Feline Asthma

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Feline Asthma

For any of you that have a cat dealing with this issue I wanted to address this from a personal standpoint. Let’s first take a look at the disease itself. Feline Asthma has been called by many names, including chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, and allergic bronchitis. Regardless of the name, it is a common feline ailment.

Inhaled allergens cause sudden contraction of the smooth muscles around airways, leading to typical  clinical symptoms. It is usually impossible to determine which allergens cause asthma in individual cats, but common ones include grass and tree pollens, cigarette or fireplace smoke, various sprays (hair sprays, deodorants, flea sprays, deodorizers), and dust from cat litter. It is found in all areas of the world and in all ages of cats. It exists in about 1% of cats. The most common symptoms in cats are wheezing and coughing. The coughing has been described as a dry, hacking cough that could be confused with gagging or retching. Many cats are misdiagnosed as having hairballs.

Feline asthma is a chronic progressive disease that cannot be fully cured. Medications can reduce the symptoms of asthma a great deal, but may not be able to eliminate coughing completely. The most effective treatment is an inhalant such as the one humans use. A mask and spacer system called Aero Kat, has been invented to enable cats to use inhalers or puffers. This system is similar to the one used on babies. I can tell from firsthand experience that my cat Lulu was asthmatic for at least 5 years using the Aero Kat system and did very well on it. It got to the point that she looked forward to it, I assume due to the relief it gave her. So if you have a cat with asthma do not despair. Lulu lived until October 2014. She was 19 years old. If you are suspect of your cat having asthma please see your veterinarian.

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