What is sneezing?
• Cats can sneeze just like we do and it looks and sounds pretty much the same
• A sneeze is a reflex (something you can't control) that forces air out through the nose.
• Sometimes cats can have mucus, clear liquid or blood come from their nose when they are sneezing, others have no other signs.
Differentials (what could be causing my cat to sneeze?)
• A one off sneeze is not usually something to worry about! Just like us, cats can sneeze if something tickles their nose!
• If your cat is sneezing constantly or sneezes a few times a day for several days, or if there is any discharge from their nose there could be a problem.
Here are some of the possible causes of sneezing in cats:
▪ Infections – viral or bacterial – a relatively common cause of sneezing in cats is an infection. Some of the infectious causes of sneezing are covered by their annual vaccinations which is why it is important to keep these up to date!
▪ Foreign body – something stuck up their nose! It is really important we rule out something stuck up their nose as a cause of sneezing especially if it seems to be non stop!
▪ Dental disease – very nasty teeth problems can lead to sneezing. We especially see this in cats that have problems with their top canines.
▪ Cancer – growths inside the nose can cause sneezing.
Diagnosis of sneezing
• With a lot of the infectious causes of sneezing in cats they will also present with other signs. Your cat may also have gunky or sore eyes for example. So a though clinical examination by a vet is necessary.
• Swab – we may recommend taking a swab from your cat's nose or mouth to try and identify the infectious cause.
• Examine their teeth – If we are worried that their teeth may be the problems we may recommend taking some dental x-rays.
• Look up their nose! A foreign body can be hard to see when your cat is awake! So if we suspect one we will look up their nose and around the back of their throat while under an anaesthetic. While under the anaesthetic we will also flush their nose if we suspect something may be stuck!
• X-rays – we may advise x-rays of your cat's nose.
• Biopsy – if we see any lumps or bumps we may take a small sample to see if there are any abnormal cells present.
Treatment of sneezing?
• Treatment depends on what is causing your cat to sneeze.
• For infectious causes we may for example, recommend a course of antibiotics.
Prognosis for sneezing (how a cat is likely to do afterwards)?
• Prognosis for some of the causes of sneezing is very good, if we flush out a blade of grass from your cats nose they should make a full recovery!
• Although, some infectious causes of sneezing can recur we can often manage them well enough to keep your cat very comfortable and happy!