Runny Nose in Cats: Is It Normal?

August 09, 2019

Runny Nose in Cats: Is It Normal?

It is completely normal for cats to have a wet nose, however, a runny nose may be a completely different story! 


In this blog post, we will tell you when a runny nose is nothing to be worried about and when to take action. 


Let’s get started. 

Yes or No: Should I Worry About My Cat’s Runny Nose? 

According to Aimee Simpson from the VCA Cat Hospital of Philadelphia, nasal discharge is not common in most cats. However, if a cat is chronically infected with feline herpesvirus or FHV-1, she’ll have clear nasal discharge or black debris in the nostrils.


So, most healthy cats don’t have nasal discharge. 

What’s Causing Your Cat’s Runny Nose?

  • Viral infections or allergies are to be blamed for clear discharge coming from your kitty’s nose 
    • Colored discharge--which is green or yellow--indicates the presence of white blood cells and dead tissue and occurs due to chronic rhinitis and secondary bacterial infections
    • A common cause of a cat having a runny nose isupper respiratory disease complex
    • Feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) andfeline calicivirus (FCV)can be other causes
    • Less common causes of a runny nose include a foreign object stuck in the nose, nasal tumors, tooth root abscess, etc. 

    Runny Nose Diagnosis

    If your vet feels that your kitty has a runny nose due to a viral infection, he will test for different viruses to determine the best course of treatment through viral isolation. 


    All the vet needs to do is to collect swabs of the oropharynx or nasal cavity. 


    However, healthy cats, too, are chronic carriers so testing positive for an upper respiratory virus doesn’t mean that the virus is causing the current clinical signs. So, the cat’s history is a better indicator for diagnosis and treatment. 

    How Will Your Cat’s Runny Nose Get Treated?

    The course of treatment, of course, depends on the diagnosis.

    • An antibiotic or antiviral treatment is given in case of a viral infection. In some cases, anti-inflammatory steroids are also given 
    • If your cat doesn’t respond to the medications, your vet might anesthetize your kitty and conduct an oropharyngeal exam to check for polyps, x-rays
    • In some cases, a CT scan or rhinoscopy to check for other masses or tooth root abscesses may be necessary 

    Summing Up 

    Healthy cats seldom have a running nose. So, if your kitty has a nasal discharge, it is best to take her to the vet. The sooner you take your cat for treatment, the faster she’ll recover! 


    Have questions? Let us know in the comments!


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