A serious respiratory disease in human beings, asthma also affects our pets. Of course the condition is more difficult to diagnose in our furry friends, especially if they’re cats. Swallowing and coughing up their own hairballs is quite common for felines. And since coughing and wheezing are the two most common symptoms of feline asthma, the disorder is difficult to detect until your pet has a major asthma attack.
Only about one percent of cats suffer from feline asthma, which is about seven times less than the asthma rate for human beings. However, most veterinarians agree that the rate is likely much higher than the stated number for cats, as most of them have yet to be diagnosed. So, how can you tell if your cat has asthma before it’s too late?
It is also important to note that asthmatic attacks can be caused by indoor allergens, such as carpet deodorizers, aerosol sprays, kitty litter dust, and tobacco smoke. So, if you cat starts hacking away shortly after you start using a new housecleaning or freshening product, stop using it and take your animal to his doctor for testing. Additionally, if your cat coughs and wheezes incessantly when the seasons changes, particularly in the spring, it may be the result of seasonal triggers.
If the attack is properly treated, your pet should make a full recovery. However, he will not be out of the proverbial woods. Feline asthma is a chronic condition that is characterized by chronic, often seasonal attacks. The diseases cannot be cured, but treatment for asthma in cats starts with the right prescription medications. What are they?
Ventolin HFA (albuterol sulfate) Treatment for Asthma in Cats
If your pet has been diagnosed with feline asthma, it is imperative you have an AeroKat aerosol chamber and albuterol inhaler on hand should your cat suffer a sudden, acute respiratory attack. The active ingredient in most of these inhalers is call albuterol sulfate, which is a bronchodilator that makes it easier for air to make it into and out of your cat’s lungs.
Although this prescription medication can be expensive, it should only be used as needed; in other words, it should last a long time. Like any new medicine, make sure you speak to your veterinarian before you administer it. If he or she gives you the greenlight, only use this product when your cat is in the midst of an asthma attack. This drug is not a curative that must be taken every day, but rather an emergency medication that may have serious side effects when it is administered on a regular basis.
Your pet’s veterinarian may also prescribe Flovent (fluticasone), a corticosteroids, which is used daily as a treatment for asthma in cats. While fluticasone may help prevent the symptoms of asthma in your cat, this drug does not cure asthma and should not be used during an asthma attack. The above described drug albuterol should be used during an asthma attack in cats.
Cyclosporine Capsules and Liquid for Cats
Designed to treat a wide range of immune diseases, including allergies and overactive immune system, Cyclosporine is a possible alternative to steroids, which generally have a longer list of side effects. Available in both liquid and capsule form, this perscription medication has proven highly effective at treating feline asthma and preventing serious respiratory attacks. It may also help heal atopic dermatitis and anal fistulas in pets.
Theophylline for Cats
Any cat that suffers from incessant coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath or labored breathing can safely and regularly take Theophylline tablets. This prescription medication helps relax the air passages of the lungs, making it easier for your pet to breathe in and breathe out. It should be administered on a daily basis before or after meals, or as directed by your veterinarian. Do you best to follow the dosing schedule to the letter, but never, ever double dose if you happen to miss one.