Is It Feline Rhinotracheitis? Or Allergies? Or What??

Part #3 – Final Update (For Now) On The Saga Of Alyssum
And Our Battle With “Suspected” Feline Rhinotracheitis

I’ve been behind in posting this update on Alyssum’s battle with what we think might be feline rhinotracheitis. This herpes virus is one stinkin’ bugger to definitively diagnose which makes it frustrating for vets and pet owners. Without having certain diagnostic tests done to your cat, you can’t really nail it on the head as to whether it really is or isn’t rhinotracheitis. Or what may be the cause for persistent convunctivitis.

Sidenote: I need to ask my vet tomorrow why he hasn’t opted to do an immunofluorescent assay of secretions from Alyssum’s nose or conjunctiva yet. To be honest, I am on so much information overload about FHV-1 I forgot about reading about these tests – just re-read a few medical papers this morning and rediscovered this info.

But the vet still isn’t convinced that perhaps the bacterial infection from the abcessed tooth and maybe allergies on top of everything else added to all her problems. He still thinks that though she probably is dealing with chronic nasal problems, that maybe her eye problem is also aggravated due to allergies. What a hodge-podge of troubles, eh? 😐

Here’s Alyssum - photo taken this morning. The current situation on her health issues are: she is breathing better – less nasal congestion – and her left eye is looking much better than before. So this is good! The vet gave her a second antibiotic shot just to “be safe”. To which I whole heartedly agreed. I don’t know if that shot helped clear things up more or if the homeopathic remedies and L-lysine I am giving her daily are more responsible for her appearing to be on the mend. But I remain optimistic that all of this C#%# will clear up and GO AWAY for good real soon!

However Alyssum’s convunctivitis seems to get better and then it gets a little worse (we’re on a roller coaster of symptom intensity right now). Sometimes her eye is almost 100% open, sometimes it’s a bit squinted, and sometimes (like the photo here) it’s almost shut. And every now and then her eyelids are more inflammed and pink, but most of the time they are back to looking normal. I now administer the eye drops “as needed”.

There are some major tests that can perhaps nail recurrent convunctivitis on the head. But, please don’t think I’m a negligent pet owner by not having those “major” tests done … even my vet doesn’t want to put Alyssum through them. (The tests for recurrent convunctivitis are aerobic bacterial and chlamydial cultures, viral isolation, immunofluorescent antibody techniques, serology and cytology.)

Alyssum had a quick follow-up visit with Dr. Jones on Friday, and I gave him two papers I found online (links below) about recurrent conjunctivitis. He said he’d talk to a colleague/friend of his that is a DACVO this coming week and try to get more insight on this whole issue. I also questioned if another type of eye drop might really help clear things up. We’ll see what this other vet has to say.

Dr. Jones also said we’ll try a shot of Benadryl if her congestion gets worse again. To see if maybe that will alleviate things for her (I can’t pill her with the Musilex tabs because she goes beserk – to her the taste is really really bad).

So, this is where we are right now. But thank goodness Alyssum is eating well, and back to her playful self. She and Sieanna (the new cat) are getting along better each day, too.

I count our blessings. I’ll take the small victories in her health right now. Slow but sure improvement is fine with me. πŸ˜‰

If you are dealing with recurrent feline conjunctivitis, you might want to read these two papers I found that are written by Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Opthamologists: Feline Infectious Conjunctivitis – Mary B. Glaze, DVM, MS, DACVO and Feline Conjunctivitis: Trouble Shooting the Chronic Persistent Cases – Michele E. Stengard, DVM, DACVO.


  1. Shawna C. says:

    Many thanks for sharing the information about your cat’s problems. Mine has been suffering from “unusual” nasal problems – now I’m wondering if it’s the same thing your vet has suspected is affecting Alyssum. Pretty cat, BTW.

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