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Can Cats Have Asthma?

While we may not think of asthma when it comes to cats, it affects 1-5 percent of them. The signs and symptoms of asthma in cats, as well as the causes and treatments available, are discussed today by our Douglasville veterinarians.

Asthma in Cats

You might be wondering how you'll find out if your cat has asthma. Coughing and wheezing are usually the first signs of an asthma attack in your cat. Hunching close to the ground with their neck extended forward is another sign that your cat is trying to expel a hairball.

If your cat is having a full-blown asthma attack, you'll probably be able to see their sides going in and out as they work hard to breathe, and they may be drooling or coughing up mucus. Needless to say, your cat may feel very threatened as a result of all of this.

If you notice that your cat is having difficulties breathing, contact your vet immediately for assistance or call your nearest animal emergency hospital for assistance.

Signs & Symptoms of Feline Asthma

Some other signs that your cat may be having an asthma attack include:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Difficulty breathing, or increased effort to breathe
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Blue lips and gums
  • Persistent coughing or gagging
  • Overall weakness
  • Body hunched close to the ground with neck extended forward
  • Frothy mucus while coughing
  • Gurgling sounds from the throat
  • Increased swallowing

While sleeping, asthmatic cats may have rapid breathing. While resting or sleeping, your cat should take between 24 and 30 breaths per minute. Contact your veterinarian or the nearest animal emergency hospital if your cat is taking more than 40 breaths per minute.

It's important to keep in mind, though, that snoring or breathing loudly while sleeping does not always indicate that your cat has asthma. If you're concerned about your cat's breathing, however, you should always consult your veterinarian.

Causes of Asthma in Cats

So, what causes a cat to have an asthma attack? The most common cause of asthma in cats is inhaling an allergen, but it can also be caused by increased stress levels. Allergic reactions in cats can be triggered by a variety of allergens, including:

  • Dust mites
  • Grass
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Mould
  • Pollen
  • Some foods
  • Cat litter dust
  • Household cleaning products

A genetic predisposition, a pre-existing heart condition, pneumonia, obesity, or even parasites are all underlying conditions that can contribute to the severity of a cat's asthma attack.

Asthma Treatment for Cats

Is there anything I can give my asthmatic cat to help him breathe? When your cat is diagnosed with asthma, your veterinarian may prescribe corticosteroid medications to reduce lung inflammation and a bronchodilator to help dilate your cat's airways and make breathing easier. Any of these drugs can be prescribed by your veterinarian as an injectable, oral medication, or inhaler. Depending on your cat's overall health, the vet may prescribe a corticosteroid medication alone to treat his or her asthma; however, bronchodilators are not typically used on their own because they do not treat the inflammation that causes asthma attacks.

The prognosis for Cats with Asthma

What is the life expectancy of a cat with asthma? Asthma in cats is an incurable and often progressive disease, which means that if your cat has asthma, he or she will most likely have flare-ups regularly, with severity ranging from mild to life-threatening.

In contrast, asthma in cats can be managed with a little extra attention from pet parents and the use of appropriate medications. Monitoring your asthmatic cat's respiratory effort, keeping an eye out for coughing, and intervening with medication as needed can help him live happily for years.

What to Feed Cats with Asthma

What should an asthmatic cat eat? If you believe the food you're feeding your cat is causing or exacerbating your cat's asthma symptoms, talk to your veterinarian. Because obesity raises your cat's risk of an asthma attack, feeding high-quality, vet-recommended food and assisting your cat in maintaining a healthy weight can help to reduce asthma symptoms and the severity of asthma attacks. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best diet for your cat and calculate how many calories you should feed him each day.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat showing signs of asthma, contact our Douglasville vets today. Our compassionate vets are here to help your pets.

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At Kay Animal Hospital, we can't wait to welcome you and your four-legged friend into our veterinary family. Learn more about the services we offer and the difference our care and compassion make by booking your first appointment today!

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