What You Need to Know About Asthma in Cats

September 7, 2018 9:48 pm Published by

Many pet owners assume that cats are not afflicted by the same types of ailments as we humans are, but this assumption is incorrect. One health problem humans and cats share is asthma. Much like in humans, your feline friend can have an asthma attack that makes breathing difficult. These attacks can even be life-threatening, so it’s very important to understand the signs and symptoms of feline asthma so you can take action if an asthma attack occurs.

Asthma is not a curable condition, but with the help of a cat vet in Alexandria, VA, you can help your cat live a long, healthy life with minimal respiratory issues. Here are the basics to this condition that might leave your cat wheezing.

What is asthma and how is it caused?

Asthma is a condition that affects the lower lungs and is driven by immune system responses. Inflammation in the airways can occur after the immune system is stimulated and develops a reaction to a particular allergen.

Allergens could be anything present in the air, such as pollen, mold, dust, smoke and chemicals. When your cat inhales an allergen, the immune system might target it and consider it a threat. Thus, when that same allergen is inhaled again, the immune system kicks into overdrive to attack the antigen. This process causes inflammation in the lungs and leads to the formation of mucus in the airways, making it difficult for your cat to breathe.

In addition to allergens, stress may be a trigger for your cat’s asthma. This is because the immune system and stress have a close relationship, much like they do in humans.

Identifying asthma in your cat

The signs of asthma in cats look a lot like asthma in humans. The condition will cause your cat to have an asthma attack where it is difficult for it to catch its breath.

Other signs may include wheezing, persistent coughing or hacking, rapid breathing with the cat’s mouth open and even vomiting.

Your cat’s lips may start turning a different color, which is a major sign of respiratory distress. If this happens, you should contact your cat vet in Alexandria, VA right away.

Visiting the vet for feline asthma

Once your cat begins exhibiting one or two signs of asthma, you should make an appointment with your local vet and have your cat examined to reach a diagnosis. Your vet will do a thorough checkup of your pet and listen to its chest, guided by your observations of the cat’s symptoms.

They will also perform numerous tests to rule out other illnesses that may cause similar symptoms to asthma. These tests may include blood and allergy tests and diagnostic imagery tests like X-rays to see the state of your cat’s lungs.

Once your vet has reached a diagnosis, they will prescribe your cat medication to deal with the asthma. These might include corticosteroids that can help reduce inflammation in the lungs, and bronchodilators, which dilate the airways for easier breathing. Both of these medications are usually given through an inhaler, but can also be injected or given orally.

Managing asthma long-term

Your cat will require careful attention after it is diagnosed with asthma to ensure it is able to breathe correctly. Always stay calm and administer your cat’s medications as soon as an asthma attack begins.

To help manage your cat’s asthma long-term, try to keep your home clean and free of potential pollutants. Use an air filter to minimize the level of pollutants in the air and clean your cat’s bed and toys to get them out of fabrics.

Also be sure to schedule regular wellness exams for your cat through Kingstowne Cat Clinic. Our team of veterinary experts provides a suite of wellness services for your feline friends, including exams, surgery and vaccinations. Look no further for a top-quality cat vet in Alexandria, VA. Call us today!

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