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Cat Asthma: Symptoms & Treatments

Our Murfreesboro vets often examine cats suffering from asthma that's brought on by inhaled allergens. In this post, we'll list some of the most common symptoms of asthma in cats, and what to do if your cat has an asthma attack. 

Can Cats Have Asthma?

In a word, yes. Wheezing and coughing are often the first symptoms cat parents notice if their kitty is experiencing an asthma attack. You may also see that your cat is hunching close to the ground and extending their neck forward as if trying to rid themselves of a hairball. 

In more serious cases, you will notice that your cat's sides are contracting as they work harder to breathe, and that your cat is coughing up or drooling mucus. 

When your beloved cat is having such challenges breathing, you're bound to be both frightened and stressed, and so is your kitty. If you notice that your cat is having problems breathing, contact your vet right away for help or call your nearest emergency animal hospital. 

Signs & Symptoms of Asthma in Cats

Here are some common signs and symptoms of asthma in cats:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased swallowing 
  • Hunched body with extended neck 
  • Open mouth breathing 
  • Persistent gagging or coughing 
  • Wheezing
  • Blue lips and gums 
  • Frothy mucus while coughing 
  • Gurgling sounds from throat 
  • Overall weakness 

If your cat is breathing rapidly while sleeping, this may be another sign that your cat is having an asthma attack. Your cat will normally take between 24 and 30 breaths per minute while at rest. If your cat is taking more than 40 breaths per minute, asthma may be the culprit. Contact your vet immediately for help. 

Another important note: Breathing loudly or snoring when resting doesn't necessarily mean that your cat has asthma. That said, it's always best to contact your vet for advice if you're concerned about your cat's breathing. 

Causes of Asthma in Cats

It is not unusual for cats to cause allergic asthma in people, but what causes asthma in cats? Asthma in cats is frequently brought on by increased stress levels or the inhalation of an allergen. Some of the most common allergens to trigger asthma attacks in cats include:

  • Grass
  • Dust mites
  • Mould
  • Pollen
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Household cleaning products
  • Some foods
  • Cat litter dust

Aside from inhaled allergens, conditions such as pneumonia, obesity, parasites, a pre-existing heart condition, or a genetic predisposition could play a role in the severity of your cat's asthma.

Treating Asthma in Cats

If your cat appears to be experiencing an asthma attack, you may be wondering what you can give your cat to help, but it's important to have your cat's breathing difficulties diagnosed before administering any treatment. If your cat is struggling to breathe, contact your vet right away, or visit your nearest animal emergency hospital for care.

If your cat is diagnosed with asthma, your vet may prescribe treatments such as corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in your cat's lungs, and possibly a bronchodilator to help dilate their airways and make breathing easier. These medications can be prescribed in the form of an injectable, oral medication or as an inhaler fitted with a mask designed for use with cats.

Life Expectancy for Cats with Asthma

Asthma is generally an incurable and often progressive condition in cats, which means that your cat with asthma is very likely to experience periodic attacks throughout their lifetime. These asthma attacks can range in intensity from very mild to severe or life-threatening.

That said, by keeping a watchful eye on your cat's respiratory effort, looking out for the symptoms listed above, and intervening with the prescribed medication when needed, you can help your asthmatic cat to live a long happy life.

Diet & Cat Asthma

If you believe that a change of diet could help to manage your cat's asthma symptoms, consult your vet. Helping your cat to maintain a healthy weight, while ensuring that all of their nutritional needs are met, is a terrific way to help your cat stay healthy.

But what should you feed your cat with asthma? Speak to your vet to learn which food is best for your cat, based on your kitty's medical history and overall health.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat having problems breathing. or have you noticed signs of asthma? Contact our Murfreesboro vets right away.

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