Cat Respiratory Condition Treatments
While cat asthma and feline chronic bronchitis are caused by different issues, they both trigger inflammation in the lungs. Inflamed airways cause narrowing, constriction, and blockage of the tubes which leads to the symptoms of breathing difficulty and the potential for respiratory attack.
While these lifelong conditions cannot be cured, your cat can lead a normal playful life with proper medication and management.
Living with asthma or bronchitis shouldn't mean a lifetime of side effects.
To help keep your cat playing, medication needs to be given regularly and for the rest of your cat’s life. Corticosteroids are routinely prescribed by veterinarians because they work to keep the inflammation down so your cat stays symptom free. Corticosteroids are available in inhaled and systemic (oral and injectable) forms.
Inhaled forms of steroid are preferred for long-term management
Inhalant Therapy offers:
Inhaled vs Systemic Steroids
Inhaled steroids are delivered exactly where needed: your cat’s lungs
25x lower concentrations of steroid needed
Can be used for long term disease control
Easier to administer – bonding moments can make it a positive experience
Helps keep pets able and willing to play with their families
Systemic steroids like Prednisolone and Dexamethasone enter the bloodstream and are sent all around the body
Higher doses needed to ensure some of it makes it to the lungs
Side effects can cause health and behavioral changes
Only recommended for short term use after a severe asthma attack
Difficult to administer – hard to bond with pills or needles
Side effects can halt play and change the personality of your cat
Side Effects of Systemic Steroids
- Lethargy/fatigue (no energy to play)
- Change in behavior (such as aggression)
- Suppressed immune system function
- Increased risk of bacterial, fungal, and urinary infections
- Weight gain / obesity
- Vomiting, diarrhea
- Loss of bladder control
- Poor wound healing
- Cushing’s disease
- Hair loss and skin or coat changes
- Increased blood pressure
- Stomach Ulcers
These side effects may reduce your cat's quality of life and the family relationship.
Cats who are lethargic or have a change in behavior may be unable or unwilling to play and may no longer seem like the pet you once knew.
Asthma and Bronchitis Treatment Path ALWAYS consult and follow the instructions of your veterinarian before giving your animal any medication! Only use inhalers as prescribed by your veterinarian.
Stop a Respiratory Attack
Provide respiratory relief
- Your vet may provide an injectable steroid and either inhaled or injectable bronchodilator
- Pet parents can use inhaled bronchodilator. I f unable to regain control, get emergency care for your cat immediately
Regain Airway Control
Clear the airways
- For severe attacks, your vet will prescribe a 10-day treatment of prednisolone
- Environmental triggers should be assessed
Transition to Inhalers
Wean off of systemic steroids
- Your vet will wean your cat off of prednisolone while overlapping treatment with an inhaled steroid such as fluticasone
- Overlap therapy for two weeks
Maintain lung health
- Continue using inhaled steroids regularly to control inflammation
- Continue even in the absence of symptoms
- Inhaled bronchodilator may be prescribed to help during coughing flare-ups
Types of Inhaled Medication
There are two main types of medication that are prescribed if a cat has been diagnosed with asthma: corticosteroids and/or bronchodilators. These are the same medications used to treat asthma in humans, but require different doses and administration in felines. ALWAYS consult and follow the instructions of your veterinarian before giving your animal any medication! Only use inhalers as prescribed by your veterinarian.
Short Acting Bronchodilators
Bronchodilators are medications used to expand the airways. They are commonly referred to as rescue medications because they are usually administered in the event of an asthma attack.
- Opens airways by relaxing muscle constriction
- May help with coughing flare-ups to regain control
- Effects usually only last 4-6 hours
- Does not treat underlying inflammation
Save a Visit to the Vet!
Inhaled short acting bronchodilators could help your pet regain control at home giving you more time to talk to your vet.
Corticosteroids (or glucocorticoids) are anti-inflammatory medications used to treat and manage the underlying causes of asthma and bronchitis.
- Reduces airway inflammation and mucus production
- Used for ongoing management of condition even in the absence of symptoms
Often a combination of an inhaled corticosteroid and a special bronchodilator that acts over a longer period of time.
- Reduces inflammation and helps prevent airway constriction
- Used for disease management, not rescue
- Fluticasone Cipla†
How the AeroKat* Chamber helps
The AeroKat* Chamber enables the use of inhalers by capturing and holding the medication so your cat can breathe it in. Designed specifically for cats by the makers of the leading AeroChamber* brand of spacers for humans, the AeroKat* Chamber has special masks, valves, and performance characteristics that help ensure your cat gets medication to its lungs, while feedback features like the Flow-Vu* inhalation indicator make using the device with any inhaler easy.
Make Every Puff Count
The AeroKat* Chamber offers greater drug availability for a longer time. This helps your cat get medication to its lungs while reducing medication waste and helping save on your cat’s annual respiratory medication costs.
More time means better performance:
- Enables you to puff the inhaler before applying the mask
- Ensures enough time for the 7-10 breaths needed to empty the chamber
- Ensures cats who hold their breath will still get medication
Where to Buy Medications
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