Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease characterized by inflammation of the airways in the lungs. Asthma is a well-known disease among people, but surprisingly, it can also affect your pet cat. Here are three things cat owners need to know about feline asthma.
What are the symptoms of feline asthma?
If your cat has feline asthma, you'll notice symptoms that are similar to asthma in people. Your cat may produce wheezing sounds when they breathe, and their breathing may be fast or labored. They may also cough a lot, which can be mistaken for hairball behavior at first; however, these coughs will be unproductive.
Other signs can also occur. Your cat may become lethargic due to not getting enough oxygen. They may also hold their body in an unusual, hunched position.
How serious is feline asthma?
The severity of feline asthma varies from cat to cat. Some cats will only have infrequent, mild symptoms, while others will have constant, severe asthma. If your cat is one of the unlucky ones that has severe asthma, they could die from their condition. This can occur if their airway becomes so inflamed that they can't breathe at all. If your cat starts coughing up frothy mucus or gasping for breath, they are in serious danger and could die of respiratory failure.
How do vets treat feline asthma?
Fortunately, many treatment options are available for feline asthma. Controlling allergens inside your home can help to reduce your cat's respiratory distress. Common household allergens include mold, dust, smoke, and household chemicals.
You can control mold and dust by deep cleaning your home. Mold can grow in hard-to-reach places like inside your ducting, so professional cleaning may be necessary to get rid of all of it. If you're a smoker, you should either quit or stop smoking inside your house. Smelly household chemicals like plug-in air fresheners or scented cleaning products should also be avoided; choose scent-free options as often as possible.
While controlling allergens is important, this isn't a sufficient treatment on its own. Your cat will also be prescribed a daily asthma control medication and a rescue inhaler. Generally, cats with asthma are given three prednisone pills a day to keep their lung inflammation under control. If your cat is too stubborn to swallow the pills, prednisone also comes in an injectable form. Make sure to give your cat their daily medication even when they're not showing any symptoms.
Rescue inhalers, also called bronchodialators, are able to quickly control the symptoms of an asthma attack. Their rescue inhaler will be used only as needed, such as when your cat starts wheezing or coughing.
If you think your cat has asthma, take them to a vet right away.
For an animal emergency clinic, contact a business such as Mainland Animal Emergency Clinic emergency vet clinic.