Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections for almost a year

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CaramelMichelle
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Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections for almost a year

Post by CaramelMichelle » Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:47 am

Hi all!

I did some browsing and reading through the forum but ultimately am still just so confused about what could be going on with my 14 year old girl.

For a year now she has had a chronic upper respiratory infection. Antibiotics clear it up every time, but about 2-3 weeks post antibiotics she gets sick again. She's been given doxycycline, clavamox, and orbax. She also got a convenia injection and liquid prednisone.

She has now seen 4 different vets, and none can find anything wrong. FeLV and FIV negative, normal panels, no herpes or calicivirus. Her most recent bloodwork showed that she might be veering towards diabetic but that she is otherwise normal.

I got referred to a specialist after the first 3 vets couldn't figure it out. The specialist examined her and said she looks great! He said ultimately he would need to do a CT scan and rhinoscopy to figure anything out, and this would cost $4,000. I don't have $4,000.

I'm even moving next week to a brand new apartment in case it's this environment making her sick. 1 vet said that it could be the apartment, another vet said it would not be likely. So I don't know... her symptoms began about 40 days after we moved to this apartment, which is rather old and may have mold or bacterias affecting her.

Her symptoms are thick yellow mucus in her nose, sneezing, reverse sneezing. No runny eyes, no vomiting or diarrhea. She is eating normally and is generally a very lively cat considering that she is 14. She still plays with her toys and runs and jumps around like a wild cat regularly.

I got a lysine gel and gave it to her for a couple weeks and it didn't seem to do anything. I read that lysine needs long term use to show results, but then I've also read that lysine could be useless. Also read that if anything, I should use a powder. I also read about bisolvon powder but from what I can tell that isn't available in the united states.

I don't know what to do for her. The vets have all pretty much thrown their hands up in the air and said "she's old". This isn't acceptable to me.

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Re: Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections for almost a year

Post by Mollycat » Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:10 am

My Ragdoll started sneezing coughing and runny eyes as soon as I got him at age 8. Before that he lived outdoors in a secure run, he had never lived in a house with heating, carpet, dust etc. Vets kept telling me his upper and lower respiratory tract were clear and offered x-rays if I wanted but didn't seem very hopeful of this being much use. Any time we had antibiotics for anything else it would clear up for a while.

After about 5 years I mentioned this to a different vet who said straight away it's likely to be a chronic viral probably herpes infection that comes to the surface any time he is a little run down or has a little bacterial infection on top. It could be something but it actually could be nothing at all.

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Re: Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections for almost a year

Post by Ruth B » Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:57 am

My golden oldie has a semi permanent respiratory issue as well. It started about 2 years ago and seemed to effect ears and nose primarily. She saw the vets and had a nasal swap taken to identify the infection, she was also started on antibiotics while the results came back (the vet thought she knew what the cause likely was). The results came back as Mycoplasma Infection, which is what the vet had thought it was. The course of antibiotics for it was 30 days, and wasn't a particularly nice antibiotic to administer as if it got caught in the throat and not swallowed properly it could cause problems (Doxycycline I think it was) We managed to get most down her, but the last 10 days were a real struggle and I knew she might have missed some of it. It did however work, for a few weeks then the infection came back. This time we asked if there was a long lasting injection she could have instead of tablets. That also worked for a few of weeks, then the infection came back, another antibiotic injection, and again a few weeks of relief, but it was obvious that each course of antibiotics was doing less and less good. The vet also admitted that there could be other problems going on and the only way to detect those was to put her under anesthetic and do a scan. We decided that we weren't going down that route, Tiggy was 16 or 17 at the time, any anesthetic had risks, and even if they could find out what was wrong, there was no guarantee they could do anything about it, it would all have been a lot of stress to her possibly for nothing. We opted to move on to palliative care. and concentrate on relieving the symptoms. We thought that she might manage a few more months and then we would call it a day knowing she had had a good life. That as I said, was 2 years ago. She has been on Bisolven powder almost daily since then, with just the occasional month or two off it now and then when the symptoms subside, the Bisolven helps break down the mucus so it comes out easier, which does mean her face does need a little extra cleaning and she can be a bit sneezy at times, but at least it means she can breathe, there were times at the start when her breathing sound rather like she was doing a Darth Vader impression.

TLDR: I guess what I was trying to say through all that is that a cat can live quite a good happy life with an ongoing respiratory problem with the right care to relieve the symptoms.

Have any swaps been taken from your cat to try and identify the cause of the infection. Is any of the medication aimed at reducing an allergy in case that is the case not an actual infection. You mention you moved into a new apartment just before this all started, did it have any old carpets or furnishings in it that could have been the cause, did you change anything else about that time, washing powder, cleaning products etc,or anything new that you didn't have previously, like plants that might have set an allergy off.

I do hope the new apartment solves the problem, but if not it might be worth asking about medication like Bisolven to break down the mucus or antihistamines to try and alleviate any allergy she might have.

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Re: Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections for almost a year

Post by Kay » Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:18 pm

my late Tosker showed all the symptoms described by the OP - after a couple of ab treatments which provided only temporary relief, the vet advised to keep them for any time the bacterial side of it got really severe

an xray showed his sinuses weren't draining properly, possibly due to a head trauma before he came to me, when he was living as a stray, and weren't fixable - a head full of congestion doesn't help when it comes to clear xrays, of course

Bisolven did thin out the mucus a bit, and I got used to changing and washing his bedding every day - he was very fond of sleeping in a Mr Snugs kennel which was helpful, as it meant he wasn't spreading his snot everywhere

he died aged 11 under general anaesthetic to sort out severe tooth problems - whether because the congestion affected his breathing or because of some underlying problem wasn't determined

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Re: Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections for almost a year

Post by Sniper1 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:04 pm

It's actually quite a common problem in some feral colonies we have dealt with and if it's a long term issue we find it best just to monitor the feeding and only use antibiotics if an effected cat stops eating then a course usually gets them back on track over use of antibiotics are not a good idea and rarely solve the problem permanently, neither does every test available often provide a cause and solution. I personally have always had a suspicion it may have some connection to feline coronavirus which as a virus will remain in the cats system once its been exposed to it ( not connected to human coronavirus by the way)

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Re: Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections for almost a year

Post by CaramelMichelle » Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:20 am

Thanks everyone

From what I can tell, bisolvon isn't available in the US. I messaged my vet to ask about mucus treatment and am waiting to hear back.

She has been prescribed antibiotics about 7 or 8 times in the past year, with no other solutions offered.

She had a swab done that came back with mycoplasma felis. Every vet says that the doxycycline should've taken care of that and that they don't know what's wrong if that isn't helping.

I've tried using steam to loosen up her snot but it did nothing.

I've had her for 11 years now and she's the only pet I've got. She never had health problems at all before this.

I've told every vet she's seen that I wondered if it could be her teeth causing this, like an absess or something, and I've been brushed off by each of them. I'm running out of vets to visit... the last one I saw was a 90 minute drive away.

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Re: Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections for almost a year

Post by sugarbaby » Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:19 am

I have a 12 year old beautiful indoor cat who only goes out to my small garden if I am out with her. She has developed a sneeze with mucus coming down her nose this March. After antibiotics she was fine for a couple of weeks. Then the big problem started. She developed a middle ear infection which was treated successfully. She became constipated and she is still very 'nasal' and lethargic. She will not drink water but now is only on wett food + a little more water added by me. She has responded well to Psyllium husk scattered in her food and 1ml of Lactolos 1X a day. I was still worried about her nasal problems and my Vet did prescribe Bisolvon powder. It seems to be the magic treatment as she has less mucus troubling her. My question is: As the Vet hasn't found any underlying problems, can she be on this Bisolvon powder for the rest of her life? There must be a reason for her body to make all that mucus....Can anybody help with this problem please.

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Re: Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections for almost a year

Post by Kay » Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:50 am

I found this Q and A which might be helpful

Hi Bisolvon has been very helpful in treating my Persian cat who suffers regularly from blocked nose and sinuses which makes breathing very hard work for her. When asked our vet advised it was possible to keep her on Bisolvon on an ongoing daily basis, which I have done and occasionally I have increased the dose when a bad attack was threatening. She's been on this medication for about 5 months. However the cat also now gets coughing/wheezing attacks most days as if she is trying to clear liquid from throat or lungs. It's just occurred to me that these coughing fits have only started in recent months - so could it be a side effect from the mucolytic? Affecting the viscosity in her chest/throat adversely? My plan is to stop the Bisolvon for a while (unless she gets a bad nasal attack) to see if wheezing attacks improve. It's as if she is trying to bring up a fur ball - and movement will trigger it (eg picking her up). And if I put her back on Bisolvon I will stick to recommended dose. I would welcome your thoughts?
Clemmie is not helped by her poor Persian face design so if her nose gets blocked she really struggles to breathe. She is 16 and otherwise healthy.

Dr. Sophie Meers BVSc MRCVS
VioVet Staff
Bisolvon will make the mucus less sticky and easier to cough up. The coughing attacks your cat is having are likely to be helping clear her airways. I would not stop the Bisolvon if your vet has recommended she stays on it. Coughing in my opinion is preferable to struggling to breathe though you should discuss this with your vet if you do decide to stop treatment.


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Re: Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections for almost a year

Post by sugarbaby » Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:37 am

I have a 12 year old beautiful indoor cat who only goes out to my small garden if I am out with her. She has developed a sneeze with mucus coming down her nose this March. After antibiotics she was fine for a couple of weeks. Then the big problem started. She developed a middle ear infection which was treated successfully. She became constipated and she is still very 'nasal' and lethargic. She will not drink water but now is only on wett food + a little more water added by me. She has responded well to Psyllium husk scattered in her food and 1ml of Lactolos 1X a day. I was still worried about her nasal problems and my Vet did prescribe Bisolvon powder. It seems to be the magic treatment as she has less mucus troubling her. My question is: As the Vet hasn't found any underlying problems, can she be on this Bisolvon powder for the rest of her life? There must be a reason for her body to make all that mucus....Can anybody help with this problem please.

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