Dear Dr. Fox • I read your column in the Post-Dispatch regularly. We are concerned about our 6-year-old rescue cat, Mia. She has sneezing episodes from time to time that worry us. Most times, the thick mucus she expels is light yellowish to brownish, but at times, it is bloody. A couple days ago it was bloody, and about half the size of my pinkie finger. Sometimes she just has a clear, drippy nose, and at other times, it’s normal.
There doesn’t seem to be anything noticeable that triggers the episodes. I wonder if they are due to her exposure to smoke from the house fire we had almost five years ago; the episodes started a couple of years after we moved back home after the rebuild.
Is there anything we can do, or should do, for her? She is a very loving girl ... we want her to be well, and she appears to be in every other way. — K.H., St. Louis
Dear K.H. • I doubt that the smoke from the house fire was the cause of this condition. Respiratory virus infections, common in kittenhood and especially in shelter situations, can lead to chronic secondary bacterial infections, especially in the sinuses. When the cat is stressed, or even just during changes in seasons, there can be a flare-up of sinusitis. But a chronic, persistent herpes or feline immunodeficiency virus infection could be involved, along with secondary bacterial infection — meaning lots of pus and mucus. And in some cases of sinusitis, there are dental problems, where an infected tooth root and bone erosion can actually track infection into one of the sinuses.
So I advise a full veterinary wellness examination. This is a drain on your cat’s immune system and overall health and resilience.
Dear Dr. Fox • I, too, detest it when I see a person walking their dog, only to drag the poor thing along as it tries to do its business or just sniff at stuff. If you’re not planning on letting your pet enjoy their walk, take your own quick walk and then give the poor pooches an enjoyable walk later!
— G.M.E., West Fargo, N.D.
Dear G.M.E. • Your observations and opinions are unequivocally correct, but many people find reasons and excuses for doing what they do to the dogs (and other animals) they “own.”
Those who contend that God created animals for man’s use surely made God in their own image. St. Francis of Assisi was one who saw animals as manifestations of divinity.
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