How quickly would I notice signs of Aspiration Pneumonia?
I'm not sure if this matter requires urgent attention, but I'm extremely worried.
I have been giving my cat, General, Metronidazole in liquid form since Tuesday. Anyway, yesterday, I'm quite sure General inhaled some of the medicine when he was struggling. He coughed a few times and gagged a little. Worried about this, I went online and found out that cats can be very susceptible to aspiration pneumonia and that improper administration of liquid medication is one of the most common cause of this. I have always given liquid medication to my cats by opening their mouths and by squirting the medicine toward the back to of throat. No one ever mentioned that I shouldn't be doing it this way. Even when the vet and I discussed General's medication this time around, I said "So I pop his mouth open, syringe to the back of the throat and squirt?" the vet told me yes.
I called my vet and the receptionist reassured me that this happens to everyone, even they who have been administering medications for ages. She said the amount potentially inhaled would be so small as to not be an issue and that it's just like us when we drink something that accidentally goes "down the wrong pipe."
Later in the day, General sneezed several times and I noticed he had watery eyes. Again, I called the vet and the receptionist told me that I had nothing to worry about unless General was showing signs of greenish mucus from the nose or laboured breathing.
I just didn't feel comfortable about this because these things seemed to coincide with General seeming to have inhaled some of his medicine. I also notice that General's demeanor seems different overall. He's just not his usual self. Not quite as social. And though he still purrs and will come up on my lap, he slaps his tail a fair bit more than he ever does and seems less interested in and even bothered by much petting, and often jumps down and goes off to sit by himself and spends more time this way -- sitting off by himself or sleeping.
I don't want the vet to feel like I'm hounding them, but the truth is that I'm terrified that by my administering the medication incorrectly, General may be at risk of developing a potentially life-threatening illness from what I can gather from the Merck Veterinary Manual and other online literature.