Hi. waves, takes cautious step into the cyberspace of the newsgroup

I'm writing because I was wondering if people could share their experiences with their cats having gone through upper respiratory infections, hopefully with an emphasis on positive experiences.

I adopted a little gray domestic shorthair tabby named Charlie from our local anti-cruelty shelter on Nov. 10. He started sneezing the day I brought him home, got very snotted up within a day or two, and stopped eating shortly thereafter, even despite me bringing him into the steamy bathroom to get the phlegm loosened, and nuking some wet food to make the smell really strong.
I unfortunately had to bring him back to the shelter so they could watch over him and forcefeed him for a bit, and give him some meds and other stuff.
We had thought he was out of the woods, but then, after he had been at the shelter a week, he then developed some swelling of his joints, which appears to be a semi-rare symptom of this upper respiratory infection.

The vet informs me that the upper respiratory symptoms have pretty much disappeared by now, and that the joint swelling has gone down considerably: his left paw is still a little swollen and tender, but his right one's fine. I hope to bring him home sometime very soon.

I'm wondering: what were your cat's experiences with upper respiratory infections? Anyone get the joint swelling, too? Did your cat come out the other end okay?
I'm also wondering about recurrences. I've heard that stressors can cause the upper respiratory infection to return. The stressors I can anticipate in Charlie's future are, for example, travel to my parents' home next holiday (a 5-hour trip over subway, train and car, but he'll be next to me in his carrier), or, say, his vaccinations. Or let's say he needs an operation sometime in his future. If your cat had an upper respiratory infection, did the URI ever come back, and if so, under what circumstances? Was it a severe, longlasting outbreak, or was it just a momentary bout of sniffles again?
I'm curious both for Charlie's future health and also for a financial standpoint ... had the anti-cruelty shelter not been handling this free (since it happened so closely after his adoption), his hospitalization might have run well over a thousand dollars by now, for all I know ... I'm just wondering if future hospitalizations might be in the works, or if I'm just overreacting like any new cat owner might. Just trying to make sure I have a good sense of future responsibilities.

Thanks in advance for your input and shared stories.

Mike
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I do rescue work and deal with URI on a fairly regular basis and can only recall a couple cases that were as severe as you describe and they were with little kittens rescued from the street.
One of my own had a URI and the joint pain. My vet gave me pills to help with the pain. That was about a year ago when he was a little kitten and he is fine now.
The normal treatment is an antibiotic for the infection and possibly interferon to help thier immune system. The vet can also give you an appetite enhancer. Cats won't eat if they can't smell the food so you can try the real smelly canned food also.
It was great of the group to help you out. We do the same if the animal gets sick right away. Colds/URI have an incubation time so the cat got it when he was at the shelter. Unfortunately colds/URI are airborn and can run through a shelter just like a cold goes through a pre-school.

If you have the time why don't you volunteer at the shelter. It will give you a great feeling AND you will learn a lot that can help you take care of your cat without running to the vet for everything. My group has a vet tech in it and provides medications to group members for cost for their own animals.

Joe
http://www.jwpitt.com/cats.htm
Cat Rescue http://www.animalrescuefoundation.com
God created the cat so man could have the pleasure of petting the tiger
I'm wondering: what were your cat's experiences with upper respiratory infections? Anyone get the joint swelling, too? Did your cat come out the other end okay?

I had one cat that had a bout with feline rhinitis. Whitey (short for Whitey Ford) was a very sick cat for a week. He got oral antibiotics and we forced fluids and nutrition using the type of plastic eyedropper used to give babies medicine. Because the cat can't smell its food and feels pretty miserable they won't take enough fluids on their own. You have to be diligent about getting fluids into it.
One of my own had a URI and the joint pain. My vet gave me pills to help with the pain. That was about a year ago when he was a little kitten and he is fine now.

Thanks. I'm glad to hear that. I've heard that because URIs are based on the feline herpes virus and the feline calcivirus, which I guess don't leave the body (is that correct?), that the symptoms can "recur" in times of physical or emotional stress for the cat, such as travel, vaccines, etc. Has that happened for your kit?
The normal treatment is an antibiotic for the infection and possibly interferon to help thier immune system. The vet can also give you an appetite enhancer. Cats won't eat if they can't smell the food so you can try the real smelly canned food also.

The upper respiratory infection symptoms have pretty much disappeared, and thankfully, he's been eating for a while; we're just waiting for the joint swelling to go down before he comes back home.
If you have the time why don't you volunteer at the shelter.

It's certainly a thought. I will give it some serious consideration.

Mike
I had one cat that had a bout with feline rhinitis. Whitey (short for Whitey Ford) was a very sick ... pretty miserable they won't take enough fluids on their own. You have to be diligent about getting fluids into it.

Thanks. Fortunately, he began chowing down on his own already ... it's just the swelling that's currently of concern.
Mike
Hi Mike,A year ago I got two kittens from a shelter, brother and sister from the same litter. One looked healthy and the other looked pretty sickly. The "sickly" one had an Upper Respiratory Infection - the poor little thing was so sick he hardly moved at his first vet visit. He had a fever and was put on antibiotics immediately. He never had any joint swelling, but I noticed he would keep getting these recurrent eye problems (where one eye was constantly half closed or squinting).

It turns out he was exposed to the Feline Herpes Virus (which many, many cats are) which is NOT transferrable to humans and does not affect the lifespan of a cat if treated. Occasionally when he gets stressed (rides in the car, etc.) his symptoms will flare up, which almost always affect his eyes. Then he gets secondary infections in the eye and must have an eye ointment administered.

When I first got the diagnosis I pictured a lifetime of misery for this poor kitten (and for me!). But as I said in another post, he is now almost 14 pounds and very healthy aside from this chronic condition. I'm not sure if your cat has the Feline Herpes - it's something you should ask your vet. My vet diagnosed it based on symptoms. For me it has been totally manageable.

I have 4 cats and obviously all of them have been exposed. Only the one cat ever shows symptoms. I had a 5th, older cat last year who was in the final stages of kidney disease, whose immune system was so compromised she picked up the Feline Herpes and had eye problems. Most normal cats can "fight off" the disease and don't become symptomatic. This is just my experience of what has happened. My cat has never had the Upper Respiratory Infection in the way he had it at the beginning - it has only ever been minor eye irritations. It is not uncommon for cats in shelters to have these kind of infections - if I were you I'd get him home asap!
Meghan
No, it hasn't. However my Minoo has an eye the tears when under stress like being put in a carrier in the car. So if she goes to the vet she has a teary eye.
Also, the sneezing can continue for a week or two after the rest of the symptoms are gone.

Joe
http://www.jwpitt.com/cats.htm
Cat Rescue http://www.animalrescuefoundation.com
God created the cat so man could have the pleasure of petting the tiger
Hi. waves, takes cautious step into the cyberspace of thenewsgroup

Hi!
I'm writing because I was wondering if people could share their experiences with their cats having gone through upper respiratory ... bringing him into thesteamy bathroom to get the phlegm loosened, and nuking some wet food tomake the smell really strong.

The only thing I have to offer is that my shelter sent Cheeks home with a packet of powdered L-Lysine, an amino acid you can get in health food stores, and told me to mix half a teaspoon in her food until it was gone. (About a week's supply, I think I recall.) The staff person said that many strays have rhinovirus, which can stay in remission but emerges in times of stress. The lysine helps keep it in check.
Hi. waves, takes cautious step into the cyberspace of the newsgroup

Hi!
I'm writing because I was wondering if people could share their experiences with their cats having gone through upper respiratory infections, hopefully with an emphasis on positive experiences.

My Rowan got rather badly ill twice. The first time I almost lost her. The second, I cought it quick and she recovered quickly. It's been about a year now and she's doing great.
I'm wondering: what were your cat's experiences with upper respiratory infections? Anyone get the joint swelling, too? Did your cat come out the other end okay?

No swelling. We aren't sure what strain she had and the vet even thought it was FIP for awhile. Rowan recovered though, so the vet knows thinks it wasn't FIP, since cats don't recover from that. Best guess is rhinotracheitis (herpes).
I'm also wondering about recurrences. I've heard that stressors can cause the upper respiratory infection to return.

Yes, they can.
I had three cats, all of whom had to have been exposed to the virus, since they all lived together. Two recovered on their own in days. Rowan stayed sick and got sicker. Antibiotics, fluids, supplements, and me nursing her for two weeks finally kicked it. It came back 6 months later, just before last Christmas. We got that licked pretty quick that time, but she still needed some antibiotics and appetite stimulant. She's been fine since. knock on wood
She does still tend to get dehydrated and I have to keep an eye on that. So far she's done way better than the vet thought she would.

So, IME, some cats never get sick again and do great and some cats have it recurrent on and off for the rest of their lives. If you catch it fast, you won't have to have a hospital stay. We didn't. I nursed her and did fluids and stuff at home. She hates the vet anyway, so it's more stressful for her to be there than at home.

~kaeli~
Every calendar's days are numbered.
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