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Old September 14th, 2008, 04:59 PM
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simmshe simmshe is offline
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Cat cough continues after vet visit

My 10-yr old, indoor Siamese cat has started coughing. At first, I thought it was a dry heave but her posture is different than when she vomits. When she vomits or reguritates her food, she's typically sitting upright. With this cough, she laying flat against the floor. She started doing this every night, once or twice, for 2 weeks.

I took her to a local vet clinic (her first visit there because we are fairly new to the area). When she was younger she hurt her back and the vet was not gentle with her. Since then, she's been very difficult to examine. This vet took one look at her and said bring her back tomorrow and we'll sedate her.

They did blood work (all normal except a slightly high glucose level) and xrays which they said were clear. Said they ruled out asthma or other obvious lung pathology. Normal heart rate and rhythm, no murmurs. She does have moderate gingivitis and they thought perhaps she had a bacterial infection caused by swallowing what comes off her teeth. So we went home with a 2 week supply of Zeniquin. It took her a full day to recover from the sedation. They used Ketamine on her which I don't like. We have only 5 days left for the medication. She is still coughing, only 2 days that she has not coughed. If that doesn't work, they want to sedate her again and clean her teeth. If she didn't have the bacterial infection they suspected, why would cleaning her teeth work? Or do they just want more money?

Her behavior is normal in all other ways. No problems eating or drinking. Playful, affectionate, still has the energy and interest to fight with her cat sister. I'm worried that we'll finish the pills, the cough will persist and I have no idea what to let the clinic do or not do. Any advice on next steps would be appreciated.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 07:00 PM
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My cats do the same thing. Sometimes cats cough like people cough. If everything was clear there is not much to worry on. I added more Salmon Oil and something called L-Lysine to my cats wet food. I also switched to a different food just to make sure they weren't tired of the old food. Right now I feed them Taste of the Wild brand cat food. It's a very weird food but it's very affordable right now.

Try feeding more moist wet food. Right now the air conditioner is on in my house and sucks the moisture out of the air. So I believe that's why my cats were all coughing. Now I try to give them more moisture with more wet food and also CatSip brand cat milk. Sometimes they still cough a little here and there, but then again myself and my mother cough as well. And I understand what you mean about how they sort of lay down to do it. My cats were doing it as well.

I opted not to take anyone to the vets though. I picked up some Clavamox to give to my 2 foster kittens just as a precaution since they had a URI before and wanted to make sure they weren't getting sick again, and therefore getting everyone else sick. Nope, not the case. Everyone's fine otherwise.

Hope that helps ease your mind.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by simmshe View Post
They did blood work (all normal except a slightly high glucose level) and xrays which they said were clear. Said they ruled out asthma or other obvious lung pathology. Normal heart rate and rhythm, no murmurs. She does have moderate gingivitis and they thought perhaps she had a bacterial infection caused by swallowing what comes off her teeth. So we went home with a 2 week supply of Zeniquin. It took her a full day to recover from the sedation. They used Ketamine on her which I don't like. We have only 5 days left for the medication. She is still coughing, only 2 days that she has not coughed. If that doesn't work, they want to sedate her again and clean her teeth. If she didn't have the bacterial infection they suspected, why would cleaning her teeth work? Or do they just want more money?
Hopefully I can help with some explanations.

Slightly high glucose is most likely related to stress. In cats, anxiety can raise blood sugar levels easily. This will persists even during sedation.

Ketamine is a very safe medication in cats. However since you don't like it and in this case it took a full day for recovery, perhaps ask about domitor (Medetomidine) or a domitor/ketamine combination (then you use less of each drug). The great thing about domitor (Dex-Domitor is cat specific) is that it is reversible which gets the drug out of the system. Also Domitor is a great pain medication.

While I do not know the cause of the coughing, the Zeniquin therapeutic trial does NOT rule out the possibility of a bacterial infection or etiology. It does make a bacterial infection which is zeniquin sensitive, unlikely however.

Do you have a internal medicine specialist in the area? Coughing does require inflammation within the respiratory tract. Dental disease can be the cause, however with the zeniquin trial, I agree with you that there may be another cause. Bronchoscopy with a bronchial lavage might be very helpful. This is 'specialist' territory. A consultation may also be helpful for them to give a better understanding whether the dental disease is the most likely cause or whether bronchoscopy and lavage are indicated or other testing (such as feline heartworm testing, lung worm Baermann fecal testing, etc....)

I hope this helps.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 02:19 AM
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Originally Posted by kathryn View Post
My cats do the same thing. Sometimes cats cough like people cough. If everything was clear there is not much to worry on. I added more Salmon Oil and something called L-Lysine to my cats wet food.
Good ideas kathryn

Fish oils are always beneficial. Omega 3 fatty acids have a natural anti-inflammatory effect on almost every system. It is natural, holistic and beneficial on many levels.

L-lysine is great for viral inhibition. Typically with cats, URI viral diseases are less likely to cause coughing. Great thing about lysine is that since it is just an amino acid, it is also all natural and can't hurt to try.

One last thought, asthma can be present even on 'normal' radiographs. If finances are of a concern, a therapeutic trial of inhaler medication such as albuterol and or flovent may also be beneficial.

Good luck.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 10:46 AM
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Thanks for the advice, both of you. It makes me feel better to have more than one option.

I'm not sure if there is an internal medicine specialist where we live. We do have the Atlantic Veterinary College in a neighboring province so that may be a place to look, should we need to.

Shelley
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Old September 18th, 2008, 02:19 PM
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Just wanted to give an update.

We have one day of the Zeniquin left and the cough hasn't stopped. In fact, yesterday was the worst day since she started coughing. I felt so bad for her. We turned the air exchanger on on Monday and that seemed to help her for a little while.

I had a good discussion with the vet today and she does now think the beginnings of allergies/asthma rather than a bacterial infection. So I'm taking Torva in tonight for a steroid injection and we'll see how she does with that. We even discussed the "how" on the phone to avoid having to sedate her again, which makes me much more comfortable. I'm much more hopeful than I was when I first got up this morning.

keep your While allergies and asthma aren't fun, we can certainly live with that as opposed to something more serious.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 02:55 PM
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A little over a week ago, the vet gave Torva a Depomedrol injection. Immediate results. She hasn't coughed since.

This past Friday, she started sneezing. When she stops sneezing, she immediately starts licking her paws and dragging them over her face and ears. But she's not digging at her nose like there's something stuck in it. She also seems tired. Like when I get sick and just don't have the energy to do as much as I normally do. She's still eating and is drinking a lot of water, not sure if that's because we just got one of those cat drinking fountains so now it's more fun or it's a sign of something.

The newest piece, today her left eye has started watering. Just a clear liquid pooling around the bottom and corner of her eye, not running down.

We have another vet appointment tomorrow. I'm sure the stress of visiting the vet doesn't help how she feels at all.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 09:46 PM
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Those all sound like allergy symptoms to me If possible get some samples taken and looked at under a microscope. I don't really know how to describe it, but I had it done for Jack because he has feline herpes virus. He goes to a specialist and the vet takes qtips and swabs under his eyelids and looks at them under the 'scope to see check for things. Maybe you could have some similar things done.

Alot of members on this board have linked allergies to what the animal is eating. What is your kitty eating?

Maybe benedryl could help if it's an allergy thing. I think it is at this point.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 03:33 PM
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They are eating Royal Canin Oral Sensitive. For breakfast, they get Friskie's chicken chunks in gravy. They are both quite picky kitties.

We just changed their cat litter so we're expecting that to be a big help. The old litter was one of those baby powder scented, really dusty types. We've switched to Feline Fresh. It's the only litter I could find that said allergen free, no dust, it's a flushable clumping litter made from all natural products. The vet said it was a good choice for kitties with allergies. We've also changed all of our home cleaning products to all natural, scent free products and have the air exchanger running 24/7. Can't wait for the next energy bill!

As to how Torva is now, the vet suspects she has a virus. Because the steroid injection suppressed her immune system, she thinks that's the most likely. So now I have some Viralys powder to mix in with their soft food twice a day.
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Old October 9th, 2008, 12:15 AM
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Hi

I was wondering if u happen to have bought new carpets and that maybe she is allergic to them? Any new home renovations lately?

Don't know why, but it just popped into my head.

Debbie
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Old October 9th, 2008, 02:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simmshe View Post
They are eating Royal Canin Oral Sensitive. For breakfast, they get Friskie's chicken chunks in gravy. They are both quite picky kitties.
Good job on the catlitter change , please find a new food RC

Let me give you some good food suggestions Wellness, Nature's Variety, Innova, Evo, Evo 95% meats, Eagle Pack Holistic Select, Merrick's, Fromm's Four Star
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Old October 9th, 2008, 05:32 AM
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Nope, no home renos around all of this.

It's been 3 weeks since the steroid injection, so far the cough hasn't returned. She's still sneezing a bit but it's better than it was and her nose and eye are not watering anymore.
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Old October 9th, 2008, 06:23 AM
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Just want to offer you that Torva is on the road to recovery. Just to let you know, that Puddles' eye waters when she is under stress.

Sure would love to see some pics of Torva
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Old October 13th, 2008, 09:14 AM
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I haven't attached a photo here before so I hope this works. Hope it's not too large.

Of course, I can't show Torva without showing our other girl, Bella, too. Bella was someone's pet that they decided would be best to dump outside when she was around 1 year old. They just dumped her at a feral cat colony at a fishing cove on PEI. She lived outside for about 1 year before my sister, who is part of a cat group there, brought her to us. She's been part of our family for 8 years now. Her ears are slightly misshapen from frostbite and she's very timid when new people come to the house, but after she's met you, she's extremely affectionate and has a very silly personality.
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