Feline Rhinitis Treatment with Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory medications prescribed to treat a variety of feline health concerns that include asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and orthopedic conditions. The vet may also prescribe corticosteroid medication to treat feline rhinitis. In order to know the effects of corticosteroid medication on cats suffering from rhinitis, it's important to understand the condition and symptoms associated with it.

Feline Rhinitis

This is a condition that develops due to other viral respiratory diseases and periodontal diseases. Cats suffering from rhinitis experience nasal inflammation, along with inflammation of the nasal cavity. Pets suffering from feline rhinotracheitis virus or calcivirus are at greater risk of developing rhinitis as a secondary bacterial infection. Chronic rhinitis develops if the pet has certain underlying health concerns such as neoplasia, facial trauma and parasite infections.

Symptoms of Feline Rhinitis Include:

  • Persistent sneezing
  • Bad breath
  • Nasal ulcers
  • Frequent pawing at the nose
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nasal discharge and bleeding

Diagnosis and Treatment of Feline Rhinitis

In order to determine the cause of rhinitis, the vet will perform a series of diagnostic tests that include blood tests, coagulation profile tests, urine analysis and X-rays. The vet may perform a biopsy to rule out cancer. Laboratory analysis of nasal discharge and samples extracted from the nasal cavity determine the presence of bacterial and viral infections. The treatment option is decided according to the underlying health condition present. The vet will also prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines such as corticosteroid drugs to bring relief from discomfort. Chronic rhinitis is often treated with surgical procedures, such as rhinotomy.

Corticosteroid Medication for Feline Rhinitis

The most commonly used corticosteroid medication for inflammation is prednisone. The dosage and administration schedule varies according to individual cat needs. Prednisone is a synthetic formulation, available in both injection and oral form. Although it reduces inflammation and treats several other immune diseases, cats require a higher dose in comparison with dogs, for the medication to provide relief. Since corticosteroid medication causes certain side effects, it's best to administer the it as a short-term treatment option.

Side Effects of Corticosteroids Include:

  • Polyuria
  • Polydipsia
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers
  • Personality changes

Other Risks

Corticosteroids may not be beneficial to cats suffering from liver disorders or pregnant pets. The potassium levels of the body should also be carefully monitored if cats are prescribed prednisone. Corticosteroids often interact with other prescription medication. It's thus best to inform the vet about other medicines, herbal formulations and supplements administered to the pet. Since overdose is dangerous, pet owners should follow vet instruction during administration of prescribed medication and avoid sudden discontinuation unless otherwise directed by the vet.

Home Care

The use of humidifiers in the home helps to keep the cat more comfortable. If the cause of rhinitis is nasal tumors, parasites or fungal infections, the cat will require medication to cure the primary cause. Nasal discharge should also be wiped with a clean, soft towel to ensure open air passages. Since rhinitis is contagious, healthy pets should be kept away from sick cats.

In order to protect cats from rhinitis, it's important to vaccinate them regularly and ensure proper dental hygiene. Litter boxes should be cleaned daily and food and water bowls should be free from contamination.