Feline Asthma!

IMPORTANT: If your cat is in any distress or discomfort, please consult your own vet as your first priority.
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LittlePenBigHeart
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Feline Asthma!

Post by LittlePenBigHeart » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:57 pm

This afternoon I noticed Dylan was breathing pretty quickly and on his out-breath he seemed to be wheezing a little. We rushed him to the vet, who couldn't find anything obviously wrong with his heart or lungs (the last time we took a cat to the vet with breathing problems he turned out to have heart failure so I was in major panic mode), but kept him in to observe him for a couple of hours.

When my husband went back to collect him, the vet suggested he might have feline asthma. I didn't even know cats could get it! It might have been set off by the renovations we're doing to our kitchen, but when we looked at the symptoms, he's had a few for a little while now. He has been occasionally throwing up froth, he hunches a lot when he's laid down, with his head low to the ground, he seems to do a swallowing motion quite often and he has been lethargic (which we had put down to his tummy troubles. Ditto with the frothy sick).

The vet has instructed us to watch him for the next 3 days, counting his breaths per minute at different points, then report back.

Does anyone have any experience with cats with asthma? I want to know what we can expect if he is formally diagnosed.

Antonio
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Re: Feline Asthma!

Post by Antonio » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:56 pm

Sorry to read of your little friend being sick.
When my elder cat was very very young she had several episodes of bad coughing. She was playing or eating or doing nothing and all of a sudden she would take a hunched position, she starting coughing with her tongue stuck out and dark purple in colour. She could hardly breath during those moments and I always feared she could die. I made a video of one of these episodes and showed it to the vets who told me it was asthma.
They gave me cortisone drops to put in her mouth when necessary. This would have been a lifetime condition. Needless to say that it never happened again after we got the cortisone ready on the kitchen counter .
Don't know whether your cat has asthma, it sounds to me like heart problems.
Observe his breathing, it's easier when he's sleeping because the breathing isn't affected by external factors. During his rest he should breath 18 to 30 times per minute, the lower the better.
I've been checking over my cat regularly in the last 6 months and she breathes 18-22 times per minute at rest. More than the number of breaths it is important that the breathing pattern is regular, I mean the breaths must be equally spaced and not too shallow or too deep.

A check oh his airways is also advisable.
All the best to your little friend!

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Camdengirl
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Re: Feline Asthma!

Post by Camdengirl » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:08 pm

Hello, how has Dylan been over the weekend? I hope he's doing all right. My boy Hops also has suspected asthma. He has had sporadic respiratory problems over the past few years, with several chest infections that seemed to respond well to treatment, but he also brings up froth from time to time, and he swallows quite frequently too – I initially put that down to the fact he has chronic rhinitis, which can make him very snotty. Last year our current vet (who has several cats himself, one of which has asthma) suggested he have a look at Hops' airways while he was being sedated for something else and said the inflammation, combined with the inflammatory markers in his blood results, mean it is likely he has allergic asthma. We tried him on a six-week course of powerful antibiotics as he did also have signs of infection, but as that didn't resolve the cough we're now looking at trying him on medication. Hops also has a heart condition, which isn't currently causing him any trouble but makes giving him systemic steroids unsafe, so at the moment we're trying to get him used to being around an Aerokat (like a spacer that they use to give inhaled medication to children, but for cats) and if we can get him to accept that on his face the vet will prescribe some inhaled steroids. We have a check-up this week.

As I understand it from my vet, the way to determine the likelihood of a cat's being asthmatic involves running blood tests to look for markers of an allergic response and taking a look inside the lungs with a bronchoscope. In many cases I gather it's difficult to definitively diagnose feline asthma, and it is more a case of ruling other things out. If a cat is diagnosed, the main treatment options are akin to those used in humans – steroids (systemic or inhaled) and, if necessary, inhaled bronchodilator drugs to help relax the airways during an attack.

(We recently lost our older girl, Pip, after many months of battling heart failure, so I have seen the effects of that sort of problem too. When fluid build-up affected her breathing it only resolved if the fluid was drained or her diuretics were revised, whereas Hops's breathing tends to be fine in between his coughing fits.)

LittlePenBigHeart
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Re: Feline Asthma!

Post by LittlePenBigHeart » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:57 pm

Thanks both.

Yes, I also thought it might well be a heart condition, but the vet says she listened to his heart and it sounded fine. This is not definitive enough for my liking. We lost a cat to heart failure last year after a year of high-dose meds and of course, got very panicky when I saw Dylan was now having trouble breathing. He's only one year and a month old, so it would be a horrendous twist of fate if he did have a heart problem.

I checked his breathing yesterday when he was resting (not sleeping) and it was 30bpm, so it's the upper end of normal and it looks okay right now as well, which would fit more with what the vet said about asthma than with a heart problem, because the asthma might be intermittent but it's rare for a heart problem to calm down on its own. We were given antibiotics to give him but we wasted 6 trying to get just one into him so I'll have to make an appointment for him to have an injection instead (never had this problem with the girls but Bubbles was just as bad for it! What is it with boys!?).

Quite possibly, it's a problem that grew worse because of all the work we've been doing on our kitchen. There was a lot of dust and a lot of gloss paint fumes from where I was painting the cupboards so it's possible it's just allergic asthma, rather than a more chronic problem (I hope). Will continue to keep an eye on him but I am grateful for both your replies about your experiences. It's good to know that there are things that can be done!

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