Just like humans, cats are prone to asthma - a chronic inflammation of the small passageways in the lungs. The causes of feline asthma aren't widely understood; in some cases, it may be a response to cigarette smoke, household cleaning chemicals, or synthetic fibres. Allergic reactions to pollens, just like people, are also plausible. Although the condition is incurable, with the correct care and medication, it's easily manageable, and asthmatic cats are free to lead happy, bouncy, slinky and vibrant lives.
What is feline asthma?
Feline asthma happens when the smooth muscle in the airways contracts, leading to inflammation of the airway tissue, and excessive mucus production. Narrowed airways follow these symptoms, and your cat will soon find difficulty in breathing. This experience can be distressing for your pet. In the event of an attack, remain calm, administer any veterinary prescribed medication, and ensure your cat is in a quiet area with proper ventilation. If the attack is severe, contact your vet ASAP. And If a trip to the veterinary clinic is necessary, try to prevent further stressing of your cat as this can worsen symptoms. Open a window and allow in the fresh air as you journey.
- Blue lips and gums
- Rapid or laboured breathing
- Frothy mucus
- Squatting low to the ground with hunched shoulders and neck stretched
- Persistent cough accompanied by choking (similar to hairball gagging)
- Gaping mouth
- Neck extended upwards
- Overall lethargy and debility
- Throat gurgling sounds
- Rapid swallowing
Anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids, reduce the inflammation that kick-starts symptoms, and bronchodilator medication helps to widen a feline's air passage when needed. Delivery of drugs comes through an inhaler. In this case, be sure you are clear on how to use it - obviously you can't ask your pet to breathe deeply! Medication can also come in tablet or injection form. When cats haven't responded to other therapies, Antihistamine drugs are a viable alternative. Nutrition for a happy, healthy cat. Although asthma is incurable, providing your cat with a nutritionally complete and balanced diet will go a long way to ensuring your pet is fit and healthy. This overall wellbeing will give her the energy and stamina to cope with whatever the condition throws at her.
Good health starts with good nutrition. To keep your asthmatic cat otherwise healthy, try Vitalin’s Premium Kitten and Cat Food Range.