Asthma in cats: symptoms, causes

Asthma that affects cats is almost similar to asthma that affects humans. It is an inflammation that limits the passage of air from the trachea to the lungs. In the event of an asthma attack, these passages thicken and narrow, making it difficult for air to pass through. This often leads to breathing difficulties, which can worsen within minutes. The lungs may begin to become concentrated with phlegm and mucus causing severe coughing and wheezing. Some cats with mild cases may only experience a mild chronic cough. Since asthma can become a serious problem for the animal, it will be a good idea to go to the vet and have a complete examination of our cat’s bronchi.

Symptoms and causes of this disease

Among the various symptoms for asthma we can certainly find:

  • cough and wheezing
  • persistent cough
  • the cat assumes a squatting position with the shoulders hunched, the neck leaning forward and breathing becomes rapid or the animal makes an effort to breathe
  • production of foamy mucus
  • breathing with the mouth open
  • blue lips and gums
  • shortness of breath following exercise
  • general weakness and lethargy

What will be the cause of asthma in cats?

While we are all aware that asthma in cats can be caused by multiple factors, it is believed to be allergic bronchitis. Allergic bronchitis occurs when the airways in the cat’s lungs become inflamed following the inhalation of substances that cause allergic reactions and stimulate the immune system. Common factors that can contribute to the severity of an asthma attack include:

  • allergens (pollen, mold, dust)
  • parasites
  • extreme stress
  • obesity

Symptoms of asthma in cats can also cause other diseases including heartworm disease, lungworms, tumors, and respiratory and heart failure.

Asthma occurs in adult cats with incidence in females and in Siamese and Himalayan breeds. Since there are no diagnostic tests that are 100% valid, the veterinarian will have to establish that the presence of asthma is unequivocal and unrelated to other pathologies; X-rays, blood tests, evaluation of bronchial secretions and tests are done to check for parasites. Since there is no definitive cure for asthma we will be able to find paliatives such as homeopaths that will reduce the inflammation of the airways or modify the response of the cat’s immune system. As with human asthma, the drug is sometimes given to the animal through a specially adapted inhaler.

Finally, remember that no cat should be exposed to cigarette smoke. But if the cat suffers from asthma, cigarette smoking must be strictly avoided.

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