Feline asthma is a chronic swelling and irritation of a feline’s airway. In severe cases, the condition can be fatal and should be treated as soon as possible. Spotting asthma in felines requires that you assess the cat’s general health and look for signs that it is having trouble breathing. Once you suspect that your cat may have asthma, you should have it looked at by a veterinarian and begin treatment. With a little bit of effort on your part, and with the help of your veterinarian, you can spot and treat asthma in your cat.
Monitor your cat.
When a cat has an asthma fare up, the cat’s airway will swell and constrict. This can make breathing difficult for the cat. However, because cats tend to hide any ailments they have, it may be hard to spot this problem. Your cat might have asthma if it shows any of the following symptoms:
Persistent coughing that’s not associated with “hacking a hairball, Wheezing, especially while breathing out
A crouched position while wheezing or coughing
Watch for symptoms in adult cats.
Cats are not typically born with asthma, as it is thought to be caused by an immune response to allergens the cat inhales. Your cat may develop asthma between the ages of 1 and 8; however, most cats are diagnosed between the ages of 4 and 5. Pay closer attention to your cat in these years if you feel it is at risk for asthma.
If you have a Siamese cat, you will want to be on the lookout for any symptoms after your cat turns 1 and definitely keep an eye out when it’s between the ages of 4 and 5. Siamese cats are more likely to develop asthma than other breeds.
Take your cat to a veterinarian.
If you suspect your cat to have feline asthma, take it to be seen by a veterinarian. The veterinarian will do a thorough exam and will pay special attention to your cat’s respiratory system.
Do not try to diagnose your cat if you do not have the right credentials. You may end up misdiagnosing and incorrectly treating your cat.
Approve veterinary testing.
While there is not one specific test for diagnosing asthma, there are a variety of tests that your veterinarian will use to come up with a diagnosis. Using radiographs, bronchoscopy, and computed tomography, in combination with tests of cells from your cat’s lungs, your veterinarian will be able to evaluate your cat’s lungs and the extent of its condition.
A bronchoscopy is a procedure that is used to view the inside of your cat’s airway. It will allow the veterinarian to examine all the parts of the cat’s respiratory system.
In very rare cases, computed tomography, commonly called a CT scan, may be used to give a detailed image of your cat’s airway.
Follow your veterinarian’s treatment suggestions.
Depending on the extent of your cat’s condition, treatment will vary. Your veterinarian may prescribe corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and make it easier for your cat to breath. However, these are not typically used for long-term treatment. They may also prescribe bronchodilators, which open up the airway and are commonly used to control asthma.
Your veterinarian may give your cat a dose of the medications they prescribe right away. After that first dose, it will be your responsibility to continue its treatment at home.
Both corticosteroids and bronchodilators come in a variety of different forms. Your cat may be prescribed an oral, inhaled, or injected medication.
Keep your cat indoors as much as possible.
Cats can become allergic to many of the same things that impact humans. Outdoor allergens like tree pollens, grasses, ragweed, and mold may trigger your cat’s asthma, so try to keep your cat indoors where you can better control the environment.
Clean your home regularly to minimize indoor allergens.
Unfortunately, cats with asthma may also suffer from indoor allergies to dust mites, molds, or mildew. Vacuum and dust as much as possible in order to remove indoor allergens.
If you have carpet, it’s especially important to vacuum regularly.
Purchase dust-free cat litter.
The dust from cat litter is one of the most common and problematic triggers for asthmatic cats. Check for a dust-free litter at your pet supplies store or online.
Be careful with “all natural” litters made out of things like wood chips, as your cat could also be allergic to one of these substances.
Do not smoke anything around your cat.
Smoking around a cat with asthma may make their condition worse, and it could even be fatal to a cat with severe asthma. Because it is believed that asthma in cats is caused by environmental allergens, smoking around your cat could cause your cat to develop this condition. Thus, even if your cat doesn’t have asthma, it is a bad idea to smoke around it.
Use unscented products.
Scented litter should not be used for cats with asthma. Also eliminate the use of scented home products, such as perfume, air fresheners, and hairspray if you have a cat with asthma.
If you need to freshen the air in your home, consider using a non-scented air purifier instead of scented products. This will have the added benefit of clearing pollen out of your home in addition to freshening it up.
Control your cat’s weight with diet and exercise.
Excess weight can make your cat’s asthma worse, as obesity alone can diminish your cat’s respiratory health. It can increase your cat’s blood pressure and put unnecessary stress on its respiratory system. In order to avoid this, be sure not to over-feed your cat and make sure that it gets daily exercise.
Play with your cat often to give it consistent exercise. This does not need to be strenuous exercise, but it should get your cat’s blood flowing and its respiratory system engaged. Having it exercise in this way will strengthen it’s lungs and improve its breathing over time.
However, be careful to not overexert your cat. Keep an eye on it and if you see signs that it is having trouble breathing, discontinue your activity