If your cat’s frequency of coughing and sneezing suddenly increases during the fall, you should suspect asthma. Feline asthma is a typical chronic allergic disease. It has a global prevalence of over 1%, and at least 1 in 100 animals is diagnosed with asthma. Most onsets are between the ages of 2 and 6, and as it is incurable and symptoms are chronically or gradually worsening, early diagnosis and management is very important.
Asthma in cats is difficult to cure, so control is very important｜Source: Getty Images Bank
The exact cause of asthma in cats is still unknown, but it is known that humans are affected by allergies as much as asthma in humans. When asthma occurs, the mucous membrane of the narrow passage through which air passes through the airways and lungs is inflamed, mucosal edema, mucosal spasm, and secretions increase.
Cat asthma, which is difficult to diagnose, has ‘these symptoms’?
Symptoms include coughing and sneezing. In particular, if you lie on your stomach, stretch your neck, stick your tongue out, and make a loud ‘kekk’ sound as if you are trying to expel foreign substances in your throat, it is likely ok you have asthma. In addition, as symptoms worsen, dyspnea, tongue, gums and lips may turn blue and cyanosis may appear. If cat asthma is not treated in a timely manner, it can lead to serious complications and death.
The biggest problem with feline asthma is that it is difficult to diagnose. Because there are so many different causes of cough, if no other specific cause is found after various tests such as a parasite test are first performed, a ‘CT scan’, ‘chest radiograph’, and ‘drug test’ are performed to differentiate asthma. In addition, the bronchoalveolar lavage test is performed by inserting a very thin tube up to the bronchi, injecting saline, and collecting it to check if inflammatory cells are detected.
Environmental management is important
Feline asthma is a very difficult disease to cure. However, there is no major problem in a cat’s life if medication and proper management are combined. Bronchodilator and steroids are used for treatment, and oral medications have side effects such as diabetes and pancreatitis, so aerosol inhaled medications are mainly used.
Environmental management is also very important. It is best to remove as much as possible the irritant that can cause an allergy. The main irritants are ▲ house dust mites ▲ mold ▲ pollen ▲ cigarette smoke ▲ cat litter ▲ perfume. Seasonal factors can also affect the severity of symptoms. In weather with a large daily temperature difference, such as autumn, the respiratory mucosa becomes sensitive and irritated, which can worsen the symptoms. Therefore, it is recommended to remove dust from the house as much as possible and use a humidifier during the dry season. In addition, it is recommended to check your cat’s health by having regular health checks every 6 months to 1 year.