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Cat breathing problems

Cat Respiratory Problems

Many cats have a tendency towards respiratory problems.

Rapid breathing or wheezing is generally a sign of respiratory problems. Normally cats breathe 20 to 30 times in a minute. Rapid breathing can indicate that your cat is in pain or is not getting enough oxygen. These are usually symptoms of feline asthma or cardiomyopathy.

Its symptoms are usually wheezing and coughing. This condition usually affects young or middle age cats. It is found that female cats are more prone to this condition than males. Siamese and Himalaya breeds are more likely to suffer from asthma and cardiomyopathy.

Apart from coughing and wheezing, other symptoms such as cats standing with their head forward while coughing, open mouth breathing or vomiting after the coughing stops are also seen.

There are several factors which cause cat asthma. Chronic inflammation of the tissue which lines the bronchial walls is seen. These tissues hyper-react to allergens or viruses leading to inflammation and increases the mucus which decreases the size of the airways. This leads to the wheezing and coughing. Allergens such as dust, insects, hair sprays, pollens can also be the reason behind asthma. Some cats also have certain food allergies which can also cause asthma. Viruses, mycoplasma and bacterial infection are some other reasons behind feline asthma.

One should consult a vet to diagnose this condition. Chest x-rays and response to treatment can help diagnose this condition. Other diseases also so have similar symptoms as feline asthma, hence tests should be conducted in order to confirm feline asthma. These tests include a heartworm check, blood count and chemistry profiling. One of the popular types of treatment for feline asthma is corticosteroid. In this treatment, cats are put on an alternate day oral dose. This treatment continues for the remainder of your pet’s lives. Cats which are suffering from a less severe form of asthma may need medication only in case of flair ups. In case of cats who do not take a pill, they are administered the dose through injections. These doses have possibilities of long term side effects, hence only a minimum effective dose is administered. In addition to these doses, the vet might include terbutaline to dilate the blocked airway. Another common drug which is used is cyproheptadine or periactin which is an antihistamine and it helps smooth the muscle contraction in the airway.

  Submitted on March 23, 2010  

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