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Feline Asthma...........Any Experiences??

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi All.......

I'm trying to get some information on Feline Asthma........I've done lots of research, but would like to hear personal experiences.

Here's the deal.......my Simba was diagnosed on Tuesday with Chronic Feline Asthma. We never knew this even existed until Monday night when I noticed him coughing/gagging and wheezing. The x-ray on Tuesday showed long-standing asthma in his lungs that the Doc said has likely been there for years (in short, his lungs looked terrible!). He's just never had symptoms until now.

We started him on Cyproheptadine and antibiotics, but had to add Prednisone yesterday as he's still wheezing & coughing terribly. Tu rule out a heart condition, an Echo was done on Wednesday and the cardiologist called back yesterday to say his heart is fine.

Anyone have any experience with this? If so, how severe was/is it for your kitty? How is it treated? As you might imagine, I've lost alot of sleep worrying & listening to my poor boy wheeze and gag. He didn't eat for 2 days and just last night I was able to get him to eat 2 jars of baby food. I'm hoping & praying to see some improvement in the near future.

Anyone with experiences or input on this, I'd love to hear from you.......thanks!
post #2 of 16
Angie, I'm so sorry to hear about Simba. How on earth are you getting his pills into him???

There's a Yahoo group for feline asthma. Have you checked that out? I'm on my work computer right now and don't have the link, but will send it later if you can't find it.

Katy's had mild asthma for years. Her symptoms when she was first diagnosed sound a lot like Simba's, but maybe not as severe. She would have coughing spells, but I honestly don't think she wheezed. It seemed to me that most of her noisy breathing came from her head or sinuses.

She was on pred for a few months which very definitely helped, but we eventually weaned her off and she'd only have a few coughing episodes periodically, but not bad enough to go back on pred. Of course, she's been on pred for the last 2 years for her IBD. Right now though, we're weaning her off pred and onto Leukeran because of her waxing and waning pancreatitis. So, I'm hoping that once she's off pred her asthma won't flare up again.

I hope you get Simba's symptoms under control. ***Hugs*** to you.
post #3 of 16
I don't have much to add, but to say good luck. (My Jordan possibly has a mild case of asthma but he's never needed any treatment. He'll cough occasionally & once in a while wheeze for a few minuets)
post #4 of 16
I'm sorry about Simba's diagnosis. My Harvey has moderate asthma. He'd have attacks daily without medication, but none of them have been severe. (It is really heartbreaking to hear him go through one, though.)

We controlled his asthma for a long time with occasional depomedrol injections. Depo is a long-acting steriod. Over time, though, he became less responsive to the depo and I started getting very concerned about the potential side effects of the steroids. So, last October we changed him over to an inhaled medication. He now gets Flovent twice a day and albuterol as needed through a special inhaler.

I was pretty reluctant at first about the thoughts of giving him an inhaler. He's a very, VERY shy, skittish cat and I thought the inhaler would stress him out too much. Turns out, though, that he's really been very receptive to it. It was an adjustment at first, but I think that in time he realized that it was making him feel better. He's pretty stable now and only has attacks occasionally.

There's some great information on feline asthma on the Web. Here are some links to sites I found especially helpful:
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/felineasthma/ - this is the Yahoo group DebsKats mentioned
http://www.felineasthma.org/ - this is the feline asthma group's informational site

Feel free to PM me with any questions, or if you just need a little moral support.
post #5 of 16
Uno too has asthma and at first we tried all the steroids, injections and tablets. The problem with them is that they can lose their effecacy over time and the injectable can cause diabetes in some cases. We switched to the inhalers and those were working quite well as long as he was tolerating it. We did some research as well and found that he was allergic to chicken-a main meat base to most cat foods, once we switched him off of chicken he really has not had any flare ups at all-you may want to check into possible allergies for Simba-might be the source of his asthma. Give a kiss to poor Simba!
post #6 of 16
Eric has had mild asthma since 2000. At first he was on the depo medrol injections and then switched to prednisolone pills. He currently gets 1/2 pill per day. I recently tried again to reduce his dosage to 1/2 pill every other day. After two weeks he started coughing so it was back to the old routine. I've never hear him wheeze badly. He has to be sitting in my lap for me to hear the rough breathing and that doesn't happen as long as he's on the prednisolone.

After 7 years on prednisolone Eric developed a high blood glucose level in January. So far I've been able to control it with a high protein, low carb all wet diet.

Good luck and hugs to you and Simba. I hope you can find the appropriate medication for him.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much, everyone, for the input and well wishes ! It really is a big help to hear others' experiences with this. My vet & I did discuss the inhaler but because Simba is a rescued feral, we're not sure he'd be the best candidate. Even getting pills into him requires alot of stealth and covert planning . Not to say we won't go there if we need to..........we haven't ruled it out.

They started him on Pred pills which is not quite as fast acting as the injection. He's been on them for 2 days now, so I'm hoping things will start improving more as the weekend progresses. He's eating better now, so that's always a relief.

Thank you so much, Tari, for the links......those are a big help and much easier to read than some of the articles I've run across so far that required a veterinary dictionary to get through .

Thanks again, all !!!
post #8 of 16
My Wellington has been on Prednisone for over a year for asthma - he started on one tablet a day until his symptoms seemed clear - about a month, then we slowly cut him down to the lowest possible dose to control things - now he takes a quarter tablet every other day, and almost never has an attack. Some cats seem worse in summer, others in winter - it depends what sets them off - cold air, pollen, dust can all cause an attack.
post #9 of 16
MY RB kitty Gaby had asthma for years. She lived to be 15 yrs old and died of something else. (long story)

She was on Brethine and sometimes Pred. if she had a flare-up. You can do alot to help by using air purifiers, no dust litter etc. just like you would treat human asthma.

Good luck with Simba, you can definately get this under control and contain his flare-ups.
post #10 of 16
Originally Posted by jennyranson View Post
My Wellington has been on Prednisone for over a year for asthma - he started on one tablet a day until his symptoms seemed clear - about a month, then we slowly cut him down to the lowest possible dose to control things - now he takes a quarter tablet every other day, and almost never has an attack. Some cats seem worse in summer, others in winter - it depends what sets them off - cold air, pollen, dust can all cause an attack.
Exactly. We've just been through a severe bout with our puppy girl, Sandy, and Sasha had asthma as a kitten but it cleared up at age 2. Sandy just got off Prednisone...and it's funny that you are in the Houston area...because both our climates have excessive MOLDS from such high humidity (ours cold/yours hot). We actually went to Home Depot and bought a DE-humidifer to dry out the house and it's been great. Also, clean the air ducts in your house and filters; toss out if you can and get any hypoallergenic bedding if he sleeps with you, and try to get the best possible and purist food contents, organics and natural brands are good with the least amount of fillers (anything called "meal"), etc.

I will be very curious to hear how the Prednisone works. It literally saved Sandy's life. It got so bad, her breathing shut down and we almost lost her the night she hit rock bottom. She is superdog now - you'd never know she was so sick this winter.


Keep us posted!
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Just want to say thanks again to all who posted to let me know of your experiences with Feline Asthma. It has been such a big help and has given me a lot to consider, research, & discuss with my vet.

Simba has been on the Pred for a week now and is doing much, much better. He only coughs rarely, and his wheezing has all but stopped. He'll be on the Pred for another month, gradually tapering down, and then we'll work on finding the lowest possible dose to keep the asthma under control. He goes back in a month to re-evaluate & at that time I'll ask about keeping an inhaler on hand. He's also eating well again.

Thanks all!
post #12 of 16
Phoebe has had asthma for years; we first found out when she had a full blown attack which required a full day in an oxygen tent and steroid injection. We started her on pred tablets twice a day until I decided to try to inhaler. What a difference the inhaler has made! She get flovent once a day and albuterol as needed when she begins to cough. She just had her first bad attack in years this week, so off to the vets we went. All she needed was a couple of hours of oxygen and a pred injection and was able to come home in a few hours. The vet wanted to take a chest xray just to make sure it wasn't her heart, which it wasn't.

The inhaler is so much easier than having to pill her twice a day. Some cats take longer to take to it than other, but Phoebe doesn't seem to mind. The only time I have trouble is when she is having trouble breathing and I am trying to give her the albuterol. Kind of hard to breathe with an inhaler in your face!

Check out the inhaler here: http://www.aerokat.com/Animal_Health/ah_aerokat_fac.asp
post #13 of 16
Just so you know, feline heartworms can cause the same symptoms and can cause damage to the lungs, giving it the appearance of asthma. If your kitty has not been tested, it maybe a good idea to do so. Most of the time, a cats antibodies can kill the worms. Its the times that they don't you have to worry about. A lot of vets dont test for feline heartworms. It was just a very recent study that reveiled a fair portion of cats who had been diagnosed with asthma, turned out to be heartworm positive. Just something you may want to look into.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Shorty14788, the heartworm test was the first thing my vet did along with the x-rays, and it came back negative, thankfully.

Pokey318, I'm definitely going to ask about the inhaler at his next visit. I've read nothing but positive feedback on it. My only concern is that Simba is semi-feral so we're just not sure it would work well with him. I've actually been able to pill him with few problems so I'm hoping I could get him used to the inhaler, as well. I would feel better having it around, just in case he were to have another bad attack. Were you able to stop giving the Pred completely & just use the inhaler as the sole treatment?
post #15 of 16
I have only used the inhaler for the past five years. The couple of times she has had a full blown attack, a trip to the vet for a shot and some oxygen has done the trick without having to give oral meds.

The other thing I have done is for when I have to leave town. Usually a kid from the neighborhood comes in daily to scoop litter and refill food and water. Phoebe was also a feral cat and doesn't like outside people so no one can give her her inhaler except our family. She really can not go too many days without her inhaler, so she get a shot from the vet of a long acting steroid. This is usually good for about 10 days and allows me to go on a week vacation without worrying about her having an attack while I am gone. I never do this more than twice a year as it is a heavy dose of steroids, but it really helps her out. Of course she just got a shot this week due to an attack and I have to be gone three times this summer where I will need to give her an injection. One of the trips is only for 3 night and if she is looking good before we go I might just skip that one; she should be ok for 3 night, but might be a bit tight by the time I get home.

If your cat has chronic asthma, I would look into the inhaler. I just had a problem with Phoebe hiding when it became pill time and missing a few time getting the pred all the way down her throat. Has your cat ever bitten into a pred pill? They start foaming at the mouth and spitting everywhere-the pill is very bitter!!
post #16 of 16
Wow! It is amazing how I learn so much here, more than from my vet. Jumpy was recently diagnosis with mild asthma. The vet said he has chin acne which is a common symptom of allergy. I asked whether it was possible to cure the asthma but unfortunately, he never gave me a straight answer nor gave me any plans on treatment. Jumpy got an injection, I think it was depomedrol: some sort of anti-inflammatory medicine. He gave me clavamox to take home to give him. Supposedly, this should do the trick on the mild asthma, but I have doubts.

As for the chin acne, he suggested to use diluted hydrogen peroxide to clean the area.

He suggested to use a no dust or low-dust litter. After trying so many litters out, scoopaway is the only one that my both cats like. The vet said scoopaway is a good low-dust litter.

I thought I am the one allergic to cats. I guess I can be allergic to him so I got him an air purifier too!
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