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Hey guys, I'm in a bit of a predicament. I recently found a stray living in my backyard. She would spend hours sitting right outside my door, watching my other cats through the window, and sleeping, of course :) I noticed she had an injured front paw, so after a few days of her warming up to me, I was able to pick her up and take her to the humane society. They looked after her (and informed me she's likely a senior kitty, so 10+), but I felt so awful bringing an outdoor kitty somewhere where she is being caged, that I adopted her. She was living in one room in my house, so as to keep her away from my other 2 kitties, which was fine with her. She had a great appetite, very friendly, etc. Over the last 2 days, however she became ill. Sneezing, snorting sounds like she's very congested, eye discharge. I took her to the vet, and he said because there's no way to know her history, he can't really know what she has without tests. Now, I'm not cheap, and have already spent close to $200 on this cat, but the tests will just be a little too much right now. The vet said he would treat her as if she had a respiratory infection, and gave her some meds for that and the eye issue. This morning, she sounds even worse than last night, and now has nose crusties (ick...) and can barely breathe.

Here in lies the issue.....my other 2 cats are indoor cats, and as such, I didn't get them their shots this past due-date (very stupid, I know, but I never thought I would be taking care of this poor stray) and I'm TERRIFIED now that I have introduced something horrible into the air that they might catch. I'm taking them today for their shots, but that may be too late. I need to get the stray out of the house, but I called the humane society, and unfortunately, if they give her the meds that the vet gave me, and she gets worse or doesn't improve, they will put her down. I'm at a loss. I feel horrible. I cannot send this kitty somewhere she might be killed, but I also can't keep her here where my other cats may catch something from her. I feel sick to my stomach when I think about something happening to my other 2 cats. I'm so incredibly nervous :(

Any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for listening :)
 

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I'm sorry I don't have an answer for you. But I will move this to health & nutrition and hopefully Dr. Jean or someone with more experience than I will see it.
 

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Hello Nora,
It does sound like an Upper Respiratory Infection.
I have seen it developping in both younger and older cats and as for the older it fits the symptoms your dear kitty is experiencing
I went ahead and gave Bart (the old kitty I am referring to) the antibiotic for about 10 days. According to Dr. Jean antibiotics don't have a very strong effect on the virus. Colds require a period of incubation so by the time the viral infection has passed one has gone through with the antibiotic as well.
You could help the congestion by keeping her in a steamed up bathroom - to help clear her up.
Also consult your vet about giving her L-Lysene and Easter C Powder to help boost her immune system
Please let us kow how she is doing
 

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The upper respiratory vaccines last for many years; protection does not stop on a date one year from the last one! The upper respiratory portion does not prevent the infection, but theoretically makes it less bad if/when they do get it.

The distemper portion of the vaccine may be a contributor to the eventual development of chronic renal failure. I do not give this vaccine to adult cats, providing they had their kitten vaccines and a 1-year booster. Some experts believe that just one vaccine over 16 weeks of age is protective virtually for life.
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... volume1no8
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... olume2no04
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... volume2no5

Antibiotics have NO effect on viruses. They are often given to (1) prevent a secondary infection with bacteria (very very rare) and (2) just to give *something* since nothing works on viruses!

However, L-lysine has some antiviral properties, particularly against herpes (the most common upper respiratory virus), so if she's eating, you can mix 1000 mg of lysine in her food daily for 5 days.

The tests for feline leukemia and FIV (feline AIDS) are not expensive; I would really recommend these for her, since these diseases are potentially serious and can be transmitted to your other cats if there is a lot of contact; although FIV is thought to only be transmitted through bite wounds, so as long as she doesn't bite them it should be okay!

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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drjean, my cats are entirely indoor but I work at an animal shelter. We do occasionally get distemper where I work. My distemper vaccine is due to be updated in May 2005 and I will still be working at the shelter at that time. Would you recommend that I don't get the vaccination? I just worry because I do work in a high risk environment. Do you recommend any of the vaccines for indoor, adult cats if the owner works in a high risk environment? (Ie: AHT, vet or animal care attendant)
 

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Well, as a feline vet myself, I am sure I carried in a whole lot of interesting bugs. But my cats are vaccinated as kittens then never again. Occasionally I'll drop shoes, clothes, etc. at the door if I have suspicion of bringing in a bad disease, but I don't suppose I've done this more than 2-3 times.

One of my cats had diarrhea and tested positive for cryptosporidium, which I probably brought home from the calf barn during vet school. Fortunately she didn't seem bothered by it, eventually got over it, and lived to be 20!

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Thank you for your experience, drjean. I change my shoes before entering the house and strip completely once inside. I think instead of opting for vaccination, that I will just be more stringent with my sanitation. I'm going to bring an extra set of clothes to work to change into. I just really don't want to over vaccinate my cats.
 
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