Asthma in cats can be a distressing and painful condition. Asthma in cats is a condition that occurs when the airways of the cat become inflamed and restrict proper airflow. It is thought that the inflammation occurs because the cat has sensitive and overly responsive airways, which will react to many types of irritants, such as pollutants, carpet powders, dust, smoke, dander, bacteria, etc. A normal cat’s airways wouldn’t inflame and respond as easily. Elderly and female cats are more commonly seen with this condition. Obese cats are also thought to be at a higher risk for developing asthma.
The most commonly seen symptom of this condition is coughing, which may be occasionally followed by vomiting. You may hear your cat wheezing as they are trying to breathe. The cat may pant, have difficulty breathing, and appear fatigued. They may breathe deeply and keep their mouths open in attempt to get as much air in as the cat can.
Asthma in cats is often not recognized because it has many similar symptoms that other disorders have too. A veterinarian will do a physical examination of the cat and the cat’s symptoms. They will do x-rays, blood count, and will test for worms. The veterinarian may listen to the cat’s chest with a stethoscope, which will allow them to hear any abnormalities or wheezing. They may also do a bronchoscopy, which is when they put a scope down into the cat’s airways to get a better visualization. If a bronchoscopy is administered, the cat will be put under anesthesia. A stool sample may need to be taken from the cat to check for any possible parasites.
The prognosis for a cat with asthma is good as long as they get the proper treatment. Common treatments for cats with asthma are inhaler, oral medications, and occasionally injections. Inhalers work quicker than oral medication, and they allow the medication to go directly to the lungs and begin to work. Bronchodilators and steroids are the common medications. Bronchodilators are medications that will make the bronchial muscles relax, which will allow the cat’s airways to widen so they can breathe better. The steroids will work by decreasing the inflammation in the cat’s airways and increasing mucus production. You should avoid letting your cat go where there are irritants in the air that may trigger the condition to act up. It is recommended that your get has annual check ups with the veterinarian to reevaluate health conditions.