What Can I Do About My Cats Snuffles?
Let’s face it, cats with chronic runny eyes, constant sneezing, and booger bubbles are no fun. Not only is your pet perpetually miserable, many medications over time just don’t seem to fix the problem. While many cats are great to medicate on a daily basis, others who are chronically ill may learn that being medicated is not fun. They don’t feel better, and for owners it can seem like they keep masking the issue and that treatment options aren’t working.
My personal cat’s journey
I’ve faced this issue with my own personal cat, Benny, for 5 years and had many declined pet insurance claims as they would classify my cat as having “chronic herpes” that will never be fixed. For the past year, no matter how we treated it he was miserable. He also started to pull away from being social, stopped playing with his foster kittens, and started to act out at my other resident cats. He did not feel well and we had to act on it.
Working with Dr Saylor from VENT
I made a decision after speaking with my veterinary team and Dr. David Saylor, owner of VENT (Veterinary Ears, Nose and Throat of Maryland LLC) that it was time to finally figure out what was really going on with Benny and a rhinoscopy was recommended. Doing proper imaging of his nasal tissue, not just x-rays, looking at nasal bone changes, obtaining biopsy samples, and a culture would give his veterinarians a proper diagnosis and allow them to formulate a plan for therapy after.
I will admit I was nervous. Very nervous. Not only was it happening to my own pet, which creates a bit of anxiety, I was responsible for his anesthesia during the procedure.
Stress and Anxiety
No pressure… no, wait, I felt a lot of pressure. It was Benny, my amazing cat who has fostered hundreds of kittens and has a rather large social media following. So many what ifs. Could something happened? Did I made the wrong decision? Heaven forbid he died? No, trust science, figure it out. I can’t count how many cats I’ve had under anesthesia over 20 plus years, my coworkers trust me with their own pets, I can do this.
Dr. Saylor, who is always cool as a cucumber on a hot summer day, reassured me that this procedure would give me an answer and no, it was not going to be pretty for a day or two after surgery. One thing I can always count on is his honesty, and he delivered.
Benny was placed under general anesthesia and Dr. Saylor went to work. I watched in horror at what my cat looked like as he had a rigid metal tube sent up his nose, but equally fascinated by what we were seeing on the screen of the computer. Beyond the boogers and blood, his nasal tissue had a ‘cobblestone’ effect that indicated something has been going on for a while. Dr. Saylor took biopsy samples, cleaned up the diseased tissue so Benny could breathe better, and made sure a culture of his nasal passages was sent out to see what bacteria could be contributing to this chronic problem. After the procedure, we flushed his nose with a solution of Manuka honey. How I came home describing the event to my family was “That was intense!” and it was, but it needed to happen to increase his quality of life.
Recovery and Treatment
Benny recovered uneventfully after the procedure since we administered an infraorbital block that would make sure his nasal cavity stayed numb for several hours after the procedure while his other pain medications had time to take effect. Aside from mild bloody nasal crust and an occasional bloody sneeze at home post op, he recovered great. He actually was happier. He began to play again, interact with the other cats, and is more social than before.
A few days later we got the results of the nasal culture and not only did he have one strain of bacteria that needed to be addressed, he had two. Pseudomonas and MRSA. Benny was prescribed several antibiotics along with nasal drops to start treating the secondary infection that contributed to his chronic nasal issues.
Is he easy to medicate? No, sometimes it can be a challenge and we have to physically administer the pills instead of them being in a treat, but it has to happen, especially in case that he had bacteria that were resistant to many of the antibiotics available. There wasn’t a lot of options. Treating his case of lymphocytic rhinitis requires him to be on a hydrolyzed protein diet, daily nasal drops and having him on 1-TDC, a fatty acid complex oil to keep his inflammatory response down. Is it a lot of work? No. It’s a routine. One that is going to maintain a higher quality of life for my cat.
Several weeks later, Benny is happier than he has been in a few years. His nose no longer whistles, squeaks, or wakes me up at 3 am when he sleeps above my head on his own pillow. I am very glad veterinary medicine has evolved over the past few decades and how NOVA Cat Clinic is able to participate and bring our patients the best care possible. After all, our motto is “Giving your cat more birthdays.”
~Ellen, The Cat LVT