A Guide To Understanding And Treating Your Cat's Asthma

Posted on: 9 June 2016


If your cat has been diagnosed with asthma, it is essential to remember that he or she is at increased risk of death and their veterinary care is much more important than it would be for a healthy feline. Feline asthma is the most common respiratory illness for cats today and with proper diagnosis, medication and monitoring, its symptoms can typically be safely managed. It impacts one percent of domestic cats in the United States, and as of June 2016, there is not yet a cure. Therefore, you will need to have a clear understanding of the type of asthma your cat suffers from and what you can do to limit outbreaks. The following information will allow you to develop a treatment and action plan, so that you can help your beloved kitty to live a long and healthy life.

Diagnosing Asthma

It is first important to note that your cat's asthma can often appear like other common issues, such as seasonal or environmental allergies or an upper respiratory infection. As a result, your veterinarian may need to examine your kitty and do a number of other tests to rule out those other issues. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, panting and breathing with an open mouth. 

It is common to rule out a wide variety of problems before being able to determine that the most likely cause of your pet's breathing difficulties is asthma. You may be surprised to learn that while allergens are a common trigger for your cat's asthma, many cats will be allergic to grass, mold, perfumes, or smoke without developing asthma. Both male and female cats are equally likely to develop asthma but cats between the ages of two and eight are the most likely to become asthmatic.

Preventing Attacks

As previously mentioned, allergies can trigger asthma attacks in afflicted felines. Therefore, your veterinarian may suggest allergy testing or the removal of common trigger items around your cat to see if the attacks decrease. For instance, you may find that changing to a low-dust or alternative litter decreases the frequency of asthma attacks.

The same benefit could be seen by changing the cleaning products at home, banning smoking and forbidding the use of scented products. Felines with repeated attacks may need to take medication daily to prevent recurrence, as explained below.

Treating Asthma

Your kitty may benefit from the use of an inhaler and corticosteroids. However, other viable choices include pills and shots. Your veterinarian will need to assess the severity of your cat's asthma and that determination will probably impact the treatment options.

For instance, frequent attacks may need more aggressive treatments of daily medications to prevent the symptoms. Rare outbreaks can often be treated with a fast-acting inhaler. Shots are known to act faster than pills, but will often result in a panicked cat and the situation could quickly worsen. Therefore, it may take some time to form an appropriate treatment plan, so you should be sure to keep a close eye on your cat in the days ahead.

In conclusion, the specialists at a cat hospital can help you to determine the severity of your cat's asthma. By doing so, you can help your kitty to live a long and healthy life by safely managing this incurable and not uncommon feline illness.