What is Feline Asthma?
Asthma is an allergic airway disease and is a common cause of coughing in cats, but many people actually miss the sign that their cat is coughing and think they think that the cat is just “trying to hack up a fur ball”. As asthma can become serious, and in fact can be fatal, it is important that you recognize the sign and seek treatment if you have a coughing cat.
This isn’t a furball…. Rather this is a coughing cat.
When do you need to seek veterinary care?
If you see your cat open mouth breathing, this is an emergency situation and you should seek immediate veterinary care. If possible it would be better to seek out care before it becomes and emergency.
The following video is a coughing cat and she needs veterinary attention to diagnose the underlying cause and determine the appropriate treatment.
♦Cat Asthma Attack -- Click HERE to view video and to see what to look for in your kitty♦
How to treat…
If your cat is diagnosed with Asthma it is important to minimize inhaled irritants such as smoke, perfumes, powders and dust (use a dust free kitty litter). It is also important to decrease the inflammation within the airways and decrease the constriction of the airways and so your cat will need medication.
- Bronchodilator: This medication will help relax the smooth muscles around the airways and thus help to open the airways. This can be dispensed as an oral medication or an inhaler. Bronchodilators given as an inhaled medication has a rapid onset of action but is short acting and thus is very good during an asthmatic attack; where as the oral medication has a slower onset but a longer duration of action.
- Steroid: This will decrease inflammation within the airways. We will often start with an oral prednisolone as it is easier to administer. But our goal is to wean your cat off the oral medication and onto an inhaler (puffer), as this will allow medication to be administered directly into the lungs and minimize side effects.
Watch the following video for more information.
How to use the Aerokat…
- Shake the inhaler before use
- Attach the inhaler to the back of the Areokat
- Press down on the top of the inhaler to deliver a single dose. Often cats do not like the puff sound and so this step may need to be done prior to placing the mask onto the cat’s face. Cover the mask with your hand to try to avoid the medication from escaping. Note this method may decrease the amount of medication inhaled by your cat. If your cat continues to have symptoms give us a call as the dosage may need to be adjusted. Also with training you can get your cat used to the sound.
- Immediately hold the mask with the attached Areokat chamber over your cats face. Ensure the mask is fitting snuggly and is not covering his/her eyes.
- Keep the mask covering your cats mouth and nose for 5 to 10 breaths.
- If you are to administer two “puffs” administer each puff separately. Never give two puffs of the same or different drugs into the chamber at the same time as this is less effective.
- If you are using the bronchodilator (Salbutamol) and a steroid (Fluticasone) always use the bronchodilator (Salbutamol) first.
Sounds easy right? Well now comes the training step.
Training your cat to accept the Aerokat
Now training a cat to use a mask is not a short process and may take a few weeks to a couple of months of training. You need to have patients and you need to be consistent with the training. The tricks with training a cat to do anything, including accepting the Aerokat are:
- Make it fun
- Keep the training short
- Never force your cat
- Use Rewards
- Be consistent
- Take Your Time
- Be Patient
The following is a 15-minute video (I did say it takes time) showing a cat learning to accept the Aerokat. The lady in the video does a great job at getting her cat to be interested in the mask by using food inside the mask itself.
Check it out.