Nasal discharge (chronic)

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When a cat has a discharge from its nose that lasts more than two months, it is considered chronic. The discharge may be thin and clear like water (serous), thick and yellow or green like pus (purulent), bloody (sanguineous or hemorrhagic), or a combination.


Chronic nasal discharge is not a diagnosis; rather, it is a term that describes the signs of disease in the nose and frontal sinuses. Almost all disease conditions that occur in the nose will cause irritation and inflammation to the lacy bones in the nose, called turbinates. The presence of disease in the nose is called rhinitis. The turbinate bones are easily distorted and destroyed. When that happens, bacteria that normally live in the nose grow rapidly, causing a secondary bacterial infection. The frontal sinuses are hollow cavities in the skull and are located just above the eyes. They are connected to the nasal cavity by a small canal. Most diseases that occur in the nasal cavity have the ability to move through these canals into the frontal sinuses. When the sinuses become involved and develop inflammation, this is called sinusitis.


Chronic nasal discharge may result from several disorders involving the sinuses and nasal cavity. These include:

Chronic viral infection Herpes and calicivirus infections
Chronic bacterial infection Pseudomonas spp, Proteus mirabilis, Staphylococcus, Chlamydia spp
Chronic fungal infection Cryptococcus spp, Sporotrichosis spp
Nasal tumour (usually malignant) Nasal adenocarcinoma, lymphosarcoma, nasal polyps, nasal fistula
Parasitic Cuterebra spp