Asthma is a hypersensitivity to
environmental allergens. This acute respiratory disease in cats
resembles bronchial asthma in humans. Feline asthma affects approximately 1
percent of all cats. Siamese may have a slightly increased risk. Some of these
cats present as an acute emergency with severe respiratory distress; others
have a chronic history of coughing and wheezing. Cats with a chronic
cough may need to be distinguished from cats with a hairball problem. In some cats,
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.
The feline viral respiratory disease complex is the most common cause of
nasal infection. Eighty to 90 percent of cats who recover from an infection
become carriers of herpesvirus or calicivirus. During periods of stress,
immunity breaks down and the disease is reactivated. Calicivirus may be shed
almost continuously, without clinical signs, which means the cat can infect
other cats. In some cases, the nasal infection is mild; in others there is a
chronic, mucopurulent discharge from the eyes and nose. Chlamydia (also called
Chlamydophila) infections rank second to viruses for causing feline nasal