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September 26, 2013

What to do for cat’s coughing, sneezing

NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: In December 2011, my cat started making these coughing/sneezing sounds. Initially, the vet treated her with meds for respiratory issues; however, the cough/sneeze still continued sporadically.

In July 2012, I brought her to the Garden State Veterinary Specialists hospital and an internal medicine specialist saw her. This doctor had my cat get three X-rays, and it appeared that her lungs were a bit cloudy, as if there was a respiratory problem. The doctor prescribed a short term of prednisolone at a very low dosage. This seemed to help. After some time after, my cat started up with the noises again.

In October, another vet saw her and followed up with an X-ray and re-prescribed prednisolone. Again, this worked. In late December, my cat’s vet decided to put her on Clavamox. For six weeks, there were no coughing/sneezing episodes, but they started again in early February. Now, my cat is on clindamycin in the event she has an infection. The vet also included low-dosage prednisolone for the possibility of inflammation. Neither of these helped.

She was given an ultrasound of her heart, and that doctor did not see any abnormalities. Between that specialist and the regular vet, it was decided that she was showing symptoms of lungworm. She was put on Pure C for 10 days — it did not work, and a lab test of her feces showed no parasites.

I brought my cat to see the first specialist this week. It seems that the only recourse now is shoving a camera into both her throat and lungs to see what might be hovering in either location. With my permission, she would do a “wash” of the lungs if nothing appears, or a biopsy if something is found. Help!

Your expertise is needed here — I am terribly concerned for my 9.8 pound, almost 13-year-old cat. She acts perfectly normal in every way: She’s still playful, eats and drinks normal amounts and gets her beauty sleep. And, being a native Californian, she loves to sunbathe on the back of furniture wherever the sun is shining.

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