MODESTO -- Jazz has inflammation of the nasal passages. What starts with the "sniffles," progresses to severe sneezing.
The 7-year-old cat has had multiple veterinary visits without total resolution. He gets better, sometimes on antibiotics, but a cure remains elusive for the chronic rhinitis.
As part of the workup, Jazz's veterinarian performed a rhinoscopy. This involves anesthesia and the use of a small scope into each nasal passage, allowing visualization of the passages to check for a possible cause. Nothing revealing was found, according to Sharon, Jazz's owner. Apparently, the bacteria associated with the nasal passage inflammation is one called pseudomonas. Sharon wonders if nasal flushing might be more effective, as antibiotics obviously are not doing the trick.
Bacterial rhinitis in cats and dogs can sometimes be difficult to treat. One of the problems is that even though an appropriate antibiotic may be in use, the drug may not reach the point of action. Within the nasal passages, there are many hiding places an antibiotic can not reach. This is because the drug travels in the bloodstream and there are areas within the nose that the bloodstream does not reach. Another possible problem in Jazz's case is that there may be bacterial resistance to the antibiotics that have been used. This is especially true with pseudomonas bacteria, as they are commonly resistant to myriad antibiotics. So, what should be done for Jazz?
I recommend Jazz see his veterinarian and have his nasal passages biopsied. The biopsy may show a previously unknown underlying problem. I would at the same time reculture the nasal passages for bacteria and perform an identification of the offending organism and test to find out what antibiotics might work to kill them. And, yes, is the answer to the question about nasal flushing. I have found this procedure to be beneficial in chronic cases of rhinitis. All these procedures can be done with one visit and one anesthetic.
Once the appropriate antibiotic is determined, focused therapy can begin. I would also recommend the use of eye drops containing an appropriate antibiotic. I would have Sharon put these drops in the eyes to have the antibiotic then drain from the eyes into the nose through the nasolacrimal duct, thus topically reaching places within the nasal passages not available to the bloodstream and the oral antibiotics. In addition, it is likely that to bring about long-term resolution, Jazz may need to have his nasal passages flushed several times.
Now we have biopsy results to consider. If there is an underlying process such as a fungal disease or a previously nonvisualized tumor in the nasal tissue, we would be led in a different therapeutic direction.
Jeff Kahler is a veterinarian in Modesto. Questions can be submitted to Your Pet in care of LifeStyles, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352.