While you probably know people who have asthma, did you know that it is a common condition in cats as well? Feline asthma is similar to asthma in humans, causing breathing problems that can be dangerous if left untreated. However, with the right care and treatment, many cats live long and healthy lives despite an asthma diagnosis. Read on for more information on how asthma presents in cats and how you can care for a cat with asthma.
Cats with asthma can display a variety of symptoms. They may cough or wheeze frequently, gag or vomit, breathe with their mouth open, or show generalized signs of weakness and lethargy. Any of these symptoms alone doesn’t necessarily mean that your cat has asthma, but they can be cause for concern and, if severe or persistent, should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian.
While there is no specific test for feline asthma, veterinarians can diagnose the condition using clinical signs, imaging, blood tests, and other information-gathering methods. This will allow them to rule out other possible causes of your cat’s breathing problems.
Most cats with asthma will live relatively normal lives, but they will likely need treatment and monitoring from a veterinarian to ensure their airways remain open and healthy. For some cats, this means a prescription for corticosteroids, which can be a pill or injection or be administered via inhalation using special masks or inhalers designed for cats. While this might seem daunting for a cat owner, vets often have helpful strategies to help your cat adjust to a care routine as painlessly as possible.
Just as humans with asthma tend to carry rescue inhalers, veterinary medicine has also developed feline bronchodilators for the same purpose. This allows cat owners to help ease severe asthma attack symptoms when regular treatments are not as effective.
Outside of prescribed treatments, cat owners can help ease potential flare-ups by removing irritants from the home environment. This can mean switching to a low-dust litter option or minimizing indoor air contaminants such as air fresheners or cigarette smoke. If you notice your cat’s asthma symptoms are triggered by certain activities or areas, experiment to see what might be the culprit.
Receiving an asthma diagnosis for your cat can be stressful, but in partnership with a competent veterinary team, your beloved pet can still maintain a high quality of life with minimal lifestyle changes.