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Severe Asthma in cat - need suggestions!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My co-worker's cat is having a real hard time with her asthma right now. Again. She was taking Angel to the vet tonight again because the inhaler and steroid pills just aren't working for poor Angel.

Angel's had these periods where her asthma has reared its ugly head 4 times now. Kim has eliminated candles, scented anything, kept windows closed, changed filters in the furnace, everything she can think of. Angel does have an inhaler that they use during the attacks, but Angel gets so bad that she drools and her lips and tongue turn blue. Kim can't stay with her all day, of course, but does go home at lunch to check on her, and rushes home at the end of the day too. Yesterday she found her in a puddle of drool and blue, even with doing the inhaler at lunch (less than 5 hours later).

I know there are some other people whose cats have asthma. Have you ever had episodes this bad? Is there anything else that she can do to help Angel besides what the vet suggests tonight?
post #2 of 14
I don't have any answers but you might want to give her this website (if she hasn't visited it already) and she can email the site owner to see if she has any other suggestions.
post #3 of 14
Coco has bad Asthma sometimes but she never drooled from it. I just took her to the Vet on Monday because he has a Cold and that makes her Asthma get out of control. Has her Cat got the Depro Midrol Shot for the Asthma. It has helped Coco when she is so bad. I do notice when my Asthma acts up Cocos does too. She is Allergic to alot of stuff. Sounds her Cat has it worse. Has her Cat ever threw up from Coughing so bad. Coco has done that and pants when it gets real bad. How old is the Cat? I hope something will help?
post #4 of 14
How long has her Cat had Asthma? Mine has had it for Years. Coco will cough up alot of muscus too when it act up and hunches forward. You can Pm me if you want. There are times she would cough for months when it got bad. Dhe had the Pred Pills too.
post #5 of 14
My cat Charlie has asthma, but it isn't as severe as your friend's kitty. She gets a dose of a liquid steroid in Pet tinic to control the inflammation in her lungs.

My theory is that before I got the kitties, I had new carpet installed in an area of my house. They scotch guarded it. I wonder if that is responsible for her developing asthma. Kitties are closer to the ground, so it could affect her more.

You may want to suggest a humidifier in the house. Maybe the moist air would help. When the heat is on and the humidity is low, then an individual with asthma might have a harder time.

I assume she doesn't smoke and that no one in her house smokes. If they do, however, that would be an obvious thing to stop.

She may need some ongoing treatment rather than just the inhaler to control the asthma beyond just the attacks. Others have mentioned prednisone. MAybe they have kitty advair?
post #6 of 14
Which steroid inhaler is she using, and what's the dosage she has her on? Frequently vets don't prescribe a high enough dosage to work properly. Most cats with serious asthma need to be on at least 440 mcg a day of the Flovent before it's really effective. I know I had to really fight my vet to get Harvey up to the proper dosage. He was having attacks every day, but once we got his dosage up the attacks stopped completely. On his last X-ray you couldn't even see the asthma.

Also, what kind of spacer is she using to administer the inhaler? We were at first using a pediatric spacer with Harvey, but the effectiveness of the meds got a lot better after I ordered an Aerokat, which was developed for cats.

Also, what kind of litter does she use? Harvey's asthma was defintely much worse when we used clay-based litters.
post #7 of 14
Coco isnt on Clay Litters either. She uses unscented Yesterdays Mews. I sure hope something works for her Cat.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately since she's at home with Angel, Kim's daughter is ill this afternoon so she isn't here.

I don't know the doses of the meds. The vet gave her the steroid (I presume Prednisone) in liquid form last night, as well as Amoxicillin since the vet suspects that Angel may be developing pneumonia. As for the spacer, she doesn't actually use a formal one. On the advice of her vet, she places a bag over Angel's head and puffs the inhaler into it. A poor-man's spacer, I guess.

Up until now, she has been doing the inhaler only when Angel has a flare up, which have usually been months apart. After the last one, when Angel was pretty bad for more than 3 days straight, her vet gave her the steroids for the next time. This time is much worse than ever before. After they got home from the vet, a few hours later Angel had the worst attack yet. Kim really thought that they were going to lose her.

As for the environmental things. She has hardwood throughout the house, I believe, except for a runner up the stairs. No one smokes. I believe the litter she uses is Tidy Cats. She does run humidifiers (that's almost a must for everyone here in Colorado - it's SO dry in the winter!).

The pattern so far with Angel hasn't been consistent, which makes it hard to track down what the causes are.

At this point too, if y'all could send healthy and good breathing vibes to Angel. She's a beautiful little long-faired calico, and her person is actually Kim's 9 year old daughter who would be devastated to lose her. Just hearing Kim talk about it, I'm really worried about Angel. It's really bad.
post #9 of 14
Little Uno has had asthma for 3 years now and I don't recommend the depo mederol shot too often as it has the potential side effect of causing diabetes. I use the Aerokat and a Flovent inhaler and he is doing great. I am wondering though if they have thought of any allergies that would cause the asthma. Uno is allergic to chicken, so when he gets a food that has any smallest amount of chicken in it, he has bad attacks. Since we have eliminated chicken from his diet, he has had only a few rare attacks. You may want to suggest a allergy problem could be the route of all evil for this poor kitty. I will keep my thoughts out for her kitty and a solution to the problem-hope it comes soon!
post #10 of 14
I had a friend with an asthmatic cat who used an AeroKat inhaler. It would certainly be worth looking into. There is a link on the AeroKat page for 'where to buy' info. I think they are made in the UK, but I'm not 100% sure about that.
post #11 of 14
My Vet said the Depro Midrol Shot can not be used more then 2 times in a year because it can cause the Diabetis. I hope the Cat will be ok. Coco can not use tidy cat it sets her Asthma off bad. Cocos last Shot was in Aug when her Asthma got out of Control. She had a Very bad Cold then. She now has another Cold. I took her to teh Vet Monday to try to stop it before it get real bad again. How long has teh Cat had Asthma? Coco has had it since she was about 4 or 5 I guess but they thought it was Bronchitis at first until my Vet here took a Xray and the Asthma showed up in it.
post #12 of 14
I forgot to add Coco can not have Fish. That starts her Asthma off.
post #13 of 14
Sorry, I misread your initial message...I thought she was getting inhaled steroids, too, not just the rescue inhaler for attacks. (The dosage information applies to inhaled steroids, not the pills.)

It could be that the steroid pills aren't working as well anymore. That happened with Harvey after a while with the depomedrol steroid shots. He needed them closer and closer together and he'd still get attacks even right after he'd gotten one. That, and the concern that he'd develop diabetes, was the reason we switched to an inhaled steroid. He did much, much better on the inhaled steroid. She may want to consider that as a long-term solution (the inhaled steroid will prevent attacks but won't stop them once they've started). The only downside is that they're expensive, since they're human medications and there's not currently a generic option.

I can't imagine how she manages to get a bag over the cat's head to administer the inhaler! That can't be easy, or especially pleasant for Angel. It doesn't seem like it would be as effective as the spacers, either. She might want to invest in an Aerokat. They're about $50 and you can order them online from the manufacturer in Canada.

She might want to change litters, too, and see if that helps. I know Harvey couldn't go near Tidy Cat.

There's a very knowledgable Yahoo group on Feline Asthma & Respiratory Diseases that I was a member of. It's a good group of people and they have more experience and information than I do. She might want to think about joining and seeing if they have advice. You have to be approved by the moderator to join, but I think they pretty much accept anyone who has a cat with these problems who is serious about learning more about it.

I'm sending lots of healthy, good breathing for Angel...and some calming for Kim and her daughter. I went through the process with Harvey and I know how frustrating and upsetting it can be.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'll definitely tell her about the inhaled steroids to talk to her vet about. And definitely give her the link to the Aerokat - it would have to be much easier than the bag! I know we looked for that option when Angel was first diagnosed (thanks to this forum, I told her that it sounded like feline asthma while her vets were still trying to treat it as a URI - they had a moment when she asked them about it), but the ones we found at that time were like $200! Or at least that's what her vet was going to charge her for it, if I remember right.
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