Upper respiratory infections are very common and frustrating problems in feline medicine, especially in outdoor cats and in cats from shelter and cattery environments. While many veterinarians routinely treat these cats with systemic antibiotics, the major cause of most upper respiratory infections is viruses such as calici and rhinotracheitis virus. While antibiotics (such as Clavamox, Doxycycline, Baytril and Convenia) can help ease symptoms of sneezing, coughing and/or nasal congestion/discharge, unless the immune system function is enhanced and/or antiviral medications employed symptoms will either persist or recur.
In recent years, the amino acid Lysine has been employed in veterinary medicine after human physicians found it helpful in treating people afflicted with herpes. Products such as Vetri-Lysine Soft Chews are often an important part of long term management of symptomatic cats. Another of my favorite products is Liquid Immuno from the company Rx Vitamins, which not only has therapeutic doses of lysine, but also medicinal mushrooms and other immune stimulating components. Vetri-DMG liquid is also a nonspecific oral immune stimulant that is often helpful in improving viral immunity.
For cats afflicted with the ocular form of herpes, prescription eye drops such as Viroptic or Idoxuridine are often needed for symptom improvement; however, these topical eye medicines are often very expensive. Another outstanding immune supplement I have found helpful in these cats is known as Transfer Factor. This is a favorite of many holistic veterinarians, and clients can learn more about the research behind these great products by going to www.powerbod.com/2/michaeldym
Finally, any cat with nasal congestion and/or difficulty breathing may benefit from placing them in a humidified environment a few times daily to help loosen discharge from the eyes and nose. I will sometimes instruct clients to pick up saline nose drops or over-the-counter Little Noses, which can help improve air flow through obstructed airways.