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Asthma in Cats




In cases of acute asthma episodes, emergency treatment may be required, and if so your cat will be hospitalized until the crisis is over. Oxygen therapy will be started immediately, along with administration of emergency medications to open the airways. Narrowing and constriction of the respiratory passages due to swelling is often present, so your veterinarian will give medicine to relieve the swelling so that your cat can breathe normally. Steroidal medications, and other anti-inflammatory drugs are the most commonly prescribed. After the emergency is over, a future treatment plan will be devised. For some cats, removing the inciting factor is all that is required, but others may need life-long therapy for this condition. This disease can be progressive in nature. If your cat has chronic bronchial problems, your veterinarian will advise long-term medical therapy.


Living and Management


You may need to change your home environment in deference to your cat’s health needs. Air fresheners must be avoided, as well as indoor smoking, chemical sprays, and cat litter that is too fine. There may also be some foodstuffs that will need to be avoided (i.e., ingredients that are added to some cat foods, or table foods). Your veterinarian will advise you on the appropriate foods for your cat and assist you in planning a long-term diet. Also, in chronic cases, you should be mentally prepared for life-long treatment. Talk to your veterinarian in detail and ask questions about things you are not clear about. Recurrence is common and can quickly lead to death unless it is treated promptly. You will need to be especially observant with your cat, so that if you notice it coughing or breathing uneasily, you can treat it with the medicine that has been prescribed, or take it to a veterinary hospital for emergency treatment. Otherwise, follow your veterinarian’s prescribed guidelines concerning diet and dispensation of medicine.


A word of caution: therapy for asthma or bronchitis should never be stopped due to the absence of symptoms.



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