What is feline asthma?
Asthma in cats is best defined as chronic allergic bronchial airway disease. The inflammation of the airways and lungs is a slowly progressive disease, which while difficult to cure, can be successfully controlled with medications.
- Asthma is one of the most common causes of chronic coughing in adult and senior cats.
- Many animal guardians mistakenly think that cats who cough simply have hairballs.
- Any chronic coughing cat should have a full veterinary evaluation and workup to sort out potential causes and best long term treatment plan.
Causes of feline asthma
There are many possible inhalant allergens that can cause asthma in cats, including cigarette smoke, dusty cat litters, pollens, molds, and scented cleaners. Feline heartworm disease is an increasingly seen parasitic disease that may lead to symptoms of chronic feline asthma. In most cases of feline asthma, however, no underlying cause is found. How does asthma affect my pet's body? Mild cases of asthma usually involve brief self-limiting coughing that generally will not affect your pet long term. More serious cases of feline asthma can lead to such difficult breathing that cats have trouble getting oxygen out to the rest of the body, which can lead to fainting and collapse. This is due to the severe inflammation and constriction of the smaller airways.
Cats most at risk for asthma
While feline asthma can occur in any aged cat, it is most common in middle age to senior cats and those who are overweight. The Siamese cat breed seems to have an increased development toward this disease.
Keeping your cat's weight under control greatly reduces the risk of developing asthma and other dieases such as diabetes. Talk to your vet about putting your cat on a weight management diet.