Cats bronchial asthma – causes the airways inflammation which results in muscle spasm as well as the bronchial lumen narrows so much that it becomes difficult to breathe for pets. Asthma is an insidious disease, often causing the pneumonia, cardiovascular issues (up to cardiac arrest), brain, kidneys and digestive organs disorders in cats. Delayed or improper cat asthma treatment may result in suffocation and even a death.
Cats asthma is expressed in the bronchial passages narrowing, which causes coughing, breath shortness and wheezing the same way as in humans. Sometimes, the symptoms can be confused with episodic regurgitation of a wool ball while meeting feline asthma mild attack. Besides the owner may think his pet has something stuck in his throat.
A is able to quickly recover after such seizure type and symptoms for a certain time, as a rule. This gives an additional reason for the pet owner to forget about such event, without suspecting anything. However, there may arise serious consequences which are potentially dangerous for the pet’s life. Be sure to take the pet to the veterinarian immediately after the suspicious symptoms detection.
Feline asthma is manifested in a breathing state when the airways narrowing and inflammation occurs in the lungs. Any breed and gender pets may suffer from the current disease. The exact asthma cause still remains unknown, but it’s confirmed that allergens cause such a disease in most cases.
Mucus is formed in the respiratory pet’s tract, which causes the walls of the tract to swell, constricting airflow while suffering from allergic asthma. The current state causes spasms which may manifest in wheezing and coughing. Suffocation and death may occur in case of appropriate treatment absence, the same as in case of human asthma.
However, contact with allergens is the most common cause. Cat asthma can be triggered by various allergens, including: various aerosols, cleaning, washing and cosmetics as well as dust, mold, smoke or pollen. Spirits and other allergenic substances which can be inhaled can provoke an extensive reaction.
Besides cat asthma attack may be caused by such environmental elements as cold, humidity and heat. Risk factors include stress and physical overload. A respiratory state, aggravated by a bacterial or viral infection, can complicate the manifestations by several times.
Disease development stages
The disease symptoms severity is divided into 4 categories, including mild, moderate, strong as well as life-threatening. The disease is rarely manifested and even doesn’t cause any discomfort to the pet at the first stage. The second stage is characterized by more frequent manifestations including the complicated symptoms. Then the symptoms disturb the full pet’s life, while making it really suffering at the third stage. The fourth stage is the most dangerous. The disease is accompanied by the narrowed airways to the maximum level; the cat’s nose turns blue and the state is critical in the oxygen starvation result.
Cat asthma symptoms
Cat asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and general lethargy. The pet looks extremely tired due to difficulty breathing (often breathes through the mouth).
Caution! Severe asthma attacks obligatorily require emergency medical care. Be sure to immediately contact your veterinarian if suspecting your cat has trouble breathing.
The feline asthma clinical signs may either appear immediately or develop slowly, over several days or even weeks. Sometimes mild clinical signs may be limited to coughing only. Some cats may suffer from digestive disorders, namely they may get vomiting or lose the appetite. A severe cat asthma attack is visually expressed in rapid mouth breathing, as a rule. Besides the neck expansion and exaggerated chest movements may also occur since the pet is striving to inhale as much air as possible.
Diagnosis and treatment
The feline asthma clinical signs may resemble the other ailments symptoms, including heart disease, bronchitis as well as respiratory infections. Unfortunately, none test is able to definitely diagnose cat asthma on its own. Diagnosis often starts with a case report which contains the information on the occasional coughing episodes as well as wheezing or breathing problems. That’s why it’s extremely important to timely contact veterinarian if any having any suspicions and then definitely document these visits carefully.
Important! A veterinarian listens to a cat’s lungs while using a stethoscope. He may hear whistlers and other extraneous sounds in the pet’s breathing during the examination. Sometimes it’s enough just to better listen in order to hear wheezing and abnormal sounds in the lungs without using a stethoscope.
Cat’s lungs x-rays, suffering from asthma, may show those abnormalities which are typical for the current disease. But the current procedure is not suitable for every pet. In most cases x-ray examination is prescribed by a veterinarian only if seeing coughing, choking, wheezing, or other possible asthma symptoms by his own eyes at the pet examination moment. There is a risk the veterinarian may fail to wait for the episodic seizures since the disease may cause just episodic seizures from the very beginning of the disease, which results in valuable treatment time lost.
The treatment process implies the measures, used to eliminate the symptoms. For example, there are certain special medicines for injection, which help to expand the respiratory passages, that facilitates the pet’s state. Treatment depends on each particular episode severity. There is an opportunity to help a pet at home in mild cases while in other ones it’s required to immediately visit a medical institution where the qualified specialists will widen constricted paths, reduce inflammation, and stress in order to help the pet to breathe more easily. Rather often the oxygen therapy is strictly required. The veterinarian will inform about the hospitalization importance for further treatment and observation based on both the pet’s state as well as the potential health threat level.
Most cats are «treated» at home. In some cases it’s possible to keep a sick cat at home in case of getting certain medical reasons which implies making simple daily procedures, able to reduce acute asthma crises incidence. Oral medications and inhalation therapy are used to relieve the symptoms. They can be used both daily and in cases when the health deteriorates in acute crisis situations, depending on the disease severity. Unfortunately, not every cat behaves appropriate way during the inhalation therapy (a mask should be placed clearly above nose and mouth). Most cats are able to adapt to such manipulations, thereby facilitating their illness treatment.
Asthmatic manifestations control is carried out by certain special medicines. Corticosteroids are used to reduce pneumonia. The current medicines can be applied by injection (depo-medrol) or orally (prednisone). The current method issue is such a medicine distribution throughout the whole body while causing certain side effects and long-term health problems.
The best option is using Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) in combination with the special cat spacer which delivers the medicine directly to the lungs. Bronchodilators are also used to counteract a violent attack in order to open the airways. The medicine may be injected or applied orally. The current method affects the whole body, which can adversely affect the cat’s health. Fortunately, bronchodilators can be applied while using the cat inhaler and a spacer.
Both steroids and bronchodilators can be delivered while using a spacer inhaler which is the most effective option since it delivers the medicine directly to the lungs. Two medicine types, namely corticosteroid and albuterol bronchodilator are used, as a rule.
An interesting fact! Albuterol can be applied while using an inhaler or nebulizer while being relatively safe which implies rare side effects.
Home oxygen therapy is an additional treatment to medication. This type requires the special equipment to deliver the oxygen to the cat. Acupuncture is a good adjuvant method which can be used with other medications and treatments. It is widely used in the event of asthma treatment among humans.
Unfortunately, the disease prevention methods are not available since most often the its causes can’t be determined. But some veterinarians recommend trying to remove potential allergens from the pet’s environment, including dust, aerosols and smoke sources despite the unknown asthma causes. Even cat litter can become an allergenic dust source. Fortunately, cat litter brands which provide minimal dust content are available at lots of both pet stores and retail outlets. In addition, it’s possible to completely remove allergens from the air while using an air purifier, containing HEPA filter.
Besides balanced diet, proper sleep and rest as well as compliance with the required activity level are very important, as well since a healthy mind means healthy body. The pet health , weakened by insufficient nutrition or other negative factors, fails to cope with such attacks.