Sinusitis in Cats

Sinusitis is the infection of the sinuses and will manifest through the irritation of the lining of the sinuses and the nasal cavity. Kittens are more exposed to sinusitis, however, the condition may also be seen in senior cats that are affected by a tumor located in the nasal cavity or next to the sinuses. The infection can be treated, but complications may arise, especially if there is an underlying condition causing sinusitis.

Causes of Cat Sinusitis

Sinusitis is a common infection in felines and the causes of sinusitis may include:

  • Viruses and bacteria, which may initially cause a respiratory infection and then affect the sinuses as well
  • Fungi
  • Parasites
  • Foreign matter stuck in the nasal passages
  • Dental abscesses
  • Polyps
  • Tumors in the nasal cavity
  • Allergies

Sinusitis is more common in kittens and immunocompromised cats. Bronchocephalic breeds (with short noses) will be more exposed to developing sinusitis, following a respiratory infection.

Symptoms of Sinusitis in Cats

If a cat has a sinus infection, he will display a number of symptoms that may also be associated with other types of infections. However, you should watch out for symptoms such as:

  • Frequent sneezing
  • Discharges from the nasal cavity, which can be transparent or have a thicker consistency and creamy white, yellow, pink or green in color
  • Nasal bleeding, often after the cat sneezes
  • Pawing the face and nose, due to the irritation
  • Lack of appetite
  • Eye discharges
  • Swelling of the face or certain areas of the face
  • Changes in color of the nose (hyperpigmentation or lack of pigmentation)
  • Bad breath due to dental abscesses or tooth decay

Diagnosing Sinusitis in Felines

Sinusitis in cats can be detected by performing a series of tests that will include:

  • A complete blood count (CBC)
  • A baseline test
  • An examination of the nasal and ocular discharges, to establish the nature of the infection
  • A biopsy, if a tumor is suspected
  • Rhinotomy, which involves a surgery that will explore the nasal cavity

Cat Sinusitis Treatment Options

The treatment of sinusitis will be established once the vet has a clear diagnosis. The cat will have to get antibiotics or fungicides, which will address the infectious agents. In addition, the cat may also be exposed to steam, which will clear the sinuses. If the sinuses are severely swollen, the cat will receive some anti-inflammatory drugs such as non steroidal anti inflammatories, or even steroid treatment. The cat will have to rest and stay in a warm environment. Ideally, he should stay indoors until the condition improves. The infection can be contagious, so isolate the infected cat if you have a multi cat household.

If there is an underlying condition, treating this will be a priority. For instance, if there is a polyp or a tumor, surgery will be performed to eliminate the growth. The surgery is necessary, as the growth will cause chronic sinusitis and this can lead to complications.