How To Treat Cat Asthma

Feline Asthma: What You Need To Know

When it comes to cats, asthma is a condition of the lower airways that affects between 1 and 5 percent of the population. However, despite some disagreement over the terminology, the vast majority of doctors and researchers believe that feline asthma is caused by an allergic reaction to inhaled allergens, which are particles that trigger the cat’s immune system. When a sensitive cat inhales an allergen for the first time, her immune system responds by producing antibodies that are unique to that antigen.

These immune cells subsequently stimulate the creation of chemicals that cause inflammation, resulting in irritation, edema, and tightness of the airways as a result of the disorder.

All of these processes interfere with the capacity of air to flow through the airways, resulting in the cat having trouble breathing as a result.

There does not appear to be a difference between the sexes when it comes to asthma, and although some studies have shown that Siamese cats may be predisposed to asthma, this has not been established conclusively.

  1. The severity of these indications can vary, ranging from acute respiratory crises to persistent, low-grade coughing, higher respiratory rate, and increased respiration effort.
  2. A distinctive posture of many cats during an asthma attack is to slump their bodies close to the ground and stretch their necks forward in a hunching position (Figure 2).
  3. Instead, veterinarians rely on information collecting and testing to come to a conclusion about a patient’s condition.
  4. Cat asthma can be diagnosed using radiography (X-rays), computed tomography (CT), and bronchoscopy, all of which allow veterinarians to view into the cat’s lungs and assess the state of the cat’s lungs.
  5. It is also possible for trapped air to cause the lungs to become overinflated and seem bigger than normal on a radiograph if the airways are restricted.
  6. During bronchoscopy, a flexible camera (called a bronchoscope) is passed down the airways of the lungs through the mouth and into the airways of the lungs.
  7. Heavy sedation or general anesthesia are required for this procedure.
  8. It is possible that significant numbers of inflammatory cells might be detected in cells collected from the airways of cats suffering from asthma; however, these cells can also be discovered in cats suffering from other respiratory disorders.

Chronic bronchitis, lungworm infestation, migration of other parasites into the lungs, as well as other infectious diseases that result in pneumonia, can all produce signs and test results that are similar to those found in a case of feline asthma, according to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Treatment For feline asthma, doctors will typically give corticosteroids to decrease inflammation in the lungs, as well as bronchodilators to widen the airways, either alone or in combination with other medications.

Although corticosteroids can be used alone to treat asthma, bronchodilators are often not used alone since they do not address the airway inflammation that causes asthma.

Experimental therapies for feline asthma, such as desensitization to specific allergens (similar to allergy shots in humans), the use of omega-3 fatty acids, and drugs intended to disrupt the metabolic pathways that cause inflammation, have shown some promise, but more research is needed to refine them and demonstrate their safety and effectiveness in felines.

ProspectiveFeline asthma is frequently a progressive disorder that does not improve considerably over time, and afflicted cats may undergo periodic asthmatic flare-ups that range in severity from moderate to life-threatening.

Although cats can never be completely “cured” of asthma, owners may help their asthmatic cats live happily for years by carefully monitoring their respiratory effort, keeping an eye out for coughing, and intervening with medicine when they need it. July 2014 (updated):

Cat Asthma: What It Is, Symptoms To Look For, And How To Treat It

This essay is part of a series on Cat Asthma that you can find here. Here is the link to the whole Guide on Cat Asthma. Is it possible for cats to have asthma? In fact, cat asthma affects between 1 percent and 5 percent of all cats, which is a higher proportion than you may expect. Asthma in cats may range from moderate to life-threatening, so it’s vital to be aware of the signs and have your cat checked out as soon as possible if you feel they may be suffering from the illness. Continue reading to learn more about cat asthma, including what it is, how to recognize it, and how to treat it.

What Is Cat Asthma?

Cat asthma, sometimes known as feline asthma, is a condition that is remarkably similar to human asthma in that it is characterized by persistent inflammation of the airways in the lungs. Similar to asthma attacks in people, asthma attacks in cats are frequently brought on by allergies or even stress. The inhalation of allergens by cats suffering from asthma initiates an immunological reaction that leads in inflammation, which results in irritation of the airways, swelling, and muscle constriction of the airways 2.

Once this reaction is triggered, it makes it extremely difficult for the cat to take in air.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of Cats With Asthma?

Unfortunately, there is no ‘cure’ for asthma; it is a chronic illness that requires lifelong management. Cats with asthma, on the other hand, may enjoy normal and active lives if they receive correct medication and their asthma is well managed. Typically, cats acquire asthma between the ages of two and eight years, depending on the severity of the condition. 3

How To Tell If Your Cat Has Asthma

It is possible to have cat asthma symptoms that are minor or severe, depending on the severity of the condition. Your cat may exhibit one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

1. Heavy/rapid breathing

When cats are at rest, their usual breathing rate is around 25-30 breaths per minute 4. You should be concerned if your cat is taking more than 40 breaths per minute (when not playing or enthusiastic), since this might be an indicator of asthma.

2. Fatigue/lethargy

Some cats get sluggish after playing, while others breathe more heavily than normal after having fun. Lenticular behavior in cats is thought to be an indication of low oxygen levels in the blood, which can be caused by restricted or enlarged air passageways. 6.

3. Breathing through the mouth

Occasionally, you may notice that your cat is panting or that they are breathing through their lips.

Cat Asthma Attack Symptoms

If you have an asthma attack, you may experience any of the symptoms listed below. 7

1. Squatting position with neck extended

During an asthma episode, your cat may adopt a stance in which their neck is stretched upwards and their body is low to the ground in order to receive as much air as possible.

2. Blue lips and gums

It is likely that your cat would adopt a stance with their neck stretched upwards and their body low to the ground during an asthma episode in order to receive the most air possible.

3. Wheezing

If your cat is having difficulties breathing, it is possible that they are wheezing.

An asthmatic wheeze is a whistling or rattling sound produced when it is difficult for air to move through the air passages. Most of the time, this indicates that the passages have become bloated and/or restricted.

4. Coughing/hacking

During an asthma attack, your cat may cough or hack, which indicates that the condition is progressing. Cats cough differently than humans; it will sound like your cat is trying to pass a hairball rather than a coughing fit.

Causes of Cat Asthma

In and of itself, cat asthma is not caused by a single factor; cats of both sexes and of all breeds are vulnerable. Unexpectedly, the Siamese and Himalayan breeds had greater incidence of infection. In the case of a cat with asthma, however, there are a variety of potential triggers that might be producing episodes. 9. The following are examples of common triggers:

  • Pre-existing diseases or health difficulties may be exacerbated by cigarette smoke, mold, dust, grass and pollen, household chemicals, perfume, aerosol sprays, and other factors.

In the majority of cases, your cat will begin to exhibit symptoms within minutes of being exposed to the trigger.

How Is Cat Asthma Diagnosed?

Chest x-rays, listening to your cat’s breaths using a stethoscope, and collecting samples are some of the ways your veterinarian will use to assess whether or not your cat has asthma. Cat asthma, on the other hand, is typically only diagnosed after all other possibilities have been ruled out 10. Some illnesses that may have symptoms that are similar to each other include:

  • Heartworm in cats, respiratory infections in cats, lungworm in cats, foreign bodies in cats

Special tests may be performed by the veterinarian to determine whether any of these conditions is the source of the symptoms. Taking a video of your cat coughing might assist your veterinarian in determining whether or not the cat has asthma.

Treating Asthma In Cats

In order to determine if any of these disorders is the root cause of the symptoms, your veterinarian may perform specific tests on you. Recording your cat coughing and sending it to your veterinarian will help him decide if he has asthma.


Corticosteroids, often known as glucocorticoids, are the most commonly recommended medications for the treatment of feline asthma. Airway decongestants are medications that assist to decrease inflammation in the airways. They are available as oral, inhalation, and injectable medications. Similarly to human children with asthma, inhaled corticosteroids are favored because they directly target the airways and reduce inflammation. When compared to oral or injectable steroids, inhaled medicine requires less medication and does not induce the same systemic adverse effects.

This specifically constructed aerosol chamber for cats collects and stores the drug, making it easier for the cat to take in the prescribed dosage of medication.


Bronchodilators are medications that help to open up airways that have gotten constricted, and they are particularly useful in emergency circumstances. Due to the fact that they do not address the underlying inflammation that causes asthma, bronchodilators are frequently referred to as “rescue treatment.” Bronchodilators, which are similar to corticosteroids, are available in inhaled formulations that, when used in conjunction with theAeroKat* chamber, target the airways directly and provide quick relief.

Preventing Attacks

In addition to administering drugs to your cat to treat their asthma, there are a number of things you can do to assist avoid episodes, including:

  • Smoking should not be done around your cat
  • Respiratory Infections. Avoid spraying perfumes, scented items, or aerosols on yourself or others. Cat litter that is odorless and low in dust should be used. When at all feasible, provide your cat with a well-ventilated habitat.

When To Take Your Cat To A Vet

If you have reason to believe your cat may be suffering from asthma, it is advisable to be cautious. Take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible before the condition worsens. In the event that your cat is coughing or wheezing, this might be an indication of a significant health problem that needs to be addressed right away. Following an asthma episode in a cat, do the following steps:

  • Maintain your composure. If your cat senses danger, he or she may become even more agitated. Administer a bronchodilator or medicine (if one has been prescribed) to the patient. Change the location of your cat to a cool, well-ventilated space
  • Take your cat to the vet for an examination.

The first step in safeguarding the safety of your cat is to get familiar with the signs and symptoms. Read on to learn more about theAeroKat* chamber and how it may aid in the safe and successful administration of your cat’s medicine. Take the Feline Asthma Assessment to determine whether or not your cat has asthma. Take the Quiz to find out more. Take the Quiz to find out more.

  1. This article is titled “Feline Asthma: What You Need To Know.” Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 20 July 2014. “Asthma Symptoms in Cats,” accessed on June 3, 2019, from the Internet. “Caring for a Cat with Asthma | Feline Asthma,” according to WebMD, accessed on June 3, 2019. “Feline Asthma: What You Need To Know,” according to Blue Cross, accessed on June 3, 2019. Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 20 July 2014.
  2. Accessed on June 3, 2019
  3. Ibid.
  4. “Caring for a Cat with Asthma | Feline Asthma.” “Caring for a Cat with Asthma | Feline Asthma,” according to the Blue Cross website, accessed on June 3, 2019. “Asthma Symptoms in Cats,” according to Blue Cross, accessed on June 3, 2019. WebMD, accessed on June 3, 2019
  5. Paul, Mike, Dr., accessed on June 3, 2019. Hairballs are one of five tricky conditions that you could mistake for another. In “Feline Asthma: What You Need To Know,” Pet Health Network published an article on April 19, 2016, which was accessed on June 3, 2019. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. July 20, 2014. Accessed June 3, 2019.
  6. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
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Cat Asthma: Symptoms and Treatments

The condition of the lower airways, asthma, is considered to affect as many as 5 percent of all cats, according to some estimates. Even though there is some disagreement on what causes cat asthma, the majority of specialists believe it is caused by an allergic reaction to something the cat inhales. When a cat inhales allergens, the immune system may respond, causing inflammation in the affected area. Inflammatory cells may grow in the airways and release substances that further exacerbate the condition of the airways.

Symptoms of Cat Asthma

Some cats suffer from more severe asthma symptoms than others. Asthma in cats manifests itself in the following ways:

  • Excessive wheezing and coughing, as well as vomiting and coughing over an extended period of time
  • Weakness and lethargy

Breathing difficulties; rapid breathing; wheezing; coughing or hacking; vomiting; chronic coughing; weakness; lethargy.

Causes of Cat Asthma

Although there may be other contributing variables, allergies are believed to be the most common cause of feline asthma. It is an inflammatory reaction to allergens that causes this condition. If a cat or kitten is allergic to a specific allergen, the immune system may produce chemicals that induce inflammation in the airways of the cat or kitten’s respiratory tract. Airways become inflamed and constrict, resulting in breathing difficulties and even death. Additionally, allergies can irritate the lining of cats’ airways, resulting in bronchitis and increased mucus production.

These are some of the allergens that are recognized to be asthma triggers in cats:

  • Cigarette smoke, aerosol sprays, household cleaners, dusty kitty litter, pollen, dust mites, mold, mildew, fireplace smoke, candle smoke, certain foods

Other illnesses, such as the following, may exacerbate the symptoms of asthma in cats:

  • Parasites, extreme stress, heart issues, pneumonia, and obesity are all possibilities.

Is it true that some cats are more prone to asthma? Asthma may affect any cat at any time. In addition, genetics may have a role, but there hasn’t been enough study done to know for sure. According to some study, Siamese cats are more prone to asthma than other cats. However, we do not know for certain whether particular cat breeds are more prone to asthma than others. The likelihood of developing asthma in cats that spend a significant portion of their time outside is higher than in indoor cats.


When a cat is healthy, coughing and wheezing are quite rare. If you suspect that your cat or kitten has asthma, or if you are concerned about any of the symptoms, you should consult your veterinarian immediately. Keep a note of when you first see the symptoms growing, as well as the specific symptoms that your cat is experiencing. Make a note of any changes you make to your diet, kitty litter, or other goods you use that might be causing your cat’s asthma. It is necessary for your veterinarian to inquire about your cat’s medical history as well as do a physical examination, which will involve listening to your cat’s lungs and heart.

Because cat asthma and kitten asthma can sometimes seem like other conditions such as heart failure or lungworms, your veterinarian may wish to do a number of tests to rule out other possibilities.

In the absence of a particular test to detect feline asthma, your veterinarian will depend on information gathered from you, physical examinations, and several tests to arrive at a diagnosis. A range of tests, including the following, may be performed by your veterinarian:

  • It is rare for healthy cats to have coughing or wheezing. Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect your cat, kitten, or dog is suffering from asthma or are concerned about any symptoms. Record when you first see the symptoms emerging as well as the specific symptoms that your cat is suffering from. Make a note of any changes you make to your diet, cat litter, or other goods that may be causing your cat’s asthma. During a physical examination, the veterinarian will listen to your cat’s lungs and heart to determine whether or not he or she is suffering from any illnesses. Any symptoms or changes that you are concerned about will be brought up by the medical professionals. Some disorders, such as heart failure or lungworms, can mimic the symptoms of cat asthma or kitten asthma, therefore your veterinarian may recommend a range of tests. In the absence of a particular test to diagnose feline asthma, your veterinarian will depend on information gathered from you, physical examinations, and several tests to arrive at a conclusion. A range of tests, including the following, may be performed by your vet:

The X-rays and CT scans will be used to assess whether or not the lungs are irritated or have changed in size, as well as whether or not there are any blockages. The fact that heartworm illness in cats can manifest as asthma-like symptoms such as coughing fits leads to heartworm disease being misdiagnosed as asthma in many cases. When you have your cat undergo a heartworm test, you can rule out heartworms as the source of his or her symptoms.

Treatments for Cat Asthma

While there is currently no cure for asthma, it is possible to treat it successfully. Your veterinarian will prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids, to help alleviate the swelling. Breathing problems can be made worse by drugs called bronchodilators, which assist to widen or open the airways. The following are other methods for preventing cat asthma or alleviating asthma-like symptoms in your cat.

  • Obesity reduction by a healthy diet
  • Elimination of allergens
  • Stress reduction

Other natural and alternative therapies that may be considered include:

  • Allergy desensitization
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Medications to reduce the probability of inflammation
  • And other treatments

Inflammatory medications to reduce the probability of inflammation; allergy desensitization; omega-3 fatty acids

Preventing Cat Asthma Attacks

When symptoms begin to appear, get medical assistance as soon as possible. This will aid in the prevention of more serious disorders. The greatest strategy to keep your cat from having an asthma attack, on the other hand, is to utilize the medicine that has been given for illness control. Some home care methods, such as the following, may also help to prevent asthma symptoms:

  • Using kitty litter that produces little dust
  • Exercising caution while using aerosol cleaning products and deodorizers
  • Refraining from using strongly scented home cleaners
  • Smoking should be avoided around your cat, and the use of candles and a fireplace should be minimized, as any smoke can be irritating to them.

If your cat is suffering from an asthma attack, provide any emergency medicine suggested by your veterinarian and seek medical assistance as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

Asthma and Bronchitis in Cats

Feline asthma affects a significant percentage of cats, and it is frequently accompanied with bronchitis in these cats. Although formally defined as an acute or chronic inflammation of the airways, asthma is connected with a variety of physiological outcomes, including the following:

  • Airway narrowing/constriction
  • The ability of airway constriction to be reversible
  • The presence of inflammatory cells inside the airways
  • Increased reactivity to unpleasant stimuli.

Feline bronchitis is a word that refers to the coughing and/or wheezing that occurs as a result of inflammation in the lower airway. A common misconception is that asthma and bronchitis are two distinct symptoms of the same illness. Alternatively, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be used to refer to this syndrome (COPD). It is possible that certain agents will cause an inflammatory response in the cat’s airways if the cat’s airways are sensitive to those agents. As a result, the cat will experience bronchial spasms, increased mucus production, and possible accumulation of mucus in the airways if the cat’s airways are sensitive to those agents.

Chronic airway blockage may cause air to become trapped in the alveoli, the smallest air tubes in the lungs, causing over-inflation and lung damage.” Coughing is a notable discovery since there are only a few causes of coughing in cats, making it a significant finding.” Among the most frequent indicators of feline asthma and bronchitis are coughing and respiratory distress, which may include trouble breathing, shortness of breath, and mouth breathing with the mouth open.

Coughing is a notable discovery since there are only a few causes of coughing in cats, making it an important finding. Coughing cats take a sitting stance with their necks stretched when coughing. These cats will also wheeze from time to time, which may be quite audible if you are close to the cat.

Are some cats more likely to get asthma?

Smoking and bronchitis are most typically found in cats between the ages of two and eight years, with Siamese cats appearing to be at higher risk for having this illness condition than other breeds. Cats that are overweight or obese are also at a higher risk of having chronic respiratory diseases. Dental illness raises the likelihood that bacteria will be transferred from the mouth to the lungs and cause a dangerous secondary infection to develop.

What causes feline asthma and bronchitis?

It is not understood what causes the inflammation that is linked with feline asthma and bronchitis in humans. It is preferable to think about triggers that increase inflammation and induce asthma and bronchitis symptoms instead of avoiding them altogether. The following are examples of triggers:

  • It is still unknown what causes the inflammation that is linked with feline asthma and bronchitis. When considering asthma and bronchitis triggers, it is preferable to think about things that increase inflammation and create symptoms. For example, the following might be a setback:

What are the signs of asthma and bronchitis?

Chronic coughing, or coughing that lasts for more than a month, is the most noticeable symptom in the early stages of the disease. Coughing is typically characterized as ‘dry’ or ‘harsh,’ and nausea is prevalent following coughing. Coughing up a hairball might have the appearance of a hairball. It is possible that the cat may have less energy as the condition worsens, and that he or she could have difficulties breathing. It is possible that the pet’s breathing may become loud, and that he or she will wheeze while exhaling.

Cats suffering from asthma or chronic bronchitis seldom experience a fever, and their appetite is typically unaffected.

How is asthma diagnosed?

In order to diagnose asthma and bronchitis in cats, it is necessary to rule out other diseases that cause respiratory indications in the animal. Infectious pneumonia (fungal, bacterial, parasitic), feline heartworm disease (cats are hosts for the parasite that causes canine heartworm disease), primary lung parasites, and cancer are among the illnesses that affect cats (either a lung tumor, or one that has metastasized, or spread, to the lungs from elsewhere in the body). “Diagnosing asthma and bronchitis in cats necessitates the exclusion of other disorders that manifest themselves through respiratory indications.” A complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistries, a fecal exam, and a urinalysis will all be performed as part of the diagnostic process.

One form of white blood cell, the eosinophil, is frequently connected with allergic reactions or parasitic illness, and the presence of this cell supports a provisional diagnosis of asthma in certain patients.

In some circumstances, specific tests will be done on stool samples in order to check for signs of lungworm infestation.

  • Test for heartworms. Performing this blood test on any coughing cat is highly recommended since it can be dangerous. In combination with feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) testing, this procedure is frequently carried out in cats. When it comes to assessing the general health of the cat, these tests are really useful.
  • Thoracic radiography is a type of radiography that examines the lungs and aorta (chest X-ray). The radiographs of the lungs of cats suffering from asthma and bronchitis demonstrate a number of distinctive alterations. Radiographs can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of different lung and heart illnesses. For example, feline heartworm illness and lungworm disease both produce particular suggestive lesions that may be detected on radiographs
  • For example,
  • Bronchoscopy in conjunction with cytology and/or culture is recommended. Anesthesia is required for bronchoscopy, which is normally performed by a specialist and which allows the veterinarian to see into the airways of an anesthetized cat using a tiny fiber optic scope. It is possible to extract samples of mucus and cells lining the bronchi for study under a microscope and for cell culture
  • However, this is not recommended.
  • Lavage of the trachea. A thin, flexible, sterile catheter is introduced into the region being studied after the pet has been sedated or anesthetized. A little quantity of sterile fluid is forcedfully pushed into the affected region and then quickly suctioned or aspirated out again. Muscle mucus and a limited number of cells have been retrieved from the recovered fluid, which may be cultivated for bacteria and viewed under a microscope.

Despite a comprehensive and thorough diagnostic work-up, a single underlying cause cannot be found in the vast majority of instances.

Many cats can have an acceptable quality of life even if the underlying cause cannot be determined. Medical treatment can help many cats achieve this.

How is asthma treated?

Despite a comprehensive and thorough diagnostic work-up, the majority of cases do not have a single underlying cause. Many cats can have a fair quality of life even if the underlying cause cannot be discovered because of medical intervention.

  • Keeping triggers at bay. There should be no triggers that increase the respiratory difficulties in cats with this diagnosis. This includes experimenting with different kinds of cat litter, removing cigarette smoke from the home, avoiding dust accumulation, and utilizing air filters/purifiers, among other things. It is critical to pay special attention to any environmental elements that may aggravate or worsen the illness
  • Otherwise, the condition may deteriorate.
  • Bring the body’s state back to normal. Cats that are overweight or obese suffer from systemic inflammation, which can exacerbate feline asthma and bronchitis while also increasing the stress on the heart and lungs. The ability to maintain a healthy bodily state is essential for success.
  • Bronchodilators. In order for the cat to be able to move air more easily in and out of the lungs, bronchodilators are utilized to open up the airways and allow for more free movement of air. They are commonly delivered in the form of an inhaler (for example, albuterol/salbutamol, marketed under the trade name Ventolin®). Using them regularly, as prescribed by your veterinarian, will ensure that they are successful.
  • Corticosteroids. When administered to cats suffering from respiratory distress due to asthma or bronchitis, corticosteroids have powerful anti-inflammatory effects and can give significant relief. A cat may benefit from an injection of a long-acting corticosteroid (such as Depo-Medrol®), which can provide relief from symptoms for many weeks to several months. To try to restrict the effects of the steroid to the lungs and reduce unpleasant side effects, a cat may be administered a brief course of oral corticosteroids (prednisolone) in conjunction with an inhaled corticosteroid, such as fluticasone (brand name Flovent®), to treat the condition. Another type of combination bronchodilator-corticosteroid inhaler is available, which contains fluticasone in addition to the bronchodilator salmetrol (brand name Advair®).
  • A nutritional profile that is hypoallergenic. In order to determine whether or whether a meal that is either less allergic or genuinely hypoallergenic may aid the treatment of your cat’s asthma, you should consult with your veterinarian. It takes time for nutrition to have an effect on cats suffering from asthma and bronchitis, but it has the potential to reduce their need on medicine.
  • Acupuncture for medical purposes. Neuro-modulation through medical acupuncture may be a treatment that might give some comfort to cats suffering from asthma and bronchitis, according to some researchers. Those cats that react positively to medical acupuncture may have a reduction in the amount of medicine they require to regulate their symptoms.
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For additional information on how to treat asthma and bronchitis in cats, refer to the booklet “Treatment Instructions for Asthma and Bronchitis in Cats.”

Will my cat be cured of asthma and bronchitis?

Because a cure for this illness syndrome is extremely rare, it is recommended to treat it as a management situation. Cats suffering from feline asthma and bronchitis are extremely unusual to be cured. The objective of therapy is to reduce the intensity and frequency of attacks while also improving the overall quality of life for those who suffer from them. The majority of cats that suffer from feline asthma and bronchitis have quite busy and fulfilling lives.

Caring for a cat with asthma

  • An allergy or stress can set off feline asthma, which is an immunity-related illness. Inflammation of the tiny airways in the lungs occurs on a chronic basis. Wheezing, trouble breathing, and a persistent cough are all symptoms of asthma. It is an incurable disease, but it is treatable with the proper care and medicine.

What is feline asthma?

A persistent inflammation of the tiny airways in the cat’s lungs causes it to have asthma, much like it does in people. Despite the fact that it is incurable, it is often managed with the proper care and medicine, and cats that suffer from the ailment are generally happy and active.

What causes asthma in cats?

Asthma in cats is an immune-related illness, and episodes are frequently triggered by an allergic reaction or stress in the environment. Pollen, grass, mould, dust mites, cigarette smoke, cat litter, home cleaning agents, and even some meals have all been implicated as potential triggers. Generally speaking, the illness manifests itself between the ages of two and eight years old, with female cats having a somewhat greater incidence than male cats. Certain breeds, such as Siamese and Himalayan cats, have a hereditary predisposition to the disease as well as other factors.

What are the symptoms of feline asthma?

  • Coughing
  • Rapid or difficult breathing, or greater struggle to breathe
  • Wheezing Coughing or gagging that is persistent, such as that caused by a hairball
  • When coughing, the mucus becomes frothy. Breathing difficulties after physical effort
  • Maintaining an open mouth while breathing
  • Extending the neck upwards and gasping for air
  • Squatting with shoulders slumped, neck stretched, and feet planted firmly on the earth
  • Weakness and sluggishness all throughout
  • Audible gurgling in the throat
  • Swallowing becomes more difficult
  • Lips and gums that are blue

In the event that your cat displays any of the symptoms listed above, even if they are intermittent, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Any coughing or wheezing is a severe health concern since it occurs as a result of inflammation of the lungs, which puts the patient at danger of developing permanent scarring on their lungs. Normally, a cat will take 24 to 30 breaths per minute when relaxing or sleeping – any more than that may indicate the need for medical intervention (remember, cats may breathe faster when excited or purring).

Diagnosing feline asthma

There is currently no one test that can be used to reliably diagnose asthma. Other disorders that have symptoms that are similar to the symptoms will need to be checked out first, such as heart disease, heartworm, lungworm, and respiratory infections, among others. Your veterinarian will first listen to your cat’s lungs using a stethoscope and may occasionally perform a blood test to check for a high concentration of white blood cells, which can be connected with the disease since it suggests an allergic response, before diagnosing the ailment.

However, this may not always be possible if your cat is experiencing a severe attack because any attempt at restraint or sedation may be extremely dangerous for them.

Over-inflation caused by the pet’s inability to completely exhale, a partial collapse of the lung, and a flat diaphragm are all indicators that your veterinarian will be on the lookout for in your pet.

Bronchoalveolar Lavage (BAL) is another test that can be used to diagnose the condition.

Additionally, a course of corticosteroids and bronchodilators may be provided to a cat in order to determine whether or not the symptoms have resolved, which will also reveal the presence of feline asthma.

What are the signs of a feline asthma attack?

In order to correctly diagnose asthma, no one test is available. Other illnesses that have symptoms similar to the signs of heart disease, heartworm, lungworm, and respiratory infections will need to be cleared out first. In order to diagnose the disease, your veterinarian will first listen to your cat’s chest using a stethoscope and, if necessary, do a blood test to check for a high concentration of white blood cells, which can be related with it since it suggests an allergic response. It may be necessary to perform a chest X-ray to determine whether or not your cat has asthma after the blood test indicates that it may be suffering from the condition.

Depending on the situation, consult with your veterinarian to determine whether therapy or diagnostic tests should be performed.

On the other hand, not all cats with asthma will exhibit abnormalities on an X-ray, and it is possible that they will appear perfectly normal, especially if they are in the early stages of the condition.

Another option is to administer a course of corticosteroids and bronchodilators to the cat and see whether or not the symptoms subside.

What should I do if my cat has an asthma attack?

During an attack, remain calm, provide any medicine given by your veterinarian, and place your pet in a quiet, cool room with plenty of fresh air circulation. Please call your veterinarian as soon as possible if your cat is in difficulty or is suffering from a serious attack. If you have to transport them to the veterinary practice, make sure your automobile is adequately ventilated and that you have the windows open to allow lots of fresh air to circulate. Avoid allowing them to become even more anxious, since this might exacerbate an attack – and your cat will already be really terrified –

Treatment for feline asthma

In order to control asthma in cats, two types of medicine are used: anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids, which assist to reduce the inflammation that causes the symptoms, and bronchodilator medications, which help to expand a feline’s air channel when it is necessary. Antihistamine medications may also be utilized when other therapies have failed to relieve the symptoms of a cat’s allergies. Medications are commonly supplied through the use of an inhaler, although they can also be taken orally or intravenously.

Inhalers used by humans function differently from those intended for cats since you cannot instruct your cat to take deep breaths in order to initiate the release of the medication.

Can asthma in cats be prevented?

Despite the fact that there is no treatment for feline asthma, there are actions you may do to lessen the probability of your cat suffering from an episode. Allergy testing can be performed in order to determine the underlying cause of the ailment and to eliminate the triggers that are responsible for it wherever feasible. Avoid smoking in the vicinity of your pet, as well as the use of perfumes, air fresheners, or other aerosol items, since these might aggravate the condition. Cat litters that generate a lot of dust or are scented should also be avoided.

Maintaining a healthy weight and feeding your cat a nutritious food are essential for preventing and treating obesity-related kidney disease in cats.

This will allow you to build up a picture of any seasonal trends or environmental variables that may be triggering symptoms in your cat.

How do I know if my cat has asthma?

Many pet parents don’t think of asthma when it comes to their feline companions, although it affects roughly 1-5 percent of cats in the United States. Our Charlotte veterinarians discuss some of the signs and symptoms of feline asthma, as well as the origins of the illness and how it may be treated, in today’s post.

Recognizing Asthma in Cats

You may be asking how you can know whether your cat has asthma and what symptoms to look for. Cats who are undergoing an asthma attack may often curl up close to the ground with their neck stretched forward, as if they were trying to expel a hairball. In many cases, coughing and wheezing are associated with this posture. A full-blown asthma attack in your cat will most likely manifest itself in your cat’s sides moving in and out as they struggle to breathe, and your cat may begin drooling or coughing up mucus as a result of the struggle to breathe.

For quick assistance if your cat is having difficulty breathing, contact your veterinarian immediately or take your cat to the nearest animal emergency facility for rapid care.

Common Asthma Symptoms in Cats

Some of the other signs and symptoms of asthma in cats are as follows:

  • Rapid breathing, difficult breathing, open-mouth breathing, increased swallowing are all symptoms of asthma.
  • Coughing
  • Blue lips and gums
  • Wheezing Coughing that is persistent
  • Gagging
  • Overall, there is a weakness. The body is slumped and the neck is stretched
  • Coughing out frothy mucous and making gurgling noises from the throat

During an asthma attack, you may notice that your cat is breathing fast while sleeping. This is a sign that your cat is undergoing an asthma attack. When your cat is sleeping, he or she should generally take between 24 and 30 breaths per minute when sleeping. Please contact your veterinarian for assistance if you observe that your cat is taking more than 40 breaths per minute. You may also contact your local animal emergency facility for assistance. Remember, snoring or breathing noisily while your cat is sleeping does not necessarily signal that your cat is suffering from an asthma attack, as some pet parents believe.

In any case, if you have any concerns about your cat’s breathing, it is always advisable to consult with your veterinarian for more guidance.

Causes of Cat Asthma

What is causing my cat to have an asthma attack? Asthma in cats is most usually induced by the intake of an allergen, but it may also be brought on by increasing levels of stress in the environment. In cats, some allergens, such as the following, are often encountered and can cause asthma:

  • Pollen, some foods, cat litter dust, and household cleaning chemicals are all examples of allergens.
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There are several underlying issues that can add to the severity of your cat’s asthma episodes. These include parasites, a hereditary tendency to asthma, a pre-existing heart ailment, pneumonia, and obesity, just to name a few examples.

Asthma Medicine for Cats

Is there anything I can give my cat to alleviate their asthma symptoms? Once your cat has been diagnosed with asthma, your veterinarian may prescribe corticosteroid drugs to help reduce inflammation in the cat’s lungs, as well as a bronchodilator to assist widen the cat’s airways and make it easier for the cat to breathe. Both can be administered by your veterinarian in the form of an injection, an oral drug, or an inhaler, depending on the situation. Because bronchodilators do not cure inflammation, they are not normally used on their own as a therapy for your cat’s asthma.

Prognosis for Cats with Asthma

What is the expected life span of a cat suffering from asthma? Asthma in cats is not usually a condition that clears itself and disappears. If your feline buddy suffers from asthma, he or she is likely to encounter frequent flare-ups that can range in severity from moderate to life-threatening. While asthma in cats is not considered a curable illness, it is controllable with a little additional attention from pet owners and the use of suitable drugs. It is possible to help your asthmatic cat enjoy a decent quality of life for many years by monitoring his respiratory effort, keeping an eye out for coughing, and intervening with medicine as necessary.

Feeding Cats with Asthma

What kind of food should I give my cat that has asthma? If you suspect that the food you are currently giving your cat is causing or exacerbating your cat’s asthma symptoms, you should visit your veterinarian immediately. The danger of having an asthma attack increases with weight gain, therefore feeding your cat a high-quality, vet-recommended food and assisting your cat in maintaining a healthy weight may help to reduce your cat’s asthma symptoms or the severity of their asthma episodes. It will be possible for your veterinarian to determine the proper number of calories that you should be feeding your cat each day and to propose the suitable diet for your cat.

Please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian in order to receive an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s ailment.

Signs Your Cat Has Asthma and How to Treat It

Even while cats are often considered to be independent and low-maintenance pets, they are just as susceptible to developing a chronic illness as any other mammalian companion. In fact, there are several illnesses that they share with humans, such as asthma, that are unique to them. In addition, although there is still much to learn about feline asthma, researchers believe it is likely triggered by allergens in the same way that the disease is triggered in humans, according to Stacy Choczynski Johnson, DVM, a veterinarian in Seattle, Washington, and a veterinary expert for Pumpkin Pet Insurance.

The good news is that, with the proper therapy, cat asthma will not be a source of excessive worry for your feline buddy any longer.

Can Cats Have Asthma?

As it turns out, feline asthma affects up to five percent of all cats, according to recent studies. According to Johnson, because they are both mammals, cats and humans have a lot in common when it comes to illness processes. “Allergy-induced asthma is something that happens in humans,” she explains. “And we believe that it is likewise an allergy-induced process in cats, in which allergens are ingested and the immune system responds by producing antibodies.” Although the specific allergens that cause asthma in cats vary depending on where you reside, the following are possible candidates:

  • Dust and dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Insects
  • Dander from other animals
  • And other contaminants Cigarette smoke
  • Air fresheners
  • Scented candles
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Smoke from fires and candles Dust from clay litter
  • Cleaning products for the home

The reaction results in the development of mucus in the airways, as well as swelling and inflammation of the surrounding tissues. As a result, the muscles in that area will begin to spasm, causing the airways to become restricted. “What happens is that a cat will come in and breathe in,” Johnson says. “The air becomes stuck in those lower airways, and they are unable to exhale as a result. They make an attempt, but then wheeze.”

Cat Asthma Symptoms

You may detect any of the following indicators in a cat who is suffering from asthma, according to Johnson:

  • Coughing, wheezing, difficult breathing, rapid breathing They have a persistent cough, labored breathing in which they push their tummies out, and other symptoms. With panting, open your lips and breathe in. Vomiting

Wheezing; breathing difficulties; rapid breathing A persistent cough; labored breathing in which they thrust their tummies out; and other symptoms. With panting, open your lips and breathe. Vomiting;

Cat Asthma Treatment and Home Remedies to Make Your Kitty Feel Better

If you bring your cat to the veterinarian because of an emergency circumstance in which he or she is unable to breathe, the veterinarian will first sedate them and administer oxygen to them. “It might be a kennel with oxygen replenishment or it may be a flow by oxygen,” Johnson adds. If health care providers determine that asthma is the source of the problem (usually through X-ray), they will administer a bronchodilator medication to the cat, such as albuterol sulfate, also known as salbutamol (brand names: Proventil and Ventolin), to alleviate bronchoconstriction, or constriction of the smooth muscles of the bronchus, caused by an asthma attack.

It’s only the first stage in a long process.

The frequency with which you treat your cat with steroidal treatment is determined by the severity of your cat’s asthma and the advice of your veterinarian.

In Johnson’s words, “it is administered in tiny dosages and then gradually raised over time.” In addition to the conventional steroid therapy, Johnson proposes the following changes in one’s lifestyle:

  • A veterinarian will sedate and provide oxygen to your cat if you bring them to the veterinary hospital due to an emergency circumstance in which they are unable to breathe. Depending on the situation, “it might be a kennel with oxygen replenishment or a flow by oxygen,” Johnson notes. If health-care providers determine that asthma is the source of the problem (usually through X-ray), they will administer a bronchodilator medication to the cat, such as albuterol sulfate, also known as salbutamol (brand names: Proventil and Ventolin), to alleviate bronchoconstriction, or constriction of the smooth muscles of the bronchus, caused by an asthma attack. According to Johnson, however, this is not the primary treatment for asthma. However, it is only the first stage in a long process. After that, she explains, “we need to get rid of the inflammation, so we utilize medicines like prednisone.” You’ll usually be able to get the steroid in either tablet or inhaler form, such as the AeroKat, which comes with a spacer designed specifically for cats that goes over their lips. According to your cat’s asthma and the veterinarian’s advice, you should administer steroidal treatment on a regular basis. Meanwhile, your veterinarian may offer allergy injections or sublingual treatment, a method of administering allergens through a formula that is absorbed beneath the tongue. At Johnson’s words, “it is administered in tiny dosages and then gradually raised over time.” The following lifestyle modifications, in addition to the conventional steroid therapy, are recommended by Johnson.

What to Do If Your Cat Has an Asthma Attack

When your cat is experiencing an asthma attack, he or she will hunch down toward the ground and thrust their head and neck out while they wheeze or cough, as shown in the photo. “If you notice wide mouth breathing, the abdominal push, or any increase in respiratory rate, that would be a warning that you should take your pet to the veterinarian,” Johnson explains. ” Make every effort to keep your cat quiet before putting them in a container and driving them away. “If it’s hot, turn on the air conditioner and call your local emergency department to let them know you’re on your way,” Johnson advises.

Furthermore, you will be able to obtain therapy immediately soon.” Last but not least, if you’re dealing with cat asthma, Johnson highlights the need of speaking with your primary care veterinarian or the expert who will be overseeing your pet’s case to obtain precise instructions particular to your pet.

After all, as every pet parent is well aware, each and every kitten is an individual and will require customized care.

Asthma in Cats

Feline asthma is an inflammatory respiratory illness that manifests itself in a manner that is very comparable to the kind of asthma that we are familiar with in people. It is regarded to be a chronic or recurring disorder in which the lining of the lungs’ airways becomes inflamed and constricts as a result of the inflammation. This type of asthmatic airway constriction can develop either spontaneously or as a result of an allergic reaction, depending on the circumstances. Although the specific etiology of the condition is unknown, it is widely assumed to have a hereditary component to it.

Some afflicted cats may experience severe airway constriction, which may result in acute respiratory distress and mortality, while others may just endure a little cough from time to time.

Symptoms and Identification

Symptoms of airway constriction include: shallow breathing (it’s difficult to take a deep breath when your airways are swollen), exercise intolerance, coughing (or hacking), wheezing (which can sometimes only be heard with a stethoscope), and/or the presence of abdominal effort while breathing (this is called abdominal effort syndrome) (particularly upon exhalation). However, not every cat will exhibit these signs at the same time. Indeed, the majority of minimally afflicted animals merely exhibit a low-grade cough, with none of the other symptoms present in their bodies.

In the end, it is impossible to foresee the course of this disease and, as a result, it is difficult to diagnose.

In people with asthma, the lungs will exhibit indications of being overinflated (since they are constantly forcing more air into their lungs, which causes it to get stuck), as well as distinctive signs of airway inflammation (as the patient continues to force more and more air into their lungs) (little bright “donuts” or parallel lines).

Another issue that might cause difficulty in diagnosing asthma in cats is that the lungs of cats that are not actively suffering from an asthma “attack” can seem totally normal.

Transbronchial bronchoscopy and tracheal washing are two techniques that are frequently used to rule out the presence of other serious illnesses.


It is not possible to treat the sickness itself. It is, however, treatable with medications that are taken orally, administered intravenously, or breathed. The purpose of these techniques is to ease tightness of the airways in the patient. Future episodes must be avoided at all costs, and this is a critical component of continuous care of these situations. When it comes to medications, corticosteroids (such as prednisone) are at the top of every veterinarian’s list of the most successful and least expensive approaches to treating various diseases.

Because of this, nasal sprays designed to lower airway inflammation have grown increasingly popular in recent years.

Others include oral bronchodilators (such as theophylline), oral cyproheptadine, antihistamines (such as cetirizine or diphenhydramine), cyclosporine (marketed for pets under the brand name Atopica), and the human medication zamflurkast (Accolate), which is considered experimental in cats at this time.

Veterinary Cost

It is possible to get a diagnosis and therapy for very little money, or it is possible to swiftly spend thousands of dollars. What we do next is entirely dependent on how seriously the patient is afflicted and how meticulously we choose to make the diagnosis. For the most part, the cost of asthma boils down to whether or not the owner can afford to rule out other conditions or experiment with safer pharmacological options. At a bare minimum, owners should budget at least $250 for a basic diagnostic, with monthly pharmacological therapy costs ranging from $10 to $250 on average.


There is currently no known method of preventing feline asthma, however it should go without saying that cats with the condition should not be mated. Ideally, none of their first-degree relatives should be bred as well, especially if the illness expresses itself significantly.


RG Sherding’s The Cat: Diseases and Clinical Management includes a chapter by C. Livingstone. New York, New York; 1194;524, United States. HD Morais is the author of this work. The treatment of bronchial illness in dogs and cats is discussed here. The paper was presented at the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association Convention in October of that year. Padrid, P., et al., New Treatment Strategies for Cats with Exacerbation of Asthma, Journal of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, vol.

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