Sneezing in cats: why is my cat sneezing?

Sneezing in cats is not uncommon. From a blade of grass in the nose to a tumor, the causes are numerous to explain this reflex act. If your pet sneezes badly repetitive and other symptoms appear, it will have to be examined because it may be the coryza, a very contagious and potentially serious disease. Explanations.

Why does my cat sneeze?

Sneezing is a mechanism to brutally expel through the nose and mouth from the air contained in the lungs. Sneezing in cats can come from a variety of causes:

  • An irritant product. Inflammation in the nose triggers a reflex sneezing. A cat can sneeze because it has inhaled a substance that irritated its nasal mucosa: aerosol, cleaning product, perfume, cigarette smoke…;
  • A foreign body. The feline can also sneeze following the intrusion of a foreign body in its nasal cavities, such as a blade of grass, dirt or dust. The sneezing will then be repeated until the disturbing substance is expelled;
  • An allergy. Among the non-infectious causes, we find allergic reactions (pollen, dust mites, food). In this case, the sneezing is often accompanied by a runny nose;
  • A cold. Various viruses or bacteria can trigger sneezing, such as the common cold, an often mild and mild illness in cats;
  • Dental infection. Sneezing is sometimes caused by inflammation of a tooth or the presence of an abscess in the upper jaw. Because the root is close to the nasal cavity, bacteria can migrate into the sinuses;
  • Tumors. Repeated sneezing in cats is sometimes caused by different types of tumors in the nasal cavity: they may be polyps (benign masses) or malignant tumors (lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma, fibrosarcoma, etc.).

Cat sneezing: is it coryza?

Common cold, also called “cat flu”, causes inflammation of the nasal mucosa which causes sneezing. Two viruses (herpes and calicivirus) are responsible for more than 80% of cases of coryza, in possible association with bacteria that may make symptoms worse. Cat flu cannot be completely cured because the virus stays in the body and reactivates regularly. The risks of contagion are particularly high by the droplets expelled during sneezing. This potentially serious viral illness can, in addition to sneezing, be accompanied by other symptoms :

  • A cough ;
  • Conjunctivitis;
  • Eye and / or nasal discharge;
  • Mouth ulcers;
  • Difficulty eating or breathing.

Sneezing cat: what is the diagnosis?

If the cat’s sneezing is associated with other symptoms, the vet may perform Additional tests to eliminate certain disease hypotheses:

  • Inspection of mucous membranes (nose and mouth);
  • Listening to the respiratory rate and heart rate;
  • Auscultation of the trachea and lungs;
  • Taking body temperature;
  • Swabbing (discharge or nasal cells are taken to look for pathogens);
  • Rhinoscopy (introduction into the nasal cavities of a small speculum with a mirror);
  • Radiology (X-rays, endoscopy or ultrasound to identify a tumor or a foreign body).

My cat sneezes: what solutions?

The treatment sneezing in cats depends on their origin. For example :

  • A light cold usually goes away within a few days;
  • For a allergy, the veterinarian may give the cat antihistamines or anti-inflammatory drugs, such as cortisone. In order to prevent other allergic attacks, it is possible to initiate lifelong desensitization by injections of immunosera;
  • In the presence of a foreign body, surgery is sometimes necessary to remove it;
  • In the presence of polyps (benign masses), the withdrawal suggests a good prognosis;
  • In the case of a malignant tumor, the cat may need radiation therapy or chemotherapy;
  • If it is a infection, the cat can be treated with antibiotics or antimycotics.

How to prevent sneezing in cats?

Unfortunately there is no prevention gesture from the owner to avoid sneezing caused by a tumor or the intrusion of a foreign object into the cat’s nose. On the other hand, the protection of the feline against respiratory infections such as coryza is possible. Our advices :

  • Make vaccinate your pet every year. Vaccination acts against most of the viruses causing the disease and, coupled with a vaccine against certain bacteria such as chlamydia (often the cause of complications), it makes it possible to fight coryza more generally;
  • Avoid allowing your sick cat to be around congeners healthy at the risk of causing an epidemic, the disease being highly contagious;
  • Wash yourself thoroughly hands after handling your cat affected by coryza;
  • Clean and disinfect the cage, feeding points, bowls and any other material affected by the sick animal;
  • If possible, use clothing protections to reduce the risk of transmission to other cats. Or, change your clothes after coming in contact with an animal with common cold.
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