Does Your Cat Have Asthma?

November 25, 2020 11:17 pm Published by

Cats and asthma are a dangerous mix. Much like with humans, feline asthma can lead to many emergency vet visits and serious health conditions if it’s not treated. That’s why it’s important to know whether your cat has asthma and understand the causes of asthma in cats in Alexandria, VA. Here are five symptoms of asthma in cats every cat owner should look out for to preserve their pet’s health:

  • Age: While many cat owners equate health problems with their feline friends getting older, asthma shows itself early in a cat’s life. Most cats who show symptoms and later receive an asthma diagnosis are two to eight years old. Asthma is also more prevalent in female cats and Siamese and Himalayan breeds, and mixes with these breeds are more vulnerable to developing asthma.
  • Labored breath: When playing with your cat, watch how they behave after exertion. If their breath is labored and they seem to be gasping, chances are they are developing asthma, or at the very least are suffering a respiratory infection. Both are dangerous to cats, so it’s a good idea to take your cat to the vet if you notice any signs of labored breathing after they play or zoom around your house.
  • Coughing and wheezing: Persistent coughs are not normal for cats. While respiratory allergies are possible, cats normally sneeze or sniffle with those conditions, rather than cough. Be especially wary if your cat coughs or gasps for breath while squatting with their shoulders hunched and neck extended. This latter posture is definitely a sign that your cat needs to see their vet soon.
  • Open-mouth breathing: Cats normally only open their mouths to breathe if they have asthma, a cold or a respiratory infection. Your cat likely needs antibiotics if they show these symptoms but don’t eat because they can’t smell their food. But if they show foamy mucus at their nose or mouth, along with blue gums and lips, it is likely asthma and must be treated soon.
  • Lethargy: Cats suffering from asthma are lethargic and often weary. If your cat’s activity suddenly decreases and they show signs of labored breathing, asthma is a distinct possibility. However, lethargy and overall weakness also indicate other serious illnesses, so this symptom alone calls for a vet examination.

What causes asthma in cats? Usually, it’s caused by allergic bronchitis, which is when cats develop inflamed airways due to inhaled allergens and other substances. The inflammation is an immune response similar to that experienced by humans who suffer hay fever. However, dander, stress and environmental sensitivities to pollens, molds, cat litter dust, perfumes, smoke and even ingredients in cat food can lead to asthma and allergies. This becomes more likely if your cat suffers from a pre-existing heart condition or other serious illness.

Does your cat have asthma? The only way to know for sure is to visit your local cat clinic. Kingstowne Cat Clinic is your cats-only veterinary clinic in Alexandria, VA. If you notice your pet has the symptoms of asthma in cats, call us today to schedule a wellness exam.

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