How to Treat an Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats
How they get it and what are the symptoms?
Many cats get upper respiratory infections. This is especially common in those that were rescued and spent time in a shelter. Once they get a bad infection they can be prone to get them throughout their lives. You never know when one will suddenly appear. Common signs are sneezing, eyes watering and getting mucus discharge, nose running and eyes swelling. The normally pale color around your cat’s eyes can become bright pink or red if they get conjunctivitis. These infections are contagious so if one cats get it the others will likely contract it soon after. Therefore it can be hard to stop the infection. So, many cat owners wonder how to treat an upper respiratory infection in their cats?
Vet Check and Preventative Approach Combined
The most common approach is to take your cat to the veterinarian who will examine them and then prescribe an antibiotic and or antiviral drop, ointment or other medication. This may work, but it can take weeks to take effect and sometimes multiple medications need to be used. Sometimes re-checks are needed before the vet will refill the prescriptions. This can get expensive and stretch out over weeks or months especially if you have multiple cats whom all get infected. This was a vicious cycle that seemed never ending in our house with three rescued kitties. I thought there must be a better way to handle these recurring infections that doesn’t require endless medications! Here is the best option I have found for preventing these infections in the first place:
What I Recommend for Prevention and Overall Immune Health
There are a number of home remedies, supplements and treatments. I will address several here and follow up with more in later posts. The first product I recommend to PREVENT and treat upper respiratory infections in cats is a supplement by my favorite brand PetAlive. It is called Immunity and Liver Support. It can be used for cats and dogs. I noticed my cats were finally infection free when I added this to their wet food. When I ran out of the first bottle, Tigger, who is the most prone to these infections started getting the goopy eyes within a few days. Since I started him on the Immunity and Liver Support again he has been fine! I have been extremely impressed with all the PetAlive supplements. You can read my previous posts about their supplement for tooth and gum disease prevention here and my post for weight control and maintenance here.
All the PetAlive supplements use natural ingredients which are often found in human products. The capsules are easy to twist apart and mix into wet food.
The ingredients in Immunity and Liver Support include:
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis)
Dandelion contains high level of Vitamins A, B, C, D and many minerals such as zinc (used in people to fight colds), magnesium, potassium,
iron and more. It aids liver, gall bladder functioning and blood pressure.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)
Echinacea is an antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. It is used for allergies, boosting the immune system and aiding the lymphatic system.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwanganha is an anti-inflammatory, and has anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties. It also increases blood hemoglobin levels, has calming
properties and aids in recovery after illness.
Milk Thistle (Sylibum marianum)
Milk Thistle has been used for 2 millinia to help people remove toxins and aid in liver function. I take it myself every day.
Another supplement for upper respiratory infections in cats is Lysine. Just like people take Lysine to prevent and treat cold sores, cats can benefit from Lysine as well. I buy regular Lysine capsules for people, twist them apart and pour the powder into my cat’s wet food and mix it up with the other supplements. Lysine is cheap and easy to find.
This is one natural supplement that my vet recommended for the cats but I have found it just is not enough to combat upper respiratory infections by itself. We keep using it every day and maybe that in combination with the Immunity and Liver Support is the magic bullet as they are not getting any infections now! I must tell you however, I have seen research studies that show Lysine is not very effective in cats. I don’t know if it works well for some cats but not others, but the research shows the expected results do not match with real world results in real cats. I don’t know if I should continue the Lysine.
Please leave a comment and let me know if you have found other remedies for upper respiratory disease in your cats or if you have any questions or thoughts.
Stay tuned for part two of How to Treat An Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats, where we will address home remedies such as MSM and apple cider vinager (for the fur not to be put in eyes!!!). I find we still need a preventative however, so I am covering the supplements first.
Here is Part 2 with an apple cider vinegar home remedy for your kitty’s health! Home Remedy For Cat Colds
I hope this information helps you and your fur babies! Please leave me a comment below and let me know!