Feline Asthma: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

What Is Asthma in Cats? Feline asthma is an allergic reaction that leads to inflammation of the airways, causing difficulty in breathing. This condition is triggered by inhaled allergens, leading to an immune response and subsequent inflammation.

Symptoms of Asthma in Cats:

  • Wheezing
  • Tiring easily
  • Coughing/choking sounds
  • Gagging

In severe cases, cats may hunch down with extended neck and head, showing signs of extreme distress and breathing difficulties. This can be life-threatening and requires immediate veterinary attention.

Causes of Asthma:

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Mildew or mold
  • Household chemicals
  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Cat litter particulates

Stress can also contribute to asthma attacks, so keeping a calm environment is crucial.

Diagnosing Asthma in Cats: Diagnostic tools include blood tests, chest X-rays, and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). BAL involves taking fluid samples from the cat’s airways. It’s performed under anesthesia and can help diagnose other lung conditions as well.

Treatment: Common treatments involve the use of steroids to reduce airway inflammation and bronchodilators to keep airways open. These medications may be administered orally or through inhalers. Inhalers are advantageous as they deliver medication directly to the lungs with fewer side effects.

Prognosis: Feline asthma is a chronic, progressive condition without a cure. A veterinarian will work on an ongoing medication plan to keep the cat comfortable. Lifestyle changes and avoidance of triggers can help manage the condition.

Preventing Asthma in Cats:

  • Reduce smoking or do it outdoors.
  • Eliminate mold and mildew through thorough cleaning.
  • Control dust and dust mites with frequent vacuuming and HEPA air purifiers.
  • Use cat-friendly, environmentally friendly household chemicals.
  • Opt for cat litters with minimal dust, like wood or paper-based litters.
  • Keep a calm and stress-free environment.

Remember, understanding your cat’s behavior and promptly seeking veterinary care is crucial in managing feline asthma effectively.

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