Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor
Medical Database

Infectious Disease

Rhinotracheitis in Cats

Animals Affected – Cat

General Information
Rhinotracheitis is caused by a herpesvirus that attacks the eyes, nasal passages, and trachea (windpipe) of cats. Once infected, a cat shows respiratory signs, such as sneezing, cough, and runny eyes and nose, within 2 to 5 days. Infection is spread by contact with discharges from the eyes, nose, or mouth of infected cats or contact with contaminated clothing, hands, feeding utensils, or other articles. In mild cases, recovery occurs in 1 to 2 weeks, while more severe cases may last for several weeks.

Adult cats usually recover, but the disease is more serious in kittens, and fatalities are not uncommon. Some cats become persistently infected and suffer from chronic sneezing or periodic relapses.

Vaccination is the best means of preventing this disease. All cats should be vaccinated yearly.

Important Points in Treatment
1. While no treatment is available to eliminate the virus, various medications are given to control clinical signs and prevent secondary bacterial infections and pneumonia.
2. In severe cases, hospitalization is often necessary.
3. Many cats with rhinotracheitis lose all interest in food because of a decreased sense of smell. Forced oral feeding or intravenous feeding may be necessary until the cat’s appetite improves.

An Important Update From Animal & Bird Medical Center On COVID-19

We are committed to offering a safe and healthy environment for our clients, pets and hospital team here at Animal and Bird Medical Center. The best way to avoid becoming ill is to avoid exposure to the virus. Taking typical preventive actions is key.

In being cautious and mindful of everyone’s safety, we are actively working to minimize your exposure to crowded exam rooms and long waits in the lobby.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made some changes to our protocols in-hospital for the time-being…

In order to limit exposure while still providing quality care for your pet, we will be implementing special protocols to keep you safe.

We will have our veterinary technicians get a history of the patient’s symptoms and owner’s concerns via phone prior to coming into the clinic.

  • Upon arrival, owners can call us from the curb in front of the clinic and we will have a technician assistant come to your car and bring your pet inside.
  • From here, your pet will be examined and the doctor will develop a treatment plan which he will then communicate via phone with the owner.
  • At the end of the visit, an invoice will be brought out to your car and payment can be taken via phone.

Our goal is for you to be able to bring your pet in for medical care but have no risk for you or our dedicated staff of transmitting the COVID-19 virus.

The Doctors and staff are dedicated to making sure your pet’s medical needs are taken care of during this national crisis.

We can still fill prescriptions for pick up, however, for those who prefer, non-narcotic and non-urgent prescriptions can be mailed to your home.

As always, careful hand-washing and other infection control practices can greatly reduce the chance of spreading any disease.