Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in Cats
Upper Respiratory Tract infection in cats seems to manifest in two different forms. I am no doctor, so I shall make no attempt to differentiate clinically. The two forms that I have noticed I shall simply call normal and lethal. The normal form is discussed in the page about cold, conjunctivitis and corneal opacity. You administer antibiotics like Azithromycin or Cephalexin (also spelt Cefalexin) and your baby gets better. Sometimes, with some cats, the disease can take a chronic but not fatal form. When it does, it is worth considering other factors like parasitic infestation. Fleas can cause symptoms similar to common cold in cats.empathy/cat/cold-eye-infection-and-corneal-opacity-in-cats/
The lethal form comes on suddenly, without warning, and escalates so rapidly that if the drug of choice is not administered in time, you could well have the misfortune of seeing your pet go through unspeakable suffering and a slow death.
Case Study: Whiteball
This story did not have a happy ending
Whiteball and Greyball were left on our patio by someone. They were ill-fated and both died horribly.
One evening Whiteball looks straight at me and mews painfully, trying to tell me something. I notice she has a cold. I give her Azithromycin immediately. By next morning she is breathing through her mouth, and can take no more medicine orally.
We call a doctor and he arrives soon enough and prescribes Taxim (Cefotaxime) injection. As with any antibiotic injection, Taxim is extremely painful unless administered intravenously. Whiteball loses bladdar control in agony as she is injected. Her condition does not improve at all. The doctor explains that this is a viral attack and that he has given all the medicine that is required to control secondary infections. Now all we can do is wait.
The next day I ask him whether Augmentin (Amoxicillin-Potassium Clavulanate combination) might not get us better results. He explains that Taxim, Augmentine, and Monocef (Ceftriaxone Sodium / Cephalosporins), are all the same. I have my doubts, because Dr. Subir Bhattacharya had prescribed Augmentin for Chew when he faced certain death with his trachea swelling up inwards, blocking the air passage very fast. Still, I choose not to interfere with this doctor’s way of treating his patient. Effectively, my choice costs Whiteball her life.
The next morning,he prescribes Monocef. Whiteball tries with all her might to stop us from torturing her and cries piteously as we mercilessly inject her with the new drug. When we ask if there is anything else that might be done to ease the patient’s condition the good doctor says that giving oxygen to the patient might help her. We wonder why he hadn’t mentioned this earlier.The day passes with her condition worsening. The oxygen seems to help, however.
The morning after, having stretched her fragile lungs to the limit through the three agonizing days and nights, our little baby is finally at peace with the makeshift oxygen mask still on her mouth.
After this incident we begin searching for a place where some kind of humane treatment for animals would be available. And we find Moitri.
A Few Important Points Regarding Upper Respiratory Tract Infection:
Cats with cold will breathe through the mouth for two reasons: one, when the nostrils are normally blocked, and two, when the infection has spread so much that breathing through the nose is not possible anymore. You must note carefully what your pet is doing.When the infection is severe…it is easy to understand that something is very wrong – but only if you are looking closely and know what you are looking for. In case of open mouth breathing because of normal blocked nose condition, the wheezing sound comes from the nose itself. The mouth is usually only slightly open.
When the infection is severe, the patient may or may not have a runny nose, but the mouth will be open and the eyes will have a bewildered look. It is easy to understand that something is very wrong – but only if you are looking closely and know what you are looking for.
The drug of choice in such cases goes by the brand name of AUGMENTIN in India. The composition is Amoxicillin and Potassium Clavulanate. If the patient can take oral dosage, fine. If not, an intravenous injection (not subcutaneous) is in order. The injection goes in along with the fluid that is being given her so that she is not dehydrated, and the minor burning or stinging sensation that may be experienced in case of an intravenous injection is nothing compared to the unbearable agony of an intramuscular one.
To the best of my knowledge, only MOITRI has this kind of facility in Kolkata, and Laltu, the young man who usually does the job of inserting the needle of the temporary set up that will remain on your pet’s arm for sometime, has God gifted hands. I have never seen him miss, not even with cats that barely have any blood in their veins.
I can only hope that all our little ones that God chose to make His own are at peace now.
Originally published sometime in 2008 on kapush.net