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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Training your asthmatic cat to the Aerokat

Friday, May 02, 2014

The dust over summer and then the flowering grasses this autumn have exacerbated the symptoms of many asthmatic cats. Coughing and wheezing are the main signs of asthma in cats, and sometimes a strong bronchospasm causes breathing distress, anxiety and occasionally death.

Cats with asthma squat with their necks extended and their elbows out and cough. They are not bringing up a hairball. They are trying to breathe through narrowed airways. This is what a moderately asthmatic cat looks like:

If asthma is not treated the lung becomes more and more inflamed and infection is likely. A bad attack can cause death.

Cortisone in the form of tablet initially and through an inhaler/spacer like the Aerokat eventually is the foundation of asthma treatment in the cat. Some cats also need a drug like Ventolin to open up the airways.

Many videos on giving your cat the Aerokat are available on the internet. This is one we liked with a more subtle asthma attack:

Training your cat to the Aerokat requires patience and a sense of humour...

Cough or vomit?

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Siamese like Nicholas commmonly suffer from asthmaIt's easy to confuse coughing with retching or vomiting in cats. A coughing cat crouches, sticks her elbows out and opens her mouth to get more air. A vomiting cat sits with the front legs straight, her abdomen contracts and she produces fluid or food.

Many coughing cats have asthma or chronic bronchitis. Like human asthmatics cats with asthma react to something they have inhaled like pollen, cigarette smoke or dust mites. We saw several asthmatic cats during the recent bushfires when the smoke hung low around Canberra.

Cats with bronchitis have long term inflammation of the airways causing thickening of the small airway walls and reduced airflow.

Asthma and bronchitis often overlap in cats. In general, asthmatics have sudden episodes of difficult breathing, wheezing and coughing, while cats with bronchitis have more chronic but less dramatic coughs.

Infections of the bronchi and lungs make asthma and bronchitis suddenly worse.

Other causes of coughing in cats include inhalation of foreign material, such as grass or cigarette smoke, flu virus infections, lungworm, heartworm or lung cancer.

Once we sort out the cause of the cough with X-rays, bronchoscopy or other more specific tests, we target the treatment. For asthma and bronchitis treatment can be lifelong or as necessary.


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Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

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