Thursday, June 2, 2011

Case of the Week: Duke

One-year-old Duke and his brother Sebastian are two cute and sweet cats waiting for adoption at Safe Haven for Animals. Duke and Sebastian had developed a severe upper respiratory infection at the rescue home. It is very common for shelter kittens to develop viral and bacterial upper respiratory infections due to the wide exposure to other cats and the stress on their bodies from changes in their life. When I first saw Duke, he was very congested, not eating well, and was very thin and lethargic. He had a fever of 104 degrees and his lymph nodes under his chin were enlarged. I prescribed an antibiotic for him, started L-Lysine which helps fight herpes virus, and switched him to a high calorie prescription food.

He improved quickly. He gained one and a half pounds in three weeks and his sneezing and nasal discharge cleared. However, he still had a loud noise when he breathed through his nose. This presented a difficult challenge for me. When feeling a cat's soft palate way back in his mouth, he only gives you a second or two to get a feel before jerking away or biting. In that brief
moment, I thought I could feel a firm mass above Duke's palate. This, and the noise in his nose, led me to suspect a growth or foreign body up in his nasal sinus.

I placed Duke under anesthesia, pulled back his soft palate, and found a large, soft, pink growth. With firm but gentle traction, I was able to remove the growth from his sinus. The growth was a 1.5 cm spherical polyp with a long stalk. Polyps are inflammatory growths that can form in the nasal sinus or ear canal of cats. They mainly cause problems by blocking the interior of the sinus or ear canal stimulating discharge and causing discomfort. Removal by traction - that is, pulling the polyp until it comes loose - can be successful in many cases although some may grow back. Removal by surgery is needed in those cases. In Duke's case, it appeared I had removed the entire stalk of the polyp, which minimizes the chance of it recurring.

Since his procedure Duke has been doing great. He breathes without any noise and does not have any nasal discharge. He is very active, and we are hopeful that this marks the end of his problem.

Dr. Judy Karnia

For more information about Duke, his brother Sebastian, or any of the other cats available for adoption through Safe Haven For Animals, please visit their website at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi - I am definitely delighted to find this. Good job!