Just like human asthma, feline asthma is a chronic inflammation of the small passageways of a cat's lungs, which often develops another breathing problem called allergic bronchitis. The airways in the cat's lungs get inflamed, the result of an allergic reaction to inhaled germs, dust, smoke, and other irritants. Feline bronchial disease isn't contagious.
Many cat owners mistaken this condition with hairball attack, or
possibly chocking on a bit of food. Here we will share the most common
symptoms, causes, treatments, and condition management. Please note, if your
cat is experiencing an extreme respiratory distress, contact your veterinary immediately.
Asthma can affect cats of all ages, and symptoms may be hard to detect. It can start as simple as a faint wheezing, which can be noticeable after exercising, and develop into a serious asthma attack.
The most common symptom is coughing, which at first may resemble a cat trying to cough up a hairball, or possible choking on food. While having an asthmatic attack the cat will squat with its shoulders hunched up and neck extended. In addition to coughing, the cat will gag up a foamy, mucus like substance, and then swallowing it hard.
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Severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening. A cat in a full-blown attack should be taken to a veterinarian right away. Do not try to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or CPR to a cat having an asthma attack.
Please note, a severe asthma attack can be fatal!
diseases share many of the same symptoms as feline asthma, such as heartworm (associated respiratory disease). Your veterinarian will perform the proper test
to determine the correct diagnostic and treatment.
There are several allergens that can trigger an asthma attack in cats, and many of them are the same allergens responsible for human asthma attacks.
In addition to environmental factors,
asthma in cats can also be caused by a pre-existing condition, parasites and
Your veterinarian can perform different tests in order to diagnose feline asthma. Common diagnostic procedures are:
Chest X-Ray - This is probably the first test your veterinarian will perform. He/she will look for irregularities, such as: inflammation around the airways in the lungs; a flat looking diaphragm; and/or a partial collapse of the lung. If your vet finds any evidence of heart disease, he/she will send the X-Ray to a specialist for consultation.
Blood Tests - Blood work is also performed to detect signs of infection, which often go along with asthmatic bronchitis.
Bronchoalveolar Lavage (BAL) - This is procedure is performed by
inserting an endotracheal tube into the trachea, where fluids presented in the
airways of the lungs are extracted for examination.
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Your veterinarian will determine which treatment will be most effective on treating your cat. Treatments may include:
Feline asthma can vary from cat to cat, so make sure you work with your veterinarian to ensure your cat gets the best possible treatment.