Feline Herpes Virus, Sneezing, Coughing, and a Bacterial Infection

Warning: This may be too gross for some of you. If you get queasy reading about gross pet stuff, back out now!



My little Hannah-bug has Feline Herpes, which like in humans, is incurable. The virus lives in the brain and flares up periodically. We can do lots of things to keep the flare ups under control, like maintaining a routine, keeping her little life & home environment as stress-free as possible, and making sure she eats high-quality, grain-free food to keep her nutritionally in top shape. We also supplement her diet with some raw food and a nutritional supplement, The Missing Link, as well as L-Lysine. Even though we have done all of this, she's still managed to get a bacterial infection.

For about the past year, Hannah's been sneezing (with icky colored discharge & blood) off & on, had a stuffy nose, and lots of congestion. I can't tell you how many times we've been to the vet in the last year, with the same symptoms. She takes an antibiotic, then she gets better, then a month later, she's sick again. Last Tuesday, she was coughing so much that it scared me. Mark decided we were going to the vet (again!), but to a new vet (again!). He called up the cat-only vet, made an appointment, and off we went to The Cat's Meow Veterinary Hospital .

Dr. Bean was wonderful! She was so good with Hannah. She asked lots of questions to find out what we were doing, what was working, what we'd tried, and what we'd done that didn't work. After a thorough exam, she proposed that we do a culture of the gunk going down Hannah's throat since it's the same stuff coming out her little nose, and it's easier to get a throat culture than it is to get a culture from her nose. Hannah was super and it took Dr. Bean and her assistant no time to get the specimen. We were told that it would take about 4 days to get the results back from the lab, but we'd know exactly what we're dealing with (viral or bacterial) and we'd be able to more accurately treat it. Dr. Bean sent us home with an antibiotic (Zeniquin) to start on Friday of last week, since we were going out of town and that would stress Hannah. This morning, because we still haven't left town (that's another topic for another time), I called the vet and found out that Hannah has a very nasty bacterial infection which is causing her herpes flare up. We'll continue to give her the Zeniquin, but when we get back home, we'll probably change to another drug.

Because Hannah has Herpes, any treatment will take longer since her immune system is compromised. Most likely, it will have to be treated with a longer course of antibiotics and/or more than one antibiotic. Other than Herpes, Hannah's a perfectly healthy, active, and beautiful kitty.

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