Respiratory Infection

Information to help cats and dogs with symptoms of canine and feline respiratory infections and colds

    causes of colds and respiratory infections in cats and dogs

    Select a Topic

    1. What is Respiratory Infection?
    2. What Causes Respiratory Infection?
    3. Diagnosing Respiratory Infection
    4. Help for Respiratory Infection

    What is Respiratory Infection?

    A respiratory infection is an infection of the nose, throat and upper airways and affects pets just like they do when humans suffer from colds, flu, and chest or sinus problems. Although respiratory infections tend to be more common in cats, dogs are susceptible to them as well. There are various types of respiratory infections and these include feline rhinotracheitis, feline calici virus and chlamydia in cats or kennel cough in dogs.

    Respiratory infections are contagious and are spread through direct contact with an infected dog or cat. This condition may develop suddenly, from time to or be persistent. If left untreated, respiratory infections may develop into secondary bacterial infections as a result of a weak immune system. These infections are most common in young or elderly pets, those that are stressed and have suppressed immune systems.

    The common symptoms and signs of respiratory infections include:

    • Coughing
    • Sneezing
    • Fever
    • Runny nose or eyes
    • Lethargy
    • Loss of appetite

    What Causes Respiratory Infection?

    Respiratory infections in pets are caused by harmful organisms such as viruses, bacteria or fungi which may bring about a combination eye, nose, and throat and sinus problems. In addition, a weakened immune system, irritants such as pollution or chemicals and other underlying diseases may also contribute to respiratory infections in pets.

    Diagnosing a Respiratory Infection

    The diagnosis of a respiratory infection is based on your pet’s symptoms as well as a physical examination.

    Help for Respiratory Infection

    Your vet will prescribe medications such as antibiotics to clear and prevent secondary bacterial infections as well as decongestants to relieve congestion. Keep in mind that antibiotic drugs reduce and weaken the immune system which makes you’re your pet more susceptible to recurring infections. Your pet should also receive annual vaccinations against viruses and bacteria to protect them against infection and boost immunity.


    Tips to prevent respiratory infections

    There are several things that you can do to prevent respiratory infections and boost the immune functioning of your pet:

    • Feed your pet a high quality, natural diet that is free of colorants, preservatives and additives
    • Incorporate more raw foods such as raw vegetables and raw meat to your pet’s diet
    • Have plenty of clean, fresh water available for your pet
    • Ensure that your has regular exercise
    • Clean and disinfect food and water bowls daily as well as sleeping facilities to avoid infection
    • Pet owners should wash their hands thoroughly before and after handling pets, cleaning their sleeping facilities and being exposed to animal saliva, urine, feces or blood
    • Avoid giving your pet any products containing sugar or milk
    • Make sure that your pet is vaccinated against respiratory infections before visiting boarding facilities such as kennels, or dog or cat shows
    • Spend quality time with your pet to reduce stress