Asthma is not only a human disorder, but is also found in some cats.
Much like human asthma, feline asthma is an allergen-caused upper respiratory condition that causes distressed breathing. It is also called bronchitis or feline bronchial disease.
Many times owners may misinterpret their cat’s coughing as caused by fur balls, when in actuality – it’s asthma! If you suspect your cat has asthma, have your Vet do a complete checkup. Untreated for asthma may result in permanent damage to your cats lungs and heart.
Feline asthma is an immune-mediated disease characterized by symptoms ranging from infrequent, hairball-like coughing, to sudden onsets of respiratory distress, veterinarians refer to this as “acute dyspnea”.
Episodes are usually triggered by an allergen or stress, and can be accompanied and/or followed by vomiting, sneezing, or wheezing. Respiratory signs may be slow and deliberate (more abdominal breathing), to fast and labored.
True asthma, as opposed to bronchitis, normally responds quickly to a combination of bronchodilators, oxygen therapy, and fast acting steroids. Diagnosis is usually confirmed with an x-ray, and possibly a slide cytology of the airway.
Because asthma can mimic other feline diseases (bronchitis, heart disease, pneumonia), a veterinary diagnosis assisted by an x-ray is essential. In many ways, feline asthma is very similar to human asthma. Through research and advanced diagnosis tere is a better understanding as to the causes of clinical feline.
Long-term treatment of asthma usually includes short or long- term use of corticosteroids (such as prednisone), and bronchodilators (such as terbutaline or aminophyline). While severe “episodes” of dyspnea can occur, the long-term prognosis for this disease is generally excellent. If diagnosed early, any structural changes to the lungs and airway are usually reversible, and damage can be minimized.
Research into alternative various treatments for asthma include injectable steroids, Cyproheptadine (also used as an appetite stimulant), Cyclosporin A (limited to severe cases), and Anti-Interleukin-5 Antibody (still in experimental mode).
Removing allergens from the air and surroundings can possibly help to relieve many symptoms. Air purifiers, dust-free unscented litter and odorless sprays.
Things that can trigger asthmatic attacks in your cats:
- Mildew or Mold
- Household Chemicals
- Cat Litter
- Cold, Moist Air