What are Nasal Infections in Cats?

What are Nasal Infections in Cats?

What is it?

How is it Treated?

Breed Predispositions


When Lucy first adopted her rescue cat, Mr. Whiskers, she was thrilled to give him a loving home. However, after a few weeks, she noticed he started sneezing frequently and had a constant nasal discharge. Worried, she took Mr. Whiskers to the vet, where he was diagnosed with a nasal infection. Like many pet owners, Lucy was unaware of the risks and symptoms associated with feline nasal infections.

Nasal infections in cats are inflammation of the nose caused by bacteria or viruses. It usually occurs when there is a blockage of the nostrils. The most common cause of this condition is a bacterial infection. However, viral infections can lead to chronic nasal disease in some severe cases. Nasal discharge often contains mucus, blood, pus, and sometimes food particles.

What are the Types of Nasal Discharge in Felines?

Feline upper respiratory tract disease (FURTD) is the most common type of infection. Other nasal conditions include bacterial rhinitis, viral rhinitis, and parasitic rhinitis in cats. Every kind of nasal infection requires different treatment options.

Upper Respiratory Tract Disease

Upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) is common in cats. The most common symptoms include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and watery eyes. In addition, allergies, bacteria, viruses, parasites, dust, smoke, environmental toxins, stress, or food may cause it.

Cats often develop URTD when exposed to allergens, irritants, or pollutants. These factors can cause inflammation in the cat’s sinuses, lungs, and air passages. This leads to congestion, sinusitis, and infection.

If left untreated, URTD can lead to secondary bacterial infections, including respiratory diseases such as pneumonia. Therefore, cats who suffer from chronic URTD should be treated with antibiotics.

Upper Respiratory Tract Disease

Bacterial Rhinitis

Bacterial rhinitis is a common illness in cats. The most common cause of this condition is bacteria called Pasteurella multocida. This bacterium lives naturally in the mouth and throat of healthy cats. However, when a cat swallows food containing raw meat, he may inhale some of the bacteria through his nostrils.

If the cat swallows enough bacteria, it can enter the bloodstream and travel to the lungs, lodging in the mucous membranes lining the airway passages. There, the bacteria multiply and produce toxins that irritate the tissues causing inflammation. Bacteria can invade the sinuses, ears, eyes, brain, heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen, stomach, intestines, bladder, uterus, ovaries, testicles, epididymis, prostate gland, penis, scrotum, and mammary glands.

This disease is usually treated with antibiotics. But if left untreated, it can lead to pneumonia, septicemia (blood poisoning), meningitis, encephalitis (brain swelling), abscesses (infected swellings) in the lungs, heart, kidney, liver, spleen, lymph nodes, and urinary tract, and death.

Viral Rhinitis

Viral rhinitis (also known as feline herpesvirus) is common in cats. The virus causes inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the nose, resulting in sneezing, coughing, and discharge. Viral infection, also called chronic rhinitis or sinusitis, usually occurs after exposure to another cat or dog with the disease.

Cats infected with this virus may not show any symptoms at all. However, they often experience fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive hair shedding when they become ill.

Cats with viral rhinitis are typically treated with antihistamines and decongestants.

Parasitic Rhinitis

Parasitic rhinitis is a common problem in cats. The most common cause of this condition is a parasite called Toxocara cati. This parasite lives in soil and causes respiratory disease when ingested through contaminated food or water.

Toxocariasis is usually seen in young kittens who eat dirt. Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and loss of appetite. Other symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and seizures.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your kitten is suffering from toxocariasis. Your vet will perform tests to determine whether your kitten has been infected. Treatment includes deworming medication and possibly surgery to remove the worms.

What Is Normal Nasal Discharge?

Normal discharge occurs when fluid moves up into the nasal cavity from the lower respiratory tract. This includes fluids produced by the lining of the throat, called phlegm. Phlegm is usually clear and colorless. However, when there is too much phlegm, it becomes thick and yellowish.

Causes of Nose and Sinus Inflammation

Bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi usually cause cat nasal infections. The most common cause of feline chronic rhinitis infection is bacteria called Pasteurella multocida. This bacterium lives naturally in the nose of healthy cats. However, the condition occurs when the cat inhales dust articles containing this bacterium.

Bacterial organisms enter through the nose and multiply in the mucous membranes lining the nostrils. They may be introduced when the cat licks its face or sniffs at foreign substances.

Fungi are another common cause of feline allergic rhinitis. Fungus spores are inhaled and grow inside the cat’s sinuses. Parasites can also infect the nasal passages. These include protozoans (such as Toxoplasma gondii), worms (like hookworms), and fleas.

If your cat develops a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, or discharge from his eyes, nose, mouth, ears, or anus, he may have a viral acute upper respiratory infection. This condition may occur alone or with chronic signs related to secondary bacterial infections.

Some cats develop chronic nasal infections. Repeated episodes of inflammation and swelling of the nasal tissues characterize chronic illnesses. Cats with this problem often have difficulty breathing through their noses.

Cats with chronic nasal infections may need treatment with antibiotics, antihistamines, corticosteroids, or decongestants. However, some cats respond well to homeopathic remedies.

Other conditions that affect the nose and sinuses include polyps, tumors, abscesses, and cysts. Your veterinarian should examine your cat’s nose and sinuses during routine examinations. They may use x-rays, endoscopy, or computed tomography scans to diagnose these problems.

Symptoms and Clinical Signs of Rhinitis and Sinusitis in Cats

Feline nasal infections (FNIs) are a common problem among cat owners. They’re often confused with allergies because they cause similar symptoms, including sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. But FNIs are bacterial infections affecting the mucous membranes inside the cat’s nostrils.

They usually occur when there’s an imbalance between bacteria in the air and the cat’s immune system. This causes inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages. The most common symptom is excessive scratching at the base of the tail.

Other symptoms include sneezing, coughing, and purring. Some cats may not show any signs at all.

If you suspect your cat has an FNI, immediately take her to the vet. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose the condition and prescribe treatment.

Diagnosis of Chronic Upper Respiratory Tract Disease in Cats

If your cat suffers from nasal infections, he needs immediate veterinary care. Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination, and your vet should also examine your c at’s ears and to detect signs of ear infection. Other diagnoses include rhinoscopy, culture, bronchoscopy, and blood test.

Diagnosis of Chronic Upper Respiratory Tract Disease in Cats
  • Rhinoscopy is an examination that involves looking into the nose and examining it visually and microscopically. It is used to diagnose chronic rhinosinusitis, allergic fungal infection or rhinosinusitis, and acute bacterial rhinosinusitis.
  • Culture of discharge is done by collecting material from inside the nostril and placing it into a culture medium. This allows bacteria to grow and can help identify the cause of the infection.
  • Bronchoscopy is a diagnostic test in which a flexible tube called a “bronchoscope” is inserted down the throat into the lungs. During this procedure, a biopsy or other procedures are performed.
  • Blood tests include checking white blood cells, red blood cells, hemoglobin, platelet levels, creatinine, alkaline phosphatases, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferases, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, glucose, cholesterols, triglycerides, ureic nitrogen, protein electrophoretogram, urinalyses, fecal analysis, and thyroid stimulating hormones.

Treatment for Nasal Infections in Cats

Treatment options include antibiotics, antihistamines, corticosteroids, and probiotics. Antibiotics are typically used when a bacterial infection is suspected. Antihistamines are often prescribed for allergic reactions. Corticosteroids are commonly used to reduce swelling and sometimes chronic inflammation. Probiotics are beneficial because they help maintain healthy gut flora.


Antibiotics are commonly used to treat bacterial infections. These medications kill off bacteria causing the infection. This treatment may be effective against some bacterial infections but not others. In addition, some antibiotics are toxic to affected cats, so use them only after consulting your veterinarian.

However, treatment may become more complicated if your cat develops a secondary bacterial infection. Secondary bacterial infections occur when the primary infection spreads to another body area. Common areas include the ears, eyes, mouth, genitals, and skin.

Veterinarians often recommend additional antibiotic therapy, topical ointments, and oral medication when treating secondary bacterial infections.


Most cases of cats with chronic rhinitis (nasal infection) are viral and respond well to antihistamines. Antihistamines work by blocking histamine receptors in the brain, thereby reducing the effects of histamine. Histamine causes itching, sneezing, runny eyes, and congestion.

Many types of antihistamines are available, including over-the-counter (OTC) medications and prescription drugs. OTC antihistamines are usually safe and effective. However, some dogs and cats may experience side effects when taking them.

Prescription drugs are usually safer than OTC antihistamines because they’re designed to treat certain medical conditions. Some cats may need to take multiple doses at once to treat their condition effectively.


Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat many different conditions. They work by reducing inflammation and swelling in the body. For example, they’re often prescribed for cats who suffer from chronic sinusitis, which causes inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the nose and throat.

When treating cat nasal infections, veterinarians prescribe corticosteroid drugs, such as prednisone, dexamethasone, triamcinolone, flunisolide, budesonide, and ciclesonide. These drugs are available over the counter at most pet stores.

To help prevent future episodes of sinusitis, cats should be treated regularly with corticosteroids. This reduces the risk of recurrence. However, some drugs may cause side effects, including weight gain, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and depression. Ask your vet about possible side effects when deciding whether to give your cat a prescription medication.


If your cat still develops a nasal infection, try adding probiotic supplements to his diet. Probiotics help maintain healthy gut flora and boost immunity.

Some veterinarians recommend giving your cat probiotics every day until he recovers. However, some studies suggest daily probiotic supplementation may be optional. So instead, give your cat probiotics once per week until he recovers.

Probiotics are available at pet stores and online. Look for brands containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium animalis.

Prevention of Upper Respiratory Tract Disease in Cats

Nasal infections in cats are prevalent. They’re usually caused by bacteria entering through the nose. The most common cause of this type of infection is poor hygiene.

Cats’ noses are covered with hair, making them vulnerable to bacterial contamination. This means that regular grooming is essential to keeping nasal infections at bay.

If your cat does not regularly groom itself, ask your veterinarian to recommend a product specifically designed for cats. Some veterinarians may prescribe a topical treatment, while others may suggest a shampoo or conditioner.

Remember that some shampoos contain ingredients that can irritate your cat’s skin, so be careful when selecting a product. Also, make sure to rinse thoroughly after use.

When bathing your cat, avoid getting water directly onto its face. Instead, wet the entire body and let it dry naturally. Be sure to clean any areas where dirt collects, including between the toes, behind the ears, and inside the mouth.

Keep your cat away from places where there are sick animals or insects. These environments can spread respiratory disease. Also, try to limit exposure to smoke and fumes.

Also, keep your cat indoors during cold weather, especially at night. Also, clean their bedding regularly. And try not to let them sleep near other animals, including dogs.

Cats who spend too much time outdoors are also susceptible to developing infections. So, if your cat spends much time outside, take precautions to protect them from the elements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some types of sinus infections can clear up on their own, but others may require antibiotics to be effective.

Natural antibiotics for cats include herbs, vitamins, minerals, essential oils, probiotics, enzymes, and homeopathic remedies. The most common types of natural antibiotics for cats are herbal products such as garlic, echinacea, goldenseal, horsetail, licorice root, milk thistle, Oregon grape root, red clover, rosemary, and sage.

Some of these herbs are used because they are known to fight bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and even cancer cells. Other herbs are used because they help boost the immune system, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, promote healthy skin, and so forth.

There are several natural remedies that you can use at home to treat your cat’s illnesses. The first one is to feed your special cat foods. It is recommended that you choose dry kibbles rather than wet ones. Dry kibble contains less moisture, so your cat won’t get soggy paws. Also, try feeding your small cat amounts of food throughout the day. This way, they won’t become too hungry and overeat.

Some people have put Vicks on their cats’ noses as an asthma treatment, but it is not recommended because the fumes can harm you and your cat.

The first step is to ensure your cat’s airways are clear. The most common cause of respiratory problems in cats is upper airway obstruction (UAS). This occurs when something blocks the trachea (windpipe) or nasal passages.

It could be due to foreign bodies such as grass, hairballs, fur balls, or food.

You can use a humidifier at night to keep your cat’s environment moist. If your cat seems uncomfortable after sleeping, consider adding a heating pad to his bedding.

The best way to determine if your cat’s nose is blocked is to look at its face and see signs of foreign objects. He probably has a blockage if you notice any discharge from his nostrils. However, it would be best to take him to the vet immediately because this could lead to serious health problems.

Did the clinical signs start suddenly or gradually for cats with nasal infections?

The clinical signs of nasal infections in cats usually start suddenly and may include: discharge from the nose, sneezing, bad breath, and fever. In addition, various viruses, bacteria, and fungi can cause nasal infections.

The pathogens that cause most nasal infections in cats are the common cold virus (rhinovirus), coronavirus (coronavirus A or B), eastern equine encephalitis virus, feline herpesvirus 1 and 2, bacterial rhinosinusitis (BSE or canine distemper), chlamydophilous meningitis, and Mycoplasma.

A veterinarian will perform a physical examination and take blood samples to test for Feline Rhinitis. In addition, your veterinarian may recommend a rhinitis assessment tool such as the Maxi Scan.

There is not one specific cause of feline rhinitis, but the most common reasons include the following:

  • Allergies (typically to plants or grasses)
  • Feline asthma is a possible complication of allergies in cats. In some cases, an underlying food allergy may also be responsible.

Your veterinarian can perform tests to determine which allergen is causing your cat’s symptoms. Rhinoconjunctivitis Symptomatic (RCS) often resolves within a few weeks or months without treatment if eliminated from the cat’s diet.

Feline rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal passages in cats. The cause is unknown, but it may be linked to viral infections or allergies. Symptoms include a runny nose and eyes, sneezing, and difficulty breathing through the nose.

Chronic upper respiratory tract disease (CURT) is a term used to describe conditions that persist for more than six months and cause significant symptoms. These diseases can occur due to many factors, including exposure to allergens, irritants, or smoke. Some of the most common causes of CURT include asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.

There are many potential causes of chronic upper respiratory tract disease in felines, but the most common include: viral infections (especially rhinovirus and feline calicivirus), environmental pollutants (such as car exhaust fumes and smoke from fireplaces or cigarettes), allergic reactions to proteins in the cat’s environment or food, immunologic disorders (including feline leukemia virus [FeLV] override syndrome), foreign bodies located in the nasal passages (like tree sap, cotton balls stuck in the nostrils, etc.), and parasites such as fleas.

The signs of a feline chronic upper respiratory infection can vary depending on the cat’s age, health, and other factors. However, some common symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and sneezing. If you notice these signs in your cat, it may be worth checking for an upper respiratory infection (URI) diagnosis. Your veterinarian will take a detailed history and perform various tests to determine the cause of your cat’s condition.

Nose and sinus inflammation is an infection of cats’ nasal passages or sinuses. The cause may be a virus, bacteria, or another irritant. This can lead to swelling, discharge from the nose and eyes, coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. Treatment usually involves antibiotics to clear the infection and pain relief for the cat.

Cats’ chronic nasal discharge and sneezing are usually clear but may occasionally be watery or mucoid. It is typically not purulent.

The cost of nose and sinus inflammation treatment for cats depends on the severity of the infection, the type of medication used, and whether follow-up care is necessary. But on average, treatments will cost between $50 and $100. Generally speaking, drugs can be expensive, and follow-up care may be required depending on the cat’s health status.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this veterinary website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding the health and well-being of your pet. This website does not claim to cover every possible situation or provide exhaustive knowledge on the subjects presented. The owners and contributors of this website are not responsible for any harm or loss that may result from the use or misuse of the information provided herein.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *