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Asthma in Cats - Everything You Should Know

Asthma in Cats - Everything You Should Know

Asthma attacks can affect many cats when they breathe in an allergen. This condition is estimated to affect around 1-5% of cats. If you think your cat might have asthma, don't worry! Our Diamond Bar vets can help you identify some common symptoms and advise you on what to do next.

How can I tell if my cat has asthma?

Cats with asthma may cough and wheeze, and hunch close to the ground with their neck extended like they're trying to cough up a hairball. During a severe attack, you may see their sides going in and out as they struggle to breathe, and they may cough up mucus or drool. This can be very distressing for your cat, and if you notice any breathing difficulties, it's important to contact your vet or nearest animal emergency hospital right away.

Signs and symptoms of asthma in cats include:

  • Difficulty breathing or increased effort to breathe
  • Body hunched close to the ground with neck extended
  • Open mouth breathing
  • Gurgling sounds from throat
  • Wheezing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Blue lips and gums
  • Frothy mucus while coughing
  • Persistent coughing or gagging
  • Increased swallowing
  • Overall weakness

If your cat is breathing rapidly while sleeping, it could be a sign of asthma. Typically, cats take 24-30 breaths per minute while sleeping, but if your cat is taking more than 40 breaths per minute, you should contact your vet immediately or go to the nearest animal emergency hospital.

However, if your cat snores or breathes loudly when resting, it doesn't necessarily mean they're having an asthma attack. It's always better to be safe than sorry, so if you're concerned about your cat's breathing, contact your vet for advice. 

What causes asthma in cats?

Asthma attacks are frequently brought on by the cat inhaling an allergen, or possibly because of increased stress levels. Some of the most common allergens to trigger asthma attacks in cats include:

  • Grass
  • Dust mites
  • Mould
  • Pollen
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Household cleaning products
  • Some foods
  • Cat litter dust

Beyond allergens, there are also a number of underlying conditions which could contribute to the severity of your cat's asthma attack including pneumonia, obesity, parasites, a pre-existing heart condition, or a genetic predisposition. 

What can I give my cat for asthma?

If your cat has trouble breathing and you suspect it may be asthma, it's essential to take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis. Many other serious health issues can cause breathing problems in cats, so it's important to rule those out. 

If your cat does have asthma, treatment options may include using corticosteroids to decrease inflammation in their lungs and a bronchodilator to help open up their airways. Your vet may prescribe these medications in the form of a pill, injection, or inhaler with a special mask for cats.

Since every cat is unique, the treatment plan may vary, and in some cases, the vet may only prescribe a corticosteroid medication to manage the cat's asthma.

What is the life expectancy for cats with asthma?

Asthma is a chronic condition in cats that cannot be cured. It can get worse over time and cause occasional breathing problems, ranging from mild to severe. Nevertheless, cat asthma can be controlled with proper medication and extra attention from pet owners. By paying close attention to your cat's breathing and watching for the signs of asthma, you can give your cat medication when needed and help them enjoy a happy life for many years.

Will changing my cat's diet help to prevent asthma attacks?

If your cat has asthma, you might want to change their diet to help with their symptoms. To do this, it's best to talk to your vet who can recommend the right food based on your cat's health history. Keeping your cat at a healthy weight and making sure they get all the necessary nutrients will also help them stay healthy.

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.

Symptoms of asthma in cats should never be ignored. Urgent veterinary care may be required if your cat is having an asthma attack. Contact our Diamond Bar vets to schedule an emergency appointment or visit your nearest after-hours emergency animal hospital.

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