Orange and white cat licking her paw.

Feline Asthma

Cats can suffer from asthma attacks very similar to those seen in people. They are usually triggered by an allergic reaction to pollens and other allergens that are breathed into the lungs.

The reaction caused by the immune system’s response can be minor, or it can be quite severe, causing bronchitis and pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs).

This, in turn, can lead to severe breathing difficulties, coughing, and gagging in affected felines. Any cat can suffer from feline asthma, regardless of age.

Along with a good history of occurrence and clinical signs seen, diagnosis of feline asthma is aided by radiographic X rays of the lungs. Longstanding, recurring cases can actually exhibit scarring or fibrosis of the lung tissue.

Treatment of feline asthma involves identifying the source of the allergic reaction and using corticosteroids and other drugs to reduce the allergic response. When looking for the source, some experts recommend starting with the cat litter, especially dusty ones.

Often, though, the source of the problem cannot be pinpointed, and symptomatic therapy will be needed each time a flare-up occurs.