Our Elk Grove vets often see cats suffering from asthma caused by inhaled allergens. Here are some of the most common symptoms of asthma in cats, and what to do if your cat has an asthma attack.
Signs & Symptoms Of Feline Asthma
Often, the first symptoms that cat owners notice of an asthma attack in their pet is coughing and wheezing. You may also notice that your cat is hunched close to the ground with their neck extended forward as if trying to expel a hairball.
In more severe cases you will notice that your cat's sides are heaving (moving in and out) as they struggle to breathe, and that they are drooling or coughing up mucus.
Having such a difficult time breathing is bound to be both frightening and stressful for your cat. If you notice that your cat is having difficulties breathing, contact your vet immediately for assistance or call your nearest animal emergency hospital!
Signs and symptoms of asthma in cats include:
- Hunched body with neck extended
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent coughing or gagging
- Open-mouthed breathing
- Gurgling sounds from throat
- Rapid breathing
- Frothy mucus during coughing
- Overall weakness
- Blue lips and gums
- Increased swallowing
Rapid breathing during sleep can be another sign that your cat is having an asthma attack. While resting, your cat will normally take between 24 – 30 breaths per minute. If your cat is taking more than 40 breaths per minute asthma may be the cause, and they require immediate veterinary assistance.
One important thing to note is that snoring or breathing loudly when resting doesn't necessarily mean that your cat has asthma. Nonetheless, if you're worried about your cat's breathing it is always best to contact your vet for advice.
Causes Of Asthma In Cats
It's not unusual for some people to have issues with asthma due to allergies to cats, but what causes asthma in cats? Asthma in cats is frequently brought on by increased stress levels or the inhalation of an allergen. Some of the most common allergens to trigger asthma attacks in cats include:
- Dust mites
- Household cleaning products
- Some types of foods
- Cat litter dust
Aside from inhaled allergens, conditions such as pneumonia, obesity, parasites, heart conditions, or a genetic predisposition could play a role in the severity of your cat's asthma.
Asthma Treatment For Cats
If your cat seems to have asthma you may be wondering what you can give your cat to help, but it's important to have your cat's breathing difficulties diagnosed before administering any treatment. If your cat is struggling to breathe, contact your vet right away, or visit your nearest animal emergency hospital for urgent care.
If your kitty is diagnosed with asthma, your vet may prescribe corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in your cat's lungs, and possibly a bronchodilator to help dilate their airways and make breathing easier. These medications can be prescribed in the form of an injectable, oral medication or as an inhaler fitted with a mask designed for use with cats.
Life Expectancy For Cats With Asthma
Asthma is generally an incurable and often progressive condition in cats, which means that your cat with asthma is very likely to experience periodic attacks throughout their lifetime. These asthma attacks can range in intensity from very mild to severe or life-threatening.
However, by keeping a watchful eye on your cat's respiratory effort, looking out for the symptoms listed above, and intervening with the prescribed medication when needed, you can help your asthmatic cat to live a long happy life.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.