Cat With Asthma
"Cat with asthma is very common with the problem seen in 1% of all cats, particularly the Himalayan and Siamese breeds. Symptoms include trouble breathing, cough and a reluctance or difficulty exercising. Feline asthma treatment involves oral medications such as an inhaler and anti-inflammatory medications."
Feline asthma (feline allergic bronchitis) is common in cats. Often owners' believe that their cat is suffering from another hairball when in fact it is asthma. The disease occurs in the lower airway which is the bronchi and bronchioles.
Breeds that are at the greatest risk include Siamese. It is not clear what causes the condition, with no direct link between your cats environment such as the presence of smokers or pollen and the disease.
If your cat is in distress be sure to seek emergency veterinary care. If it is an emergency your veterinarian will use the medication epinephrine to immediately help.
Symptoms of a Cat with Asthma
Feline asthma symptoms are caused when your cat's airway narrows or becomes inflamed, restricting (decreasing) the amount of air that can move through the airways. Other changes such as the production of more mucus, and muscle constriction add to the problem. In some cases, these factors stimulate coughing as a response.
Note that even small changes in the amount of air your cat can take in will have a large effect on your cat's ability to stay active.
Symptoms usually appear between 9 months and 6 years of age. If you suspect asthma is an older cat, it is probably due to another issue. Some cats have episodes of asthma when a trigger is present such as pollen. You may not be able to determine what is the cause of an episode.
Feline asthma symptoms include:
- Labored breathing (dyspnea)
- Difficulty Exercising
Cat with Asthma Diagnosis
There are no tests that determine if your cat has asthma. Usually what happens is your veterinarian will eliminate other causes first. Other conditions that will be eliminated include heart failure, pneumonia, parasites (heartworm and lungworm), lung cancer (pulmonary malignancy) and something your cat might of inhaled. If your cat is in good health, and asthmatic symptoms are present, in most cases feline asthma is the cause.
Your veterinarian will look at the following to determine if you have a cat with asthma.
- When the labored breathing starts and what causes it to stop such as certain medications (oxygen, bronchodilators, steroids).
- Limited Symptoms: usually only cough or labored breathing.
- X-Ray tests which show a thickening of the
bronchial walls and also air being trapped (referred to as doughnuts
Cat with Asthma
X-Ray of Feline Asthma Patient
Source: Washington State University
- Inflammation in the airway.
If it is "true asthma" then the condition is reversible.
Feline Asthma Treatment
If a trigger such as pollen or smoking in the home is the cause, then limiting your cat's exposure should help. Also changing your litter to one with less dust and added fragrance could also be a positive step.
Prescription treatments fall into two categories:
- Bronchodilators (inhalers)
- Corticosteroids (prednisone)
Your veterinarian will also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications such as prednisone or prednisolone. It can be found in inhalers made for cats such as Aerokat. Like humans a oral bronchodialator (theophylline or terbutaline) could help. Another anti-inflammatory drug, inhaled glucocorticoids can cost over $100. If your veterinarian prescribes a treatment called beta-2, be cautious since there could be side effects.
Antibiotics are only used in rare cases when there is a clear presence of infection.
There are also natural approaches to helping your cat. These include:
- Herbal medicines (naturopathy)
Ingredients such as Inula helenium, Althea officinalis, Mag phos, Kali mur, Arsen alb and Phosphorous are known to help with respiratory system health. They can be used in addition to prescription approaches to cat with asthma symptoms. One natural product to research and discuss with your veterinarian that is made specifically for this purpose is AmazaPet , a proven herbal cat asthma solution. The AmazaPet website has several clinical studies that support the ability of natural remedies to help your cat with asthma.
Cat's tend to respond well to conventional and natural feline asthma treatment. You might also consider using a Hepa Air Filter in the home if allergens are suspected as the cause or trigger for your cat's respiratory attacks.
How I treat Feline Asthma
Dr. E. Rozanski
Feline Asthma Diagnosis and Treatment
Family Pet Animal Hospital, Chicago, IL, USA, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA and the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
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