Diagnosis: Feline Asthma

Mon, May 24, 2010

Health & Nutrition


My little Simba was recently diagnosed with feline asthma, so I wanted to share my experience with you, just in case you ever notice similar symptoms in your cat. A couple of months ago, she started having coughing spells, like she was trying to cough up a big hairball that just wouldn’t dislodge itself. I tried giving her hairball medicine, but the spells got worse and increased in frequency so I took her to the vet for a check-up. Of course, she wouldn’t make the noise for the doctor, but a chest x-ray did show some dark patches around her lungs, which is an indication of asthma. While we waited a few days for the blood work to come back to rule out any other problems, the doctor recommended that I look for some videos online of asthmatic cats to see if that is what Simba was doing. That was such a great suggestion, because I found the following video (if you can’t see the video below in your email, click here to watch it on the site):

I am truly grateful to Dave’s owner for posting this video because it helped me understand exactly what Simba was doing. Just so you know, Dave had already received her medicine when her owner shot this video. They were waiting for the medicine to kick in and he thought that the video might be helpful to others, and he was right!

My vet prescribed a number of medicines, some to get the asthma under control initially, others for maintenance, and still others for emergency attacks. It was a bit overwhelming. I was also nervous about giving Simba the inhaler, which is the most important part of the treatment. The inhaler is administered with a special device called the Aerokat, but I didn’t completely understand how to use it from the directions, so YouTube came to the rescue again! I found the following video of a woman demonstrating how to use the Aerokat and it really gave me the confidence I needed:

It has been about two weeks since Simba started her asthma treatment and I’m pleased to report that the attacks lessened over the first few days, and now I haven’t seen one in about a week. I’m not sure, but Simba seems to know that the inhaler is helping her, so she takes her dose twice a day with relative ease, although she is nowhere near as nice as the kitty in the video.

Feline asthma can be life threatening for cats. If you would like more information, please read this excellent overview article from Renee L. Austin, just posted this week over at The Conscious Cat, and also visit FelineAsthma.org.

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69 Responses to “Diagnosis: Feline Asthma”

  1. 51

    Your Simba is such a cutie!

  2. 52
    Azar ATTURA

    Agh! Poor little Dave kitty!! Is there also something in that rug that is precipitating or worsening those attacks?? Is the rug being cleaned with natural cleaners? I use hot water and lemon juice (in the steam cleaner) to clean my rugs with.

  3. 53

    I am so glad to know that Simba is ok!

  4. 54
    Nicki S.

    I just wanted to pass on to you that as the owner of an asthmatic kitty, lysine can help his attacks as well. It clears out the nose, or so that’s what my vet says. Between the lysine and once a day inhaler treatments, my yellow tabby Max breathes as well as can be imagined. And becuase he knows there are treats coming after his “medicine”, he runs to me when he hears the inhaler shaking! (He still hates the process, but I learned that if I stand over him, it’s a lot easier as he backs up because I just follow him with the inhaler.)

  5. 55

    Thanks so much for the post! My one cat has seasonal allergies and I’ve suspected asthma too. She only seems to get attacks when the seasons change.

  6. 56

    Thank you for this video. My cat has Eosinophilic of the lungs and has developed asthma related symptoms recently too. We are going to try the inhaler and I’m wondering if anyone has any advice on the best places to purchase one? They are almost $300.00 from our local pharmacy.

  7. 57

    My girl Fifi suffers from feline asthma too. She has had attacks severe enough to cause vomiting and anorexia for days, which usually ends in me bringing her to the vet for sub-cu fluids and feeding her beef baby food with a syringe. But generally a short 10 day regiment of Prednisolone 2.5mg does the trick. Because her attacks are infrequent (every 2 months or so) our vet isn’t concerned about liver or kidney damage. I’m glad it’s so effective because I don’t think she’d tolerate the inhaler. This is good info, and the video helps confirm the diagnosis, which my vet tells me is hard to confirm because there aren’t any conclusive tests for feline asthma. Glad Simba is doing much better!

  8. 58

    for years we have been joking that our little norgay was our asthmatic son. he would have these little wheezing coughing fits that came and went with little rhyme or reason. we thought he had allergies and we decided to cut down on aerial dust by switching to corn-based litter. it help quite a lot.
    after watching the videos, i realize that, yes, norgay does have asthma.

  9. 59

    Oh I am so glad that I am not alone. My flat faced Himalayan, Blueberry came down with pneumonia in November last year which was brought on by the asthma (or should I say the inefficient airwaysnof a flat face persian). Prednisone was prescribed to treat the inflammation for the first couple of weeks. My vet warned against using it long term.

    I purchased the NebulAir Small Animal Aerosal Chamber ($90 CDN) through my vet and I am still using the prescription for Flovent ($60 CDN) from December. I also tried the Lysine supplement ($30 CDN) which if I remember correctly helps to treat herpes virus to which cats are prone.

    Also make sure you keep your kitty’s eyes and ears clean. Having a flat face is tough so I clean her eyes every day with saline solution and her ears every couple of months when they look gucky with solution from the vet ($36 CDN).

    If your kitty is like mine, he/she may experience nasal congestion and discharge. I take my cat into the bathroom when I have a shower. The humidity from the shower and a saline nasal mist (she hates it) gives her some relief.

    But it is true, they do get accustomed to the treatments and sense that the puffer is good for them (at least most days).

    Both of us can breathe a little easier knowing we are not alone with this condition.

  10. 60

    These are great to design a gallery of cat art.

  11. 61

    This video is great. Both my kitties have asthma although only one has had the hacking hairball incident. It is because of this video I rushed her off to the vet-(her brother had already been diagnosed so I knew of its existence). Otherwise I may have thought that it was a hairball issue.

    She received a steroid shot two weeks ago-and so far all is fine. I am glad to hear Simba is doing well.

  12. 62

    Oh, poor Simba! Long-term pet healthcare can be exhausting but it’s so worth it. And YouTube to the rescue!

    Hang in there!

  13. 63

    Sorry to hear about Simba’s problems, but great to hear she is recovering. Big kiss from my cats to yours! :)

  14. 64

    Thank you for posting this video and information. One of my cats, Brand, has now been diagnosed with feline asthma and treated with predinsone. He is doing so much better!
    Without this post, I would have continued to think he was trying to hack up a hairball and he would have continued to suffer.

  15. 65
    Isaiah Roberts

    what is a good alternative treatment for asthma? i’m looking for some alternative medicine stuffs ~

  16. 66

    This is a wonderful asthma kitty group that helps hundreds of asthmatic cats every day.

    Please visit http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/felineasthmarelief/

    Hugs to all your kitties.

  17. 67

    My cat, Maki, was diagnosed with Asthma about a year ago. I also have asthma but had not seen the connection until I had a flair this past summer. If anyone has asthma you will note that you cough alot. This is what the cat int the video is doing. The vet gave her steriods and it helped at first but she hates taking the pills. She also has very labored breathing. you can see how hard it is for her to breath by watching her stomach. I am not sure if the 2 are related or not. She can’t really put much weight on her belly so I have made an appt for Monday. *I have been saving for a while to get her re-checked since I was told the x-rays are expensive) She will probably need xrays, but I don’t want to chance bringing another cat into the house until I know if it is just asthma. She also has started to throw up within the past few months.

    Could it be caused by her hard food or litter? I use scoop away because my husband hates smelling cats feces and she won’t use pellets or yesterday’s news. Wish me luck on Monday.

    Why is feline asthma so much on the increase? Could it be the litters we are using is damaging them?

  18. 68

    he would have these little wheezing coughing fits that came and went with little rhyme or reason. we thought he had allergies and we decided to cut down on aerial dust by switching to corn-based litter. it help quite a lot.

  19. 69

    I ahd a FIV positive cat that had asthma. Our vet prescribed Periactin we gave him 1 pill every morning and his attacks bacame rare. They originally used this for dogs, but it also works with cats. Tempo lived to be 18 years old. We also use world’s Best Cat Litter which helps their lungs as clay based litters leave residue in their lungs

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