How to Treat Chronic Rhinitis in a Cat

Updated November 21, 2016

Rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal cavity. Based on a physical examination and tests, a veterinarian may have diagnosed your cat with this condition. The veterinarian may have prescribed antibiotics, and the inflammation cleared up for a while, but now it is back. What should you do? It may be that your cat has chronic rhinitis rather than acute rhinitis. Viral infection is often the cause of chronic rhinitis in cats. It is exacerbated by stress, and it is difficult to treat. However, if you follow these steps, you should be on your way to resolving this stubborn condition.

Recognise the symptoms of a flare-up. These include nasal discharge, trouble breathing through the nose, and sneezing. There may be swelling around the cat's nose or face, as well as lethargy and a loss of appetite.

Talk with your cat's veterinarian about the on-and-off use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, such as doxycycline and amoxicillin. Consider keeping a supply on hand to administer during flare-ups. Many cats with chronic rhinitis benefit from the use of the human antibiotic, Zithromax; ask your veterinarian about it.

Flushing the sinuses can be useful in some cases. While it is not a cure, it can provide your cat some comfort during particularly distressing bouts. The procedure can be performed at the veterinary office.

Humidity will open up your cat's nasal passages, helping it to breathe easier. Put your cat in a small closed room for a half hour twice a day with a humidifier or vaporiser running. Alternatively, you can turn the hot water on in the shower and confine the cat to the bathroom for a half hour twice a day. The vapours and steam will help to break up mucous and reduce swelling of the nasal tissue.

Eliminate unnecessary stress in the cat's environment. If you have a multicat household, make sure the cat has space where it can get away form other cats to spend time on its own, and provide each cat with its own litter box. Play with your cat or spend time petting it daily. Avoid loud music and other noise. Keep all changes in the household to a minimum, such as switching suddenly to a new brand of cat food or frequent house guests. Reducing overall stress will strengthen your cat's immune system.

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