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Feline Cough

"Feline cough has bronchitis as the most common cause which is another term for inflammation of the airway. Other causes include infection, heartworm or something as simple as a foreign object in the throat. Diagnosis is based on the frequency, sound and length of time your cat has been coughing. Treatment options are effective such as oral medications and inhalers."

A cough occurs when a cat's throat, airway or lungs are irritated or if your cat is suffering from an illness where cough is one of the symptoms.

Chronic bronchitis is the most common cause of feline cough which is an inflammation in the airway between the nose and the lungs. Another name for this condition is cat asthma.or feline asthma . It is very similar to asthma in humans. If your cat does not have bronchitis then other causes to look for include:

* Infection:
- Bacterial diseases (mycoplasma, bordetalla, pasteurella, salmonella)- Fungal diseases (Cryptococcus, Coccidioides, Histoplasma, Blastomyces)

* Parasites: (Aleurostrongylus, Dirofilaria, Eucoleus)

* Protozoal infection: (Toxoplasma)

* Virus: (FIP, Interstitial pneumonia)

* Inflammation

* Tumor or abnormal growth (called a neoplasm)

* Lung function problems (called lung parenchyma)

* Unknown Causes

If a cough persists more than 24 hours, you should take your cat to the veterinarian for an examination.

Feline Cough Symptoms

If you cat has chronic bronchitis your cat will probably have had a cough for a long time. The cough will sound harsh or dry that does not change over the course of the problem with the exception of a marked increase in coughing over time. In some cats you can sense that they are having trouble breathing.

Cats that are suffering from either an infection or pneumonia tend to have rapid breathing and trouble or even avoid exercising. If you cat has pneumonia other signs include a loss of appetite for food and lethargic or tired behavior. You may also observe weight loss which is a sign of pneumonia or

Weight loss would be more typical in a cat with infectious or interstitial pneumonia or a problem in the lungs.

Feline Cough Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will try and determine the history of coughing as an important part of making a diagnosis. For example when the cough occurs, when it started, type of coughing and if there is anything new in your cats environment.

To diagnose a feline cough, your vet will examine your cat and listen to her lungs. He or she might take x-rays to look at her lungs. The vet may also want to examine a stool sample to check for parasites, so take a sample with you when you go. The vet can also use a bronchoscope to look into your cat's airways; your cat will need to be put under anesthesia for this procedure.

If necessary your veterinarian will try and treat some of the symptoms such as providing oxygen to aide breathing. Diagnosis requires that your veterinarian evoke changes in the way your cat is breathing because he or she may breath one way when resting and another when active. This is the case with bronchial diseases.

Cat with inflammation in the airways cough easily. Your veterinarian will also listen for abnormal lung sounds that could indicate pneumonia or a problem in the lungs.

If your veterinarian detects skin lesions in addition to cough then your vet may suspect one of the fungal diseases listed above.

Problems in the eye with cough indicate the virus FIP. Tests will be conducted for other viral diseases such as FeLV and coronavirus.

Your veterinarian will also see if your cat has heartworm, although it is difficult to diagnose.

Feline Cough Treatment

Assuming your cat is not suffering from something simple such as a hairball or something caught in the throat, treatment involves addressing any inflammation in the throat and the reduction of any mucus that may be causing the cough.

Your vet may prescribe antibiotics for bacterial infection or if your cat has allergies, antihistamines.

If your cat has asthma, bronchodilaters and steroids are prescribed. If your cat doesn't like oral medications then your veterinarian can prescribe a metered dose inhaler (MDI). Note that inhalers are more expensive than medications given orally. If you cat suffers a sever asthma attack then a facemask can be used, although cats will need to become familiar with it before readily accepting its use.

If your cats throat is inflamed, then oral steroids are sometimes prescribed until the swelling goes down.

Natural Treatment Alternatives for Cat Cough

Natural remedies can be effective in helping cats with breathing difficulties. They are safe and can be tried if coughing becomes a long term problem. As with anything discuss this option with your veterinarian so that he or she can comment and track progress.

For additional research and product recommendations on natural rememdies try PetAlive AmazaPet which is a proven herbal cat asthma solution and a good resource for more information.

Sources

Reasons for Cat Coughing
Cheek, Darlene

Cough in Dogs and Cats
Hines, Ron DVM

Diagnosis and Management of the Coughing Cat
L. Johnson
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA

 

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