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Sneezing and Nasal Discharge in Cats

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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The following list emphasizes the most important causes of nasal discharge.

  • Infectious diseases – viral and bacterial: Rickettsial infections (also lead to bleeding disorders), bacterial infections (usually secondary to something else)

  • Infectious diseases – fungal diseases (mycotic infections) – Aspergillus, Penicillium, Rhinosporidium, Sporothrix

  • Nasal mites (tiny insects)

  • Dental disease with infection of the tooth roots

  • Inflammatory diseases of the nasal cavity such as
    1) lymphocytic plasmacytic rhinitis – an "immune" or nonspecific response of the nasal mucosa (lining cells) to an injury or stimulation
    2) idiopathic (no known cause) including "allergic" rhinitis

  • Neoplasia– tumors or cancers, including: adenocarcinoma, chondrosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, mast cell tumor, osteosarcoma, squamous cell carcinoma

  • Polyps – inflammatory benign growths

  • Congenital diseases – ciliary dyskinesis (lack of normal microscopic hairs, cleft palate (food leaks from mouth to nose), imperforate posterior choanae openings (nasal discharge cannot drain)

  • Foreign bodies

  • Trauma

  • Bleeding disorders – abnormal clotting of blood manifested as a "nose bleed" caused by: immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, thrombocytopathia, Ehrlichiosis, hyperglobulinemia, polycythemia, hyperviscosity syndromes and hypertension

  • Extranasal diseases leading to nasal discharge: pneumonia, swallowing disorders, deficiency in local immunity (IgA)

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