Feline Upper Respiratory Disease

Feline Rhinotracheitis, Chlamydia, and Calici virus are responsible for most of the upper respiratory infections seen in cats.  The microorganisms are airborne after cats sneeze and spray contaminated secretions. Signs include coughing, sneezing, discharges from the eyes and nose, and difficulty eating and drinking.  If left untreated or found in very young or elderly cats or cats with weakened immune systems, complications from what started out as a simple cold can be fatal.

Feline upper respiratory infections (URI for short) are the most commonly encountered disease problem in animal shelters.  Even vaccinated cats may have upper respiratory infections, though, and most will resolve within a few days to two weeks. Severe infections or those in cats with weakened immune systems may last several weeks. Although antibiotics won't kill the viruses, they are often prescribed to treat or prevent secondary infections that take hold when the virus damages tissue in the nose, eyes, sinuses, mouth, and possibly even the lungs of an affected cat.

FVRCP vaccines are given to kittens ideally at about 7-8 weeks of age, and boostered 3-4 weeks later. After that, the FVRCP vaccine is given a year later followed by repeat vaccinations every 3 years..

We ask that all patients receive a full examination before vaccines are administered. Certain underlying health problems, which may be difficult to recognize, can interfere with vaccine efficacy. Additionally, if your pet is incubating an infection, vaccines may complicate the problem. For these reasons, Dr. Warren wants to ensure that your pet is healthy and in suitable condition to receive the vaccines. During the examination visit, Dr. Warren and our technicians will discuss necessary and recommended vaccines and help determine the vaccine protocol that will best serve your pet.

WSVMA, Infectious Diseases of Dogs and Cats and their prevention [pamphlet], Snoqualmie, WA.