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Cat with Upper Respiratory Tract Infection and Tonsillitis

Today I noticed one of my feline patients had inflamed tonsils. Tonsillitis as a primary condition is rare in cats. So when we see inflamed tonsils it is secondary to something else. In my patient, she has a rhinitis - inflammation of her nasal cavity.

Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in cats are a fairly common occurrence in our patients.

The first photo above is for comparison of this very subtle finding. Above is Indi’s oral cavity. I’ll point out the tonsil area for you to compare.

Here’s the oral cavity of my patient with upper respiratory tract infection (URTI).

My apologies, but the lighting isn’t that great. You can see that very subtle increase in redness near the back of her oral cavity on both sides.

Those are mildly angry tonsils.

Since tonsillitis is often secondary to some other region in the head, we are treating her with Azithromycin for her wheezing and nasal congestion. We may have to add in an anti-viral medication to target feline herpes virus, since often that is an underlying factor in cats with upper respiratory disease. We did a trial of oral anti-inflammatory and that didn’t improve her symptoms. If the medication does not work, my plan is to anesthetize her, do a nasal flush to acquire a sample and clear her sinuses, and send that for cytology and culture. During that time we would take an x-ray of her head to assess for deviation in septum or masses, as well as do a quick assess for any nasal polyps.

The standard currently is not to test cats with upper respiratory signs for COVID-19, but just so you are aware, this has been a chronic issue for this cat for months, if not years.

Shall I keep you posted on the outcome?

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