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Smoke Inhalation in Cats



At the outset, stabilization of the respiratory function and establishment of an effective airway will be the most important. Severe upper airway swelling or obstruction may require intubation or an operation to make an opening in the trachea.


Oxygen should be administered immediately after rescue from the fire to displace carbon monoxide from hemoglobin (the oxygen carrying pigment of the blood). It will be delivered by mask, hood, oxygen cage, or nasal line. After elimination of carbon monoxide, oxygen supplementation will be continued at 40 to 60 percent as needed. Fluid administration may be required in patients with shock to support cardiovascular function but should be conservative, if possible, to minimize a buildup of fluid in the chest. Blood or plasma transfusions may be necessary to add fresh red and white blood cells to the blood stream. Nutritional support may be needed to maintain body condition and immune status.


Living and Managment


Your veterinarian will want to carefully monitor your cat’s respiratory rate and effort, mucous membrane color, heart rate and pulse quality, the sound of the lungs, packed cell volume of the blood and total solids for 24 to 72 hours. X-rays will be repeated 48 hours after the initial treatment to ensure that the condition is resolving, and your doctor will also want to monitor your cat’s system for bacterial pneumonia, which is often a side-effect of damage to the lung tissue. Most patients will have some level of deterioration during the initial 24 to 48 hours after smoke exposure and then gradually improve, unless they develop bacterial pneumonia or acute respiratory response syndrome. Severe burns or organ injury are associated with a poor prognosis



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