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Upper respiratory infection.

Species: Cat
Breed: tomcat
Age: 2-5 years
HI Dr. Marie,
Ten days ago a neighborhood cat started hanging around my house. I know who the cat belongs to but the person does not take care of it. I am a loving cat person, so i decided to feed it. I noticed it could not breathe thru its nose, it had green discharge from nose, it would sneeze, and have terrible coughing fits, after more inspection i found out it had itchy scaley bumps all over its body. i really dont know what to do because the city i live in wont take any strays. I am scared to call animal control because im afraid they will kill him. I cant afford to take him to vet. Does this sound like something that will go away with love and care....also i have som penicillen can i give him that? He has excellent appetite and drinking habit he uses the litter box well.
Ill be waiting for
your answer,,,
Thank You


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi and thanks for your question.

The most common reason for green discharge from the nose and congestion is a viral upper respiratory tract infection. This is sort of like a cold in people. However, when we see green discharge it means that there is a bacterial component and the cat will likely need antibiotics. We don't generally use penicillin (and really, you would need to see a vet in order to get the proper medication and correct dosage.)

One thing that you can buy without a prescription that helps cats to recover quicker from a respiratory virus is Lysine. Lysine is an amino acid supplement that helps stop respiratory viruses from replicating. However, if there is also a bacterial infection present (which is likely with the green discharge) then antibiotics are going to be necessary.

The most common reason for the scabs or bumps on the body is fleas. Sometimes you can't actually see the fleas. If you see black flecks on the fur then this is flea dirt. Over the counter products for fleas are not very effective. I'd highly recommend something like Frontline, Advantage, or Revolution.

There are other possibilities though including:

  • A bacterial skin infection.

  • An allergy to something

  • A fungal infection like ringworm



Sometimes when stray cats have multiple problems like this it can be because their immune system is suppressed with a virus like FIV or Feline Leukemia which unfortunately we do not have cures for.

This is a tough situation that you are in. It does sound like this kitty needs to see a vet, so unfortunately you may need to decide between paying for a vet visit yourself or surrendering him to a rescue organization or humane society.

I hope everything works out ok!

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.