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Asthma in cats

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm going to ask this question again, because some of you might not have seen it under a different thread.

If anyone has a cat with asthma, please let me know how they confirm the diagnosis and what treatment your cat is receiving. I am almost positive my cat has asthma...he has all the coughing, choking, sneezing, wheezing, and phlegm that I read about - it's not hairballs. But apparently my vet is NOT familiar with asthma in cats. He was put on Prednisone (steroid) for early gum disease at 2 yrs. old and most of his asthma symptoms went away (that's how I finally figured it out myself!).

I'm just wondering if I should get a second opinion to confirm his asthma and if this drug is safe for long-term use. My vet at first said it could NOT be asthma, but I've read otherwise.

post #2 of 13
I think your vet needs a refresher course.

Feline Allergic Bronchitis resembles human asthma quite closely. It appears to be triggered by an allergy. Cigarette smoke, dust, kitity litter dust, various kinds of sprays and deodorizers used in the house, and probably other things as well can be the culprits. There are only 2 other illnesses listed as having similar symptoms -- pleural effusion and heart failure (pulmonary edema).

The problem is treated with bronchodialtors and cortisone -- just like human astham. Prednisone is the right stuff. It would help if you could find out what triggers the attacks. Try to think back to when the cat first exhibited the symptom, look around your house, check out your mopping, washing machine, dishwasher, or other cleaning chemicals and see if, perhaps, the cat has more attacks when you are doing one of those activities. Look at the litter you are using. Perhaps you need one that clumps instead of one that gives off a lot of dust when it is distrubed. It is the same kind of detective work you have to do when you have an asthmatic child. The cat could also be allergic to your bath soap or your hair shampoo or conditioner! Hair sprays could be another problem.

I suggest that if you vet is really ignorant of this problem, you might look around for a different vet.

The situation is deemed chronic and may require life-long maintenance treatment. If you are lucky, you will find the exact cause and be able to at least reduce the problem.

Let us know what happens and what your vet has to say. There are a number of vets and veterainarian nurses on this forum, and they will probably have more relevant advice that mine. I just have a lot of cats, and so far I am the only one who has asthama, altho several of my cats have had allergic reactions to a floor cleaner I was using briefly. When I didn't use it any more, the symptoms stopped. I also had to change the kind of litter I use because one of the cats reacted to the dust it made after a day -- sort of like concrete dust. I and my cat agreed -- it made me wheezy too!

Hope this helps.
post #3 of 13
My Jr. developed it at 10 months. He had all the same symptoms as your baby does. We did the same treatment and it worked along with the fact that I left my ex and there was no more stress. He only had one attack about 3 months after we split but for the last 5 years, nothing. I think you vet needs to read up on it or you need to find a vet that knows about it. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

post #4 of 13
My cat Mollie Rose has kitty asthma. She was diagnosed approximately 6 months ago. The vet told me there really isn't anything they can do for it. I am going to change litter brands again to the non-clay clumping called World's Best Cat Litter. I noticed last night that when she climbed up on the bed (I had my air conditioner on because it's been so hot) she immediately started wheezing. She had an upper respiratory infection and was treated with a shot of antibiotics with a steroid in it. I was giving her Ammoxicillin which didn't even touch it. I've had her on Clavamox pills for almost 2 weeks. It has helped the upper resp but she still has the asthma.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. Actually, there are two vets at the animal hospital my family has been using for about 30 years. The more experienced vet is not in that much any more. When the vet that was treating my cat was told of my conclusion, he did agree it was probably asthma, but got a little defensive about it. I have tried to figure out what sets off his attacks. Since he has them infrequently now, I notice it happens more when it's humid out - it tends to get very humid where I live. Actually, his attacks became more frequent as he got older - it started when he was maybe 7-8 months old. He would also get attacks at different times - sometimes right after he ate, other times he was cat napping and then started in. Either way, they want to keep him on the Prednisone since his gum disease had responded to the steroid shots he was given at first. His gums are still very red, though. I just can't figure it out. I do plan on trying another vet for their shots this time, so I'll get another opinion.
post #6 of 13
If it is very humid where you live, you might consider that he could be allergic to molds. On the other hand, once a cat gets bronchitis, it can become chronic because this illness alters the breathing tubes -- the longer the cat has the problem, the more permanent it becomes even without the allergic triggers.

The younger vet may just be kicking himself for not thinking of it or not responding to your earlier concerns. Too many and too regular shots may not be so great for the cat, either. Theophyllin (spelling?) can be given by mouth, and might be an alternative. Chronic bronchitis or asthma leaves a human or animal prone to chronic attacks from viruses and bacteria. Before my asthma was diagnosed, I was having bacterial pneumonia on average between 2 to 4 times a year. When my daughter had similar problems as a child, my first stop was an allergy specialist, and sure enough... Getting right on it before the situation damaged the brochial tubes meant that she never developed the more chronic problems that I did. One the astmatic symptoms are chronic, you have to treat them pretty much for life or suffer constant relapses.

This is one problem that has the same symptoms and treatment for humans and many animals.

Maybe you should try to make an appointment with the older vet?

Good luck
post #7 of 13
I am taking my daughter's new kitten to the vet on Saturday. I plan on asking him what I can do to treat Mollie Rose and see what he says. I do want to try changing litter brands first and steam cleaning my carpets to see if that will help.

Good luck in your quest.

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I do plan on visiting another vet or the more experienced one soon. I was thinking of the mold allergy too. I'm trying to remember, but I think he did have attacks all year, but worse in the warmer months. I'll have to pay more attention, since I didn't think it was an allergy to something in his environment. I had moved about two years ago (new carpeting, etc.) and his symptoms stayed basically the same. Donna, let me know what your vet says. Obviously, I don't know that much about asthma, since I don't know anyone who has it.
post #9 of 13

I asked the vet if they had kitty inhalers and she said no. Now I see in one of the posts that they do. Go figure. I'll let you know what my vet says.

post #10 of 13
There are vets and then there are vets, just as there are doctors and then there are doctors. As intelligent humans, we should be able to learn how to tell them apart. In fact we must, because many situations are a matter of life and death.

I have a wheezy cat, and it is past time I recognize that she may be reacting to allergies. I will see what my vets say, and then we will have one more piece of information for our collective thinking.
post #11 of 13

The vet took a chest x-ray of Mollie Rose. He said her brochial tubes aren't too bad but she definitely has asthma. Rather than take her home and give her pills, which is a slow start up to recovery, we decided it would be best for her to stay till Monday and get shots of steroids. This way is anything goes wrong (allergic reaction, etc.), they can monitor her. She's not a happy camper being there but it's for the best. I hope this helps her.

That's the scoop. I'm glad they decided on shots as the course of treatment. The vet said we would see an improvement almost immediately. The pills would take a while before we saw any improvement.

post #12 of 13
Mollie Rose is home from the hospital and looking good. She's acting like a kitten not a sick old lady which means she probably felt awful. She's been put on prednisone till it's gone. The vet said that it's just like a person with asthma. It's more prevalent in the summertime and less in winter. Makes sense.

post #13 of 13
...makes sense unless the trigger for the asthma is dust mites or molds, which is what gets me in the winter (flowers in the spring, molds in the late fall, but summer and early fall are usually my "clearest" seasons!!).

So glad your Mollie Rose is improved.
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