Project Type

URC Presentation


Molecular, Cellular, & Biomedical Sciences

College or School


Class Year



Biomedical Science: Medical and Veterinary Science

Faculty Research Advisor

Sarah Proctor


Feline Upper-Respiratory Infection (URI) is commonplace in most animal shelters, and its endemic presence is problematic for the animals as well as for veterinarians and other shelter personnel. Despite the fact that viruses are responsible for the majority of these infections, many cats with URI in shelters are still treated with antibiotics. Antibiotic treatment in the absence of bacterial infection and the overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance among feline populations. The aim of this research was to compare duration and severity of URI in shelter cats treated with and without antibiotics. Cats showing clinical symptoms were randomly assigned to two groups, one receiving antibiotic treatment and the other receiving no antibiotics. Cats were monitored daily and the severity of their ocular and nasal symptoms scored on a numerical scale. The duration of their clinical symptoms was also recorded. Pharyngeal swabs were taken from some of the study population to determine whether or not bacterial infection was present. The mean severity and duration scores and standard deviations were calculated for each group and an unpaired t-test performed. No significant difference in the severity of URI and the duration of the illness was found in cats who did and did not receive antibiotic treatment. These findings support the need to change the protocol for treatment of feline URI in order to improve the quality of care provided to the shelter cats. Furthermore, these findings provided additional evidence to support the need for enhanced antibiotic stewardship in both veterinary and human medicine.