Just like humans, cats are also able to experience respiratory conditions such as asthma. Below, our Perry vets offer some of the signs of an asthma attack in cats and what steps you should take.
How do cat asthma attacks present themselves?
If you notice your cat stopping to hunch over and cough or that they are wheezing often then they may be experiencing the symptoms of asthma. The asthma attacks that your cat experiences may present themselves similarly to how they look when they are trying to cough up a hairball.
During a particularly serious asthma attack, you will be able to clearly see your cat's sides going in and out as they work hard to breathe, and your cat may even begin coughing up mucus or drooling.
Naturally, this experience can be very scary for your feline friend and should be managed as quickly as possible.
What are the common signs of an asthma attack in cats?
Some of the most frequently seen symptoms of asthma attacks include the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Body hunched close to the ground with neck extended
- Open-mouth breathing
- Gurgling sounds from the throat
- Persistent coughing or gagging
- Overall weakness
- Increased effort to breathe
- Rapid breathing
- Blue lips and gums
- Frothy mucus while coughing
- Increased swallowing
Rapid breathing during sleep is another common symptom of asthma in cats. While resting or sleeping your cat should normally take between 24 - 30 breaths per minute.
If your kitty is taking more than 40 breaths per minute contact your vet immediately for assistance, or take your pet to the nearest animal emergency hospital for an urgent examination.
One important thing to note is that snoring or breathing loudly when resting doesn't necessarily mean that your cat is having an asthma attack. Nonetheless, if you are concerned about your cat's breathing it is always best to err on the side of caution and contact your vet for further advice.
What are the typical causes of cat asthma attacks?
Allergens are the most common trigger when it comes to cat asthma attacks. Some of the most common allergens that can lead to asthma attacks in cats include:
- Dust mites
- Cigarette smoke
- Household cleaning products
- Some foods
- Cat litter dust
Beyond allergens, there are also a number of underlying conditions that could contribute to the severity of your cat's asthma attack including pneumonia, increased stress, obesity, parasites, a genetic predisposition, or a pre-existing heart condition.
Are there any treatments for cats experiencing asthma attacks?
If you are concerned that your cat may be experiencing the symptoms of asthma then you should bring them in to be evaluated and diagnosed as soon as possible. As mentioned above, there are a number of serious health conditions that could be at the root of your cat's breathing difficulties.
If your kitty is diagnosed with asthma, treatment may include corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation in your pet's lungs, and possibly a bronchodilator to help dilate their airways. These medications can be prescribed by your veterinarian in the form of an injectable, oral medication or as an inhaler fitted with a mask designed for use with cats. In some cases, the vet may prescribe a corticosteroid medication alone as a treatment for asthma in cats.
Will my cat still be able to live a long, healthy life with asthma?
Unfortunately, asthma in cats is not curable which means that the focus will be on managing the symptoms. Over time your cat may experience occasional flare-ups of the disorder varying from mild to life-threatening symptoms.
That said, with the help of appropriate medications and a little extra care from pet parents, asthma in cats is manageable. By keeping a watchful eye on your cat's respiratory effort, looking out for the symptoms listed above, and intervening with medication when needed, you can help your cat to live a happy life for many years.
How can diet affect my cat's asthma?
There is a lot of advice out there as to what you should feed your cat if they suffer from asthma. If you believe that a change of diet could help your cat's asthma symptoms, consult your veterinarian. Helping your cat to maintain a healthy weight, while ensuring that all of their nutritional needs are met, is certainly a great way for pet parents to help their kitty stay healthy.
speak with your vet to learn which type of diet is recommended for your cat to help them stay healthy as well as manage their weight and current condition.
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.