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Respiratory drug dosing

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My cat Artemis was about a month old when we first saw her. I tried to adopt her mother, her mother rolled over and showed her engorged teats, and I thought "dammit, I've just adopted more than one cat." It took about three months before we could touch any of the kittens (although they settled into the apartment in less than a day). Artemis's sister Athena became quite friendly very quickly, but Artemis has been much more standoffish. I am the only person that she lets pet her. Artemis is now about 3.5 yrs old, and she's positively become a lap cat (still just with me). She's canny and suspicious, though. Not only does she always jump off of my lap if I sneeze, she's good at preventing me from doing anything with her that she didn't initiate.

She also has a chronic coughing problem. I actually didn't know it was coughing (it sounds so much like retching), but I knew it was starting to get worse so January 2nd I took her to the vet. The vet took an X-ray, and suggested that it was respiratory. We first tried laxatone (thick flavored grease that coats the gut), however, just to make sure that her problem wasn't hair balls. After a week of treatment with laxatone, there was no improvement, so the vet wanted to start corticosteroids in case it is an inflammatory lung problem. I bought prednisolone pills and tried to dose her. I failed. I called the vet, and he ordered a prednisone transdermal gel for me to put on her ears. This is easier, but it's still quite a bit of work.

I'm now restricting her feeding to twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. (Artemis was getting fat, but, since I didn't know what the coughing was, and because we humans are good at putting together patterns were none exist, I thought she made the awful noise more often when she didn't have free and constant access to food.) When I tried dosing her with pills, she was too good at getting out if we were just in the living room, but I could actually hold her in the bathroom, where she didn't see an escape route. I've kept their food in the bathroom since we moved to this apartment, so it seems like a really good system.

What I've tried to do is feed her in the morning, put the food up, and, when I get home, put the food in the bathroom, close the door when she enters, dose her, and let her eat.

I sat on the bathroom floor behind the door for over an hour last night. She cautiously slinked in, keeping her rear legs & tail on the outside side of the door, scooted backwards a few times, stepped forward again, and pulled the food and the food bowl closer to the door. I moved it more than one Artemis length from the door. When I sat on the toilet, about 20 minutes later, she quickly trotted in, came up in a very friendly manner and got some enthusiastic petting (the first time I'd been able to touch her in the 2 hrs I'd been home), grabbed some food, and got out before I got off the toilet. I was only able to grab her by sitting in the kitchen (food hidden in the fridge), when she finally jumped on my lap and I carried her into the bathroom, stuck gel in her ear, tossed treats on the floor, and put the food back out. I made sure that she only ate while I was very near the food (I put her food right next to me as I did dishes in the kitchen).

Any ideas on how to grab a super-canny suspicious cat quickly and easily?

I have an additional question: has anyone here used aerosol drug delivery for their cat? I've seen the Aerokat website. If the corticosteriods work, I really don't like the idea of dosing her for the rest of her life, and I know that direct delivery of drugs has reduced systemic side effects, and would prefer to dose her that way, if it's the kind of thing that she wouldn't mind too much. Any ideas how much aerosol drug delivery bothers cats?
post #2 of 8
I'm sure it varies by cat, just like it does with kids.
The issue with the aerochamber is that the cat has to inhale deeply, several times to get full benefit (just like with kids). Since my Zoey was a pain and held her breath when the vet was trying to sedate her for surgery, I would almost guarantee that it wouldn't work on Zoey.

Personally, I would think the nebulizer would work better. Someone had a pretty good setup - using a large, clear plastic container to hold the cat, a cutout to feed in the aersol medication. You would have to leave the cat in there for 10-15 minutes or so..... I'd have to put the nebulizer arund the corner as Zoey hates the noise.

But I have to agree about aersol vs oral meds to reduce side effects.
post #3 of 8
One of mine--Charlie---has asthma and has the coughing you describe. She extends her neck and coughs, with her head going from side to side. About a year ago, one of the vets finally did an x-ray and saw the inflamation. She gets a dose of 1cc MPV (steroid) when she has a cough fit. Usually works for the whole week. It's delivered in Pet Tinic which isn't too bad tasting. Her brother Jeffery is skittish though and if he needed something like this...there is no way I could give it to him.

But with the Pet tinic, you can at least mix it with the food and it addresses the inflammation. Charlie's asthma may be much more mild than what you are describing though and perhaps the liquid medication wouldn't be enough.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
oooh, Mom of 4, that version of aerosol delivery sounds quite disruptive. Maybe there's a good reason that my vet hasn't suggested it.

The fact that other people have been able to reduce the dosage on the corticosteroids sounds hopeful; I realize that my vet didn't actually say that Artemis would necessarily need daily dosing for the rest of her life - I think that was an assumption on my part.

Thanks for the responses, Mom of 4 and lauraG!
post #5 of 8
Im sorry I dont have any added info for ya, but I wanted to send you and your kitty some !! Get well soon!!
post #6 of 8
Sounds like Asthma to me. Sometimes Coco gets a Pred Shot for her Asthma. Pred Pills she spits out. We talked about the in haler think too but she hs been ok with teh Shots and Pills. Last Shot was in Aug when her Asthma got real bad.
post #7 of 8
Originally Posted by Enuja View Post
oooh, Mom of 4, that version of aerosol delivery sounds quite disruptive. Maybe there's a good reason that my vet hasn't suggested it.

The fact that other people have been able to reduce the dosage on the corticosteroids sounds hopeful; I realize that my vet didn't actually say that Artemis would necessarily need daily dosing for the rest of her life - I think that was an assumption on my part.

Thanks for the responses, Mom of 4 and lauraG!
Charlie had a schedule for the first week that included 1 cc every other day, so a total of 3 doses. Then it was to be once a week for the next few weeks, after which it was "as needed."

I've only needed it about once a week. The vet suggested maybe reducing it to 1/2 cc twice a week as a preventative since she's always needed the medicine at least once a week.

I've considered getting one of those halo vacuums too. It kills dust mites. I wonder if she's allergic to that. I have no idea why she developed the asthma.

She's a cooperative cat, but I'm guessing something over her face wouldn't work.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
So, I took a bath last night for no reason other than to trap Artemis in the bathroom so I could dose her. I'd grabbed her, and she'd gotten away, earlier in the evening (I've successfully grabbed her several times; I just failed this time), so she was being particularly cautious. If I take a bath, put the broom on the floor, and the cat food up on the bathroom sink counter, I can close the door with the broom handle while she's eating.

Last night, she was meowing and rubbing up against an imaginary me just outside my reach. She really wants attention, but she really, really, doesn't want me to grab her and put goop in her ear. I've been trying to give her treats after I dose her, but about half the time, she's just not interested (and when she's interested, its in the treat I've slid in her direction on the floor; she doesn't want to get anywhere near me while we are in the bathroom).

I could just leave her in the bathroom 24/7, but I'm trying to improve her quality of life.

I'm also going on vacation March 21-April 1. Usually I'd just have people put food out for the cats, but now I'm going to need to have a cat dosed! If I, the only person Artemis lets pet her, have to take a bath to dose her, can anyone else possibly do it? Am I going to have to board her while I'm gone? Would shutting her in the bathroom the entire time I'm gone and paying a cat-competent person to dose her be a better solution?

I am going to talk to my vet this week about how the transdermal gel is working (good but not great; her coughing fits are much, much less often, and maybe going away as the corticosteroid treatment continues; it may be to early to tell), and I'll bring up my upcoming scheduled absence with him.

Again, any advice is welcome, I just wanted to share the sheer hilarity of taking a bath to dose my cat.
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