Do you think your cat could have asthma? Would you like to find out more information about just how possible this really is? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
In the article below, you’ll find plenty of information to help you better understand what asthma is like in cats. With the help of this guide, you can figure out whether or not your cat’s symptoms could be asthma, and you can choose when to talk to your veterinarian for more information as well. Read on to find out more. If you have any questions, call Blue Cross Pet Hospital in North Hollywood at (818) 980-1313.
Symptoms of Asthma in Cats
- Breathing difficulties: Just like in humans, cats have frequent breathing difficulties when they suffer from asthma. They may pant, breathe with an open mouth, or wheeze while trying to get a deep breath. All of these conditions are causes for alarm, and you should take your cat to the vet immediately if this is the first time she is showing these signs.
- Vomiting: Vomiting is a common occurrence in cats who are sick with a wide variety of illnesses, and asthma is no different. Cats may vomit from asthma due to the intensity of their coughing and wheezing. If your cat is vomiting along with any other symptoms listed here, asthma may be the cause.
- Coughing or hacking when the throat is pressed: If you gently press on your cat’s throat, they may not like it, but they probably won’t automatically start coughing or hacking unless they have asthma. There is no need to press hard on the throat to test your cat in this way.
- Hunched posture: This posture is accompanied by the cat stretching their neck out, usually while coughing or hacking. It is a sign that your cat is having difficulty breathing and may need veterinary intervention to help them feel better. This posture is not unlike the hairball posture, however, and some cat owners may get the two confused.
Diagnosing Feline Asthma
- Ruling out other causes: Vets must first rule out other causes of respiratory illness in cats before assuming asthma may be the cause. Asthma is not nearly as common in cats as other respiratory infections, illnesses, and conditions, so it’s crucial to work through the list of more common possibilities first.
- X-rays and CT scans: Both of these methods allow vets to take pictures of a cat’s lungs and check out their overall condition. Asthma tends to create a branch-like appearance in the lungs that is very tell-tale, and a vet will be able to recognize this appearance right away if it shows up on your cat’s scans.
- Bronchoscopy: For this diagnostic method, a cat must be put under anesthesia so the vet can put a camera through the cat’s airway and into their lungs. During this method, cells from the airway are also sampled for testing. This is a very invasive testing method, but it can be highly conclusive for vets who are experienced in using it.
- Blood tests: Blood tests are usually done as part of the rule-out method; if a cat is sick with something else causing the asthma, then that problem will likely show up on a blood test. However, some vets test a cat’s blood for signs of asthma as well, depending on the individual cat’s condition, needs, and other health issues.
Treatments for Cat Asthma
- Steroids for acute attacks: If your cat is in the middle of a serious asthma attack, your vet will likely prescribe steroids. These may be given orally or they might be available through an inhaler for cats, depending on the cat’s needs.
- Omega-3s: Some vets have found that increasing Omega-3s in a cat’s diet can help reduce the risk of asthma attacks. Although this method is still not completely clinically proven, it has worked very well for a number of cats and continues to be a go-to method of management for cats with asthma.
- Humidifier: Try using a humidifier in the room where your cat normally sleeps to help ease their asthma symptoms. Keep it on a high shelf so they won’t be able to get to it, and make sure it runs during the times of day when they take their naps.
There is a lot to learn about asthma in cats, and this illness is still somewhat lacking in understanding by veterinary professionals. However, your vet remains the best source of information available to you when you think your cat might have asthma, and it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as you believe this may be the case. Call Blue Cross Pet Hospital at (818) 980-1313.