First it’s the runny nose. That’s obvious because Spencer’s nose is white, but for the last two weeks it appears to be wet all the time. He often seems to be swallowing hard, and I’ve dismissed it in the past as a hairball. Spencer is also the most likely one of our cats to gulp down his food, only to cough it up again 10-15 minutes later. I turn off the cat’s water fountain while they eat to prevent Spencer from getting a drink right afterward, my theory being that he drinks too much water too fast, more than a full tummy can stand. Then there’s the occasional cough that ends in a wheeze, and his bad breath. (I should also mention that Spencer has a penchant for eating odd things he finds on the floor, most notably pine needles tracked in from our yard.)
Add to all these things the fact that Spence just seems out of sorts, and the sum is that I’m really concerned. He certainly is not his happy self lately. So I decide to have the vets do some sleuthing.
Dr. Richard checks Spencer’s temperature first and he has no fever, so that’s a plus. But he has lost a pound since his last checkup, and after telling the vet about his other woes, he takes a look at his throat and says it’s likely that Spencer has a sore throat, possibly an allergic reaction that’s also causing his runny nose. It could be making swallowing awfully painful, never mind if there’s also a hairball there. There’s been a deluge of pollen over the last couple of weeks, in fact my car looks positively golden when it’s normally plain black. The cats have access to the back porch which is screened in, so they get fresh air as well as whatever pollen it may be carrying.
We still have nearly a full bottle of antihistamine that the vet prescribed for our late cat, Friendly. At this time of year, Friendly would be so hoarse that he could barely croak out a meow, whereas he normally was a very vocal cat. Friendly avoided swallowing so often that he sometimes drooled instead. Once I figured out a way to pill him regularly there was a great improvement. I think the antihistamine is really going to help Spencer too, that’s if I can get it in him consistently.
Spencer doesn’t need a very large dose, but I’m only successful at getting him completely pilled a couple of days after visiting the vet’s earlier this week. His appetite is there, but it’s clear that he’s still having discomfort swallowing and thus avoiding eating. Mixed with some fresh salmon Fancy Feast, Spencer finally gobbles down the medicine, but he still avoids his other food. He looks like he’s had a rough night, he hasn’t groomed himself in a while and doesn’t seem to care one way or the other what shape his fur is in. Good thing that he’s keeping well hydrated though, we don’t need to have him avoiding water as well.
Back to the vet this morning, where Dr. Moria orders an x-ray of Spencer. While waiting for the results, I hope that there isn’t a tree full of pine needles in his gullet that will require surgery for a safe removal. With four cats all over 12 years of age, I am worried that they will all need more medical treatments as they age.
But the good news is that the x-ray reveals that Spencer is clearly asthmatic, so he’s given an injection of a steroid, which will hopefully get him through at least a couple of weeks of this abundant pollen. Then we’ll figure out what more can be done to help him feel well.
Has your pet ever had allergies? How do you (or did you) deal with that?