Why is My Cat Sneezing in Amesbury, MA All The Time?
Sneezing is a normal function of the body to clear waste out of the nasal cavity. Everyone sneezes, including cats. While most sneezing is normal and not a cause for concern, excessive sneezing may indicate an underlying condition or disease that needs to be addressed.
Cat sneezing can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. First, you need to make sure it is an actual sneeze and not a cough, gagging reflex, hiccup or wheeze. Your veterinarian can confirm if its actually a real sneeze.
There also might be another underlying cause for a cat to sneeze which includes an infection, inflammation, dental disease, cancer or the inhalation of a foreign material into the nasal cavity. Sometimes, more than one of these things is going on at the same time causing the cat to sneeze often.
There are several main reasons why a cat would sneeze. They are as follows:
Viral Respiratory Infections
In sneezing cats this infection is usually the cause. It is estimated that 80-90% of cats have this infection. It is also known as a herpes virus.
This virus includes an upper-respiratory infection which includes discharge from the eyes and the nose. There is no known cure but there are some existing antibiotics that will help with the symptoms. Another viral infection, calicivirus, is usually addressed with vaccines given throughout the cat’s life.
Bacterial and Related Infections
These infections usually play a role in the cat having a secondary upper respiratory infection. Bacterial infections usually come with a yellow or green discharge coming from your cat’s nose and eyes. These infections are combined with an upper-respiratory infection that does damage to the tissues inside the nasal cavity that it touches.
Bordetella, Mycoplasma, and Chlamydia are usually the culprits wreaking havoc as a bacterial infection. These germs can be treated with antibiotics for a period of time to help clear up the infection and the symptoms of the disease.
Your cat will be sneezing and having a difficult time breathing during these bacterial infections so it paramount you see a veterinarian.
Inflammation and Irritation
Inflammation itself can cause kitty to sneeze a lot. It creates its own feedback loop to sneeze over and over trying to clear the inflammation and irritant. This is called chronic rhinitis.
There is not a good known source to diagnosis this correctly other than the cat sneezing over and over but your veterinarian will know that this is going on and can treat the cat accordingly.
Inhalation of a foreign material such as a blade of grass, a foxtail or other foreign matter can irritate the nasal passages and cause sneezing. Small matter, such as dust can be expelled by the cat but larger objects might need some intervention that the cat cannot provide.
There is a process called rhinoscopy in which a veterinarian will insert a scope into the nasal cavity of the cat and remove whatever foreign matter that might be in there.
One would not think that dental problems can cause cat sneezing but it can. As with many species, cats have the roots of their teeth of their upper jaw next to the nasal passages. When teeth become infected or there is inflammation present, the barrier between the tooth and the nose can be penetrated which would cause the cat to sneeze.
Usually when the cat eats, food material would then enter the nose, causing the cat to sneeze. Dental problems are common with cats and can be quite painful if not treated properly. The veterinarian would either have to clean the teeth or remove a tooth that is infected to solve the problem.
Cats have a good way of hiding pain and sometimes it take a detective to figure out there is a problem in the mouth of the cat. Sneezing over and over is one indication that this might be a problem and the teeth and potential dental disease might just be the root of the evil.
In older cats, tumors can grow in the nasal cavity, creating an irritation and inflammation that would cause the cat to sneeze. These tumors are usually detected by a veterinarian performing a rhinoscopy or a nasal biopsy. They would need to be removed professionally for a cat to get better.
Not as common as a viral or bacterial infection but fungal infections can also cause a cat to sneeze. Usually the culprit is a fungus called Cryptococcus.
Not usually diagnosed with a physical exam, yet again, a rhinoplasty or biopsy would be needed to correctly diagnosed. Once diagnosed, the veterinarian can treat properly with anti-fungal medications.
Talk with Your Veterinarian
Overall, there are many reasons for a cat to sneeze. More often than not it is related by one of the above mentioned diseases, however, it could just be pollen, allergies, dust, mold, pollen, any number of non-harmful things that a cat can be exposed to on a daily basis.
Most common is a viral infection which includes inflammation and irritants. Other causes can include a more serious bacterial infection that can cause damage to the inside of the nose and its surrounding structures.
If your cat keeps sneezing, getting the proper diagnosis of why is the most important. Since many conditions are uncomfortable and can be serious, it is best to seek out the help of your veterinarian for the proper diagnosis.
It can be anything from harmless allergies or it can be something more serious such as a disease, mouth infection, or any of the above mentioned factors that can cause your cat to sneeze. To book an appointment with your Merrimac Valley Animal Hospital veterinarian use the online form or call (978) 388-3074 today!
Merrimac Valley Animal Hospital had humble beginnings in 1968. Dr. Walter Brown opened the animal hospital in a garage next to his home near the current hospital and operated out of this small space until the current building was built in 1969.