Feline asthma is the chronic inflammation of the airways in the lungs of cats. Feline asthma in cats is thought to affect one in every twenty cats. When asthmatic cats breathe in allergens, an immune response is triggered that causes inflammation which leads to irritation, swelling, and subsequently muscular constriction of the airways, making it hard for oxygen to reach the lungs thereby causing difficulty breathing.
Feline asthma triggers
Common feline asthma triggers include tobacco smoke, aerosol sprays, household chemicals, grass, pollen, dust, mold, mildew, fireplace smoke, perfume, candle smoke, certain foods, and pre-existing illnesses. There are other conditions that may contribute to feline asthma in cats. They include parasites, extreme stress, heart conditions, pneumonia, obesity, etc.
Feline asthma symptoms
Some cats have more severe asthma than others. The symptoms exhibited by cats with feline asthma include: breathing difficulties, rapid breathing, wheezing, coughing, vomiting, chronic coughing, weakness, lethargy. It is very common for a cat exhibiting feline asthma symptoms to squat with hunched shoulders and neck extended and cough or breathe very rapidly.
How Is Feline Asthma Diagnosed?
Feline asthma is diagnosed by listening to breaths with a stethoscope, performing chest x-rays, and collecting samples to determine if asthma is actually what is wrong with your cat.
Feline asthma is usually only diagnosed conclusively when other conditions with similar symptoms are ruled out. Feline diseases that may have similar symptoms to feline asthma include respiratory infections, feline heartworm, lungworm, etc.
Feline asthma treatment
Vet doctors typically prescribe corticosteroids while treating feline asthma. The job of corticosteroids is to reduce inflammation in the lungs. It can also be taken alongside bronchodilators, which helps to dilate the airways. Corticosteroids may be used alone to great effect, however; bronchodilators cannot be used alone as they don’t treat the airway inflammation that causes asthma.
Most other drugs and procedures for treating feline asthma have achieved mixed and inconclusive results. So many experimental therapies come to mind. Firstly, there is desensitization to specific allergens which works just like allergy shots taken by humans. Another one is the use of omega-3 fatty acids, and drugs whose objective is to disrupt the metabolic pathways that lead to inflammation.
They all show some promise although it is imperative that further research is carried out to perfect them and prove their efficacy and safety.
Stem cell therapy is another treatment method that has been gaining popularity because of its high success rate.
Feline asthma life expectancy
There is no cure for asthma, however, cats living with asthma can have high-quality lives provided they receive proper medical treatment and their feline asthma is well managed.
Veterinary clinics to visit
There are several good veterinary clinics but I will personally recommend Stemcellsafari, animal hospital in league city, and veterinary clinic in league city. They stand out especially with regards to quality services provided, level of staff commitment, the expertise of vets, and quality and sophistication of equipment used there.