Although it isn’t something people usually consider when it comes to their pets’ health, up to 5% of cats suffer recurring breathing difficulties caused by feline asthma. Without proper treatment, it can progress into a life-threatening condition. Palencia Pet Clinic in St. Augustine, FL, thinks you should be aware of the causes and symptoms of asthma in cats so you’ll be ready to seek appropriate treatment if your pet begins to exhibit the signs of it.
Feline Asthma: What is it?
Asthma in cats is an allergic reaction to a foreign substance, called an allergen, being breathed into the lungs, causing a narrowing of the breathing passages in the lungs due to inflammation and swelling. Common allergens your cat might be exposed to include pollen, dust mites, grass, cleaning chemicals, smoke, dust, and mold. Some types of cat food can also trigger asthma. When your cat ingests an allergen that it is sensitive to, their body reacts by producing antibodies to fight the intruder, causing the production of mucus and inflammation of the lung tissues, leading to swelling and constriction of the airways. The average age of cats at their first diagnosis of asthma is between four and five years of age. There is no permanent cure for asthma. Cats that suffer from it will likely have periodic episodes ranging from mild to severe for the rest of their lives. Stress can often induce or aggravate a flare-up. However, feline asthma can be successfully managed with ongoing treatment.
Common Feline Asthma Symptoms
The most common symptoms of asthma in cats are breathing difficulties characterized by wheezing, coughing, and dry heaving with their body hunched and close to the ground. Other symptoms include:
- Rapid breathing
- Blue gums and lips
- Breathing through the mouth
- Coughing up frothy mucus
- Constant swallowing
Other medical conditions can also cause these symptoms, so it’s very important to have your cat tested and diagnosed for feline asthma so they can receive the proper treatment.
Treatment of Asthma in Cats
Once your vet has diagnosed your cat with asthma, they will most likely prescribe corticosteroid medication to reduce the inflammation and swelling in the lungs and possibly a broncho inhaler. With medication and care, your cat’s asthma can be successfully managed and they can enjoy a normal and happy life.