If your cat has been having difficulty breathing, appearing lethargic, or you notice its lip and gums have turned a bluish color, it could be suffering from feline asthma – a life-threatening disease.
What is feline asthma?
Feline asthma is an inflammation of the lung’s airways. When this inflammation occurs the airways constrict making it difficult for a cat to breathe.
What causes asthma in cats?
While feline asthma can occur without cause, it has been linked to allergens such as pollen, mold, cat litter dust, cigarette smoke, perfume and even certain types of food. Stress, heart conditions, parasites and even obesity have been linked to asthma in cats.
How can I tell if my cat has asthma?
Typical symptoms of feline asthma are coughing, wheezing, a persistent cough, rapid breathing, gasping for breath, open mouth breathing, blue lips and gums, weakness, and lethargy. A cat with asthma may also gag up foamy mucus. Feline asthma can be life-threatening. If your cat exhibits any one of these symptoms, take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
How is feline asthma diagnosed?
The symptoms of feline asthma are similar to other diseases such as heartworm, pneumonia or congestive heart failure. Therefore, your veterinarian will need to perform a series of examinations in order to rule out these diseases. A complete physical examination, radiographs, blood tests, parasite tests, and taking samples of bronchial secretions are some of the tests your veterinarian will perform to get an accurate diagnosis.
How is asthma in cats treated?
Since inflammation of the airways is what causes them to constrict, then the chief course of treatment is to quickly and effectively reduce the irritated airways. Thankfully! There are a good number of medications formulated to deal with feline asthma. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend which ones will work best for your cat. The following are some of the more common medications used to treat asthma in cats.
Theophylline is a broncho-dilator used to open air passages in the lungs. It is used to treat or prevent the symptoms of asthma or to treat chronic bronchitis. Theophylline relieves cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and troubled breathing.
Prednisone is an oral corticosteroid intended for use in cats. Prednisone treats various conditions that are responsive to anti-inflammatory corticosteroid therapy which cause allergic reactions such as hives and asthma, skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis, inflammatory eye conditions, otitis externa, arthritis and bursitis, ulcerative colitis and nephrosis.
Flovent HFA Aerosol is for cats suffering from asthma, bronchitis, and sinusitis. This inhaled medication helps reduce swelling and irritation in the airways of the lungs so your cat can breathe easier. The active ingredient in Flovent HFA (Fluticasone) is a corticosteroid that’s proven to reduce inflammation which makes it difficult to breathe.
AeroKat Feline Aerosol Chamber helps deliver medication to cats suffering from asthma, chronic bronchitis or allergic rhinitis. The easy-to-use Flow-Vu Indicator allows you to see exactly how much medication your cat is getting, which means it will receive the exact amount of medication every time. Unlike most asthma medications that are injected and can cause negative side effects, with AeroKat Feline Aerosol Chamber your cat gets quick treatment with fewer side effects.
To sum it up, feline asthma occurs when a cat’s airways are constricted making it difficult to breathe. While asthma in cats may happen without an apparent cause, allergens are typically the chief cause. Symptoms of feline asthma include: difficulty breathing, a persistent cough, blue lips and gums, and lethargy. Since the symptoms of feline asthma are similar to those of other diseases, your veterinarian will perform a series of tests to rule them out. Once it is determined that your cat has asthma, medication therapy is the preferred form of treatment. Your cat will most likely have to live with asthma for the rest of its life, but with the right medications it will definitely be able to breathe easier. So will you.
Does your cat suffer from asthma? Let us know in the comments how you were able to treat it.