August 8, 2012

Feline Bronchial Disease – Treatment and Care

Filed under: Cat Asthma — Tags: — 1st Pet Naturals @ 12:45 pm

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cat asthmaContrary to the folk tales of aging cats gracefully wheezing away the final years of their lives, cats can develop feline bronchial disease at any age. Symptoms of upper respiratory inflammation in cats strongly resemble asthmatic symptoms in humans. The treatment regimens for human and feline asthma are also eerily similar.

Environmental allergens — substances known to cause allergic reactions — may trigger episodes of feline bronchial disease. The same is true for human asthma attacks. The likeliest asthmatic triggers are smoke, seemingly harmless household chemicals, and common dust particles.

Personally, I have never raised a kitten who was born with feline bronchial disease, but I have cared for a few cats who appeared to develop this condition over a long period of time.

The warning signs of feline bronchial disease are easy to notice, and new cat owners would do well to be watchful of symptoms before a serious medical issue develops.

Cat Asthma Symptoms: It is Not Always a Hairball

The most obvious signs of feline bronchial disease are:

  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Rapid respiration
  • Wheezing or mouth breathing
  • The appearance of choking
  • Lethargy following physical activity

A coughing cat may be trying to expel a hairball, but coughing can also signify a feline asthma attack. Several years ago, my cat named Snowflake began hunching over and coughing for several minutes at a time. Since this behavior had emerged suddenly, I took Snowflake to the veterinarian’s office for an examination. The diagnosis, much to my surprise, was cat asthma.

Diagnosis: Finding the Best Medicine

Cats can develop asthma with varying degrees of severity. Other more serious diseases can mimic asthmatic symptoms, so cat owners should keep this fact in mind. Veterinarians have an array of blood tests at their disposal, which aid in determining if heartworms or lungworms are at the root of the problem.

Veterinarians have other methods at their disposal as well. My cat Snowflake, for instance, underwent a chest X-ray procedure in order to determine if her coughing was caused by asthma, or bronchitis. Veterinarians can even extract mucous from a cat’s airway in order to recommend the best course of treatment.

Treating Feline Bronchial Disease: Clean House, Breathe Easier

When my cat Snowflake returned from the veterinarian’s office, I was surprised at how easy it was to keep her asthma symptoms from returning. I had to give her a steroid named prednisone daily for the first week along with a drug named theophylline as needed. These two drugs are two of the most commonly prescribed steroids and bronchodialators.

I felt lucky that Snowflake had no issue swallowing pills. Many cats simply refuse to take medication, and I have owned more than a few fickle felines over the years. Also, cats who have fallen ill with a viral infection may not be able to take respiratory feline remedies ( orally; so as an alternative, transdermal gels and infections may be prescribed instead.

Most importantly, Snowflake’s veterinarian also informed me that removing triggering allergens from my home was paramount. In the end, I discovered that it was my new top-of-the-line carpet deodorizer that was triggering Snowflake’s asthma attacks.

Cat asthma is very treatable, but there is no cure. As it is with human asthma attacks, the best medicine is a dose of prevention.

1 Comment »

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    Comment by Marie — April 4, 2013 @ 9:34 am

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Disclaimer: 1st Pet Naturals is an education resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet is taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.