What is Sinusitis? Sinusitis, also referred to as rhinitis, is a common upper respiratory tract disease characterized by an inflammation of the mucous lining of the nose and sinus. It can be acute or chronic.
How does my cat get Sinusitis? There are many causes that led to sinusitis, but topping the list is viral infections. Specifically, the feline herpesvirus rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus are most often involved. In addition, other causes identified include bacterial infection, fungal, parasites, allergies, presence of a foreign body in the nasal cavity, dental disease or nasopharyngeal polyps.
How do I know if my cat has Sinusitis? Typical signs associated with sinusitis include sneezing, thick nasal discharge, pawing at the face, nosebleeds, teary eye discharge, bad breath and labored breathing. Because sinusitis can be acute or chronic and is triggered by many causes, it is important that your veterinarian do a complete physical examination on your cat. Beyond the baseline tests (biochemical profile, complete blood count and urinalysis), additional tests such as MRI, CT scan, rhinoscopy, biopsy, bacterial nasal cultures and cytology plus X-rays of the skull, sinuses, mouth and chest. These procedures will help determine if your cat’s sinusitis is mild, moderate or severe as well as eliminate other possible diseases causing these symptoms.
What can I do about Sinusitis? You definitely play a key role in minimizing the symptoms associated with sinusitis in your cat. Depending on the cause of the sinusitis, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, administer a feline herpesvirus vaccine directly into the nose or provide antifungal medication or corticosteroids. Surgery may be necessary in cases where the cat does not effectively respond to these medications or there is a need to remove foreign bodies, polyps or tumors. At home, it is vital that you keep the indoor environment clean and properly humidified if the cause is allergies to food or mold or dust, eliminating those triggers will mitigate the symptoms.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my cat from getting Sinusitis? At best, you can control, but not cure, chronic sinusitis by eliminating the triggers or giving your cat the prescribed medications properly. Compliance is critical in helping your cat to breath normally.
Are there certain breeds that get Sinusitis more often? Yes. The Exotic breed is more prone to developing sinusitis, but it can also affect any cat of any breed and age.