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Recuring Cat Cough

by Deb
(Columbus, OH)

Recurring Cat Cough Question:Five months ago my 11 year old DSH developed a cough. After taking the cat to the Vet and several hundred dollars later we were no closer to having the answer to why he was coughing.


She did heartworm tests, intestinal parasite checks, and x-rays and even sent the x-rays to our very prestigious nearby University for their radiologist's conclusion -- which was nothing out of the ordinary. The cat had been on amitriptyline (dispensed in a chicken flavored liquid) which he despised for over a year. He fought me every step of the way when I medicated him and I suspected that several times he might even have inhaled some of the liquid into his lungs. So, we treated him with Clindamycin.

After the two week treatment he miraculously improved -- but now 4 months later, the same type of cough has returned. At the same time he went on the Clindamycin, we stopped the amitriptilene but his mood and condition returned and we restarted the amitriptilene, but with the pill form. So he has been on the pill form for about a month.

Does anyone out there have any ideas. I will be taking him back to my Vet, but I am not very hopeful she will have any new information or ideas for me.

Editor Suggestions Recurring Cat Cough

Dear Deb,

Thank you for your question and sorry to hear about the recurring cat cough.

It is common that companion animals like your cat may suffer from a condition with an unknown cause. Such conditions are usually related to the resistance towards certain therapeutics and underlying immune weakness. Like in this case, yours cat has been exhibiting symptoms such as cat cough, depression etc. with no obvious reason at all.

The veterinarian treating this cat has recommended the most appropriate mode of treatment. For example, Clindamycin is an antibiotic which is used to treat anaerobic bacterial infections and patients which have resistance to other antibiotics (especially penicillin) and that are suffering from some unknown resistant bacterial infection. Surely, laboratory results have been reported with some traces of anaerobic bacteria and disturbed/weakened immune status, for which your veterinarian has prescribed Clindamycin.

Since this condition is related to the immunological mechanisms of your cat and resistance towards certain therapeutics, it is always recommended that such cats be kept under consistent monitoring and hygienic living standards.

Additionally, the immune system should be supported to overcome any minor bacterial activity, otherwise the symptoms of unknown reasons and sensitivity of such patients can cause severe health problems in the advanced stages disease, and your pet is already older.

Here it is recommended that you work to improve your cats immune status along with any required antibacterial therapy recommended by your veterinarian. Since, you are already administering high potency therapeutics, we recommend the additional use of some natural immune and liver tonics such as Immunity and Liver Support.

Additionally, you are already administering to your cat that anti-depressant Amitriptyline. But, you should remember that prolonged therapy with this drug can lead to severe adverse effects related to the nervous, urinary and digestive system. You should also discuss this with your veterinarian to revise the frequency, dosage and mode of treatment with this particular drug. As an alternative, you can try some natural remedies to help encourage normal behavior. Note that this is for support only and not a cure. One product to consider for this purpose is Grief and Pining Formula.

The bottom line is to stay the course with the antibiotic treatment, adjust or at least discuss how anti-depressants are being used, and determine if natural products can provide some added support, such as boosting immune system function and helping the cat with any depression.

Best of luck to you and your cat and please keep us up to date on the recurring cat cough and any progress you have been able to make.


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