Byline: ASK THE VET Rory Thomson
Q: My 15-year-old male cat, Felix, sneezes every day. I've taken him to the vets but they can't tell me why he does it. Can you suggest why my cat sneezes so much? He eats well and is otherwise healthy but I am worried that he might be suffering.
DOREEN TINKLER, Heaton A: Sneezing is a reflex triggered by an irritation to the nasal passages.
If Felix is sneezing frequently, he has some form of irritation to his nasal passages.
This irritation may be something simple and easy to control, such as an aerosol spray or plug-in diffuser being used in the household.
Simply removing your cat from the room containing the irritant may be curative.
It may be a foreign body up the nose such as a small piece of grass; again removal may be curative.
There are also flu viruses that can cause nasal irritation and chronic sneezing. Swabs can be taken to look for these.
Given the age of Felix, another space-occupying lesion such as a tumour would be a potential concern.
Exploring the nasal passages of a cat to get a diagnosis can be quite tricky in general practice as cats' noses are so small.
Referral for advanced imaging techniques such as CT scanning or rhinoscopy may be necessary to work out what the problem is.
Some cats have upper airway disease, resulting in inflammation of the nasal passages, which will also cause irritation and sneezing.
A biopsy may be required to determine the exact cause.
Once a cause for the sneeze has been established, the prognosis and any treatment or management protocols can be discussed.
It will be much easier to determine if Felix might be suffering and what can be done to prevent this if the possible causes are investigated with your vet.
|Please note that advice in Ask The Vet is for general guidance, and if your pet is very unwell you should contact your veterinary surgeon as soon as possible as this advice does not replace the need for a clinical examination of your pet.
Rory Thomson is part of the team at St Clair Veterinary Care in Croft Road, Blyth. If you have a question, fill out the online form at chroniclelive.co.uk/ askthevet