Your leader in veterinary care in the Long Island City area

Let us prove it! Our knowledgeable and helpful staff are anxious to assist you and your furry family member.

All visits are by appointment only. Please call or email us to book your next appointment now!

Starting March 2022 All spay and neuter will get Free Distemper and Rabies. Call to book your appointment today.

Schedule Today

Upper Respiratory Infection

This Educational Article Sponsored By

Feline Upper Respiratory Infection Calcivirus/Herpesvirus

Feline upper respiratory infection is a very common viral infection, caused most commonly by calicivirus or herpesvirus. It is compared to the human common cold, and usually lasts for about a week. The viruses are spread through moist contact, like sneezes, infected discharges or sharing dishes.

These viruses are recurring, sometimes over a cat’s entire life. Herpesvirus usually recurs about a week after a stressful incident (like a new pet in the house, boarding, surgery).

Susceptible cats include:

  • Shelter cats
  • Outdoor cats
  • Kittens (because their immune system is not strong)


The following symptoms indicate a mild infection, just like a human cold:

  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Discharge from the nose, mouth or eyes
  • Ulcers in the nose, mouth or eyes
  • Hoarse voice

If the infection becomes more serious, you will notice the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing with an open mouth
  • High fever and lethargy

In kittens, these viruses can lead to pneumonia or arthritis. Call your vet immediately.


Your vet may be able to diagnose your cat with a simple physical exam.

Additional tests may include:

  • PCR testing: a simple throat swab which is an extremely sensitive test for viruses in your cat’s DNA
  • Immunofluorescence: uses a fluorescent dye to illuminate viruses or their antibodies in body tissue
  • Radiographs: may show inflammation or infection of the lungs, indicating pneumonia


  • Hospitalization: your cat will be boarded in a cage with proper humidity and oxygen to help breathing
  • IV fluids for dehydration
  • Anti-bacterial medication: This does not help against the actual virus, but will prevent and treat any secondary bacterial infections that can result from the virus
  • Oral medications for ulcers
  • Eye ointments
  • Nose drops for congestion
  • Vaccines


  • Follow the vaccine schedule recommended by your vet
  • Only allow vaccinated cats in your house
  • Separate infected cats from other cats
  • Wash your hands after handling the infected cat, because contaminated hands can spread the disease to other cats
  • Maintain a stress-free environment to prevent recurrence


Your cat may need to be hospitalized to safely survive the symptoms, but there is a very good prognosis. Death in adult cats is unusual; serious illness and death in young kittens is more common.

Get in touch with our Team

Use the information below to get ahold of us, or submit the form and a member of or staff will get back to you as soon as possible.

Contact us any time

To send us a message, use the contact form or the information below. A caring member of our knowledgable staff will do their best to respond to your inquiry as soon as possible. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call us.

The communication methods below are monitored during our facility's regular business hours.

Long Island City Phone: 718-752-1488
FAX: 718-752-1499

Astoria Animal Society is a non-profit veterinary practice.


Fill out my online form.