreign bodies usually cause a discharge from just one nostril. This
discharge can range from bloody to purulent. Allergic rhinitis usually affects
both nostrils and the discharge is often serous.
Tumors, fungal infections,
and chronic bacterial infections erode the nasal membranes producing a
blood-tinged or bloody discharge. One or both nostrils may be involved.
Cryptococcus is the most common fungal infection in
the nose of cats. When there is blood in the discharge, the cat needs to see a
Bacterial infections become established when the lining of the nose has been
injured by a foreign body or nasal trauma or by a prior viral respiratory
disease. Nasal infections can cause sneezing, nasal discharge, noisy breathing,
and mouth breathing. When nasal congestion interferes with the ability to
smell, the cat loses his appetite and stops eating.
On occasion, infection spreads to the nasal cavity from the frontal sinus.
This is often associated with an infected tooth root. Nasal infections can also
be secondary to tumors in the nasal cavity. The chief sign of bacterial
involvement is a nasal discharge that is mucoid, creamy yellow, or puslike. A
bloody discharge indicates deep involvement with ulceration of the nasal
membrane. The cat may also have a fever and may not be eating well.