A coughing cat can indicate a number of health problems. However, when this symptom appears to bother felines, it is almost always associated with a respiratory disease, such as bronchitis in cats - also known as bronchial asthma or chronic bronchitis. Although there are many terminologies, the disorder is clinically recognized as the result of inflammation of the airwaysThis is caused by sensitivity to certain stimuli. Find out more about it below, from causes to treatment.
Bronchitis in cats: what are the main causes?
The underlying causes of inflammation associated with feline bronchitis are unknown, but the airways can react to some triggers (exposure to allergens) and diseases that can incite or aggravate the problem. See below:
- Cigarette smoke or pollution;
- Perfume and cleaning products;
- Infectious agents - viruses, bacteria;
- Parasites - heartworm, lungworm.
When a cat's airways are sensitive to stimuli, exposure to these agents leads to excessive mucus production as well as narrowing of the bronchi and bronchioles, which makes it difficult for air to pass through. Consequences include muscle spasms in the breathing tubes and difficulty breathing.
What are the main symptoms of feline bronchitis?
Typically, cats suffering from feline bronchitis or asthma have a history of coughing. This symptom is often mistaken for hairballs, as cats exhibit similar behavior when trying to expel something that has become stuck in their throat or has been swallowed. Similarly, coughing can be interpreted as choking or an unsuccessful attempt to vomit.
To help you correctly identify bronchitis in your kitten, here are the main clinical signs of this respiratory disease:
- Rapid breathing;
- Open-mouth breathing;
- Increased noise or wheezing when breathing;
- Breathing difficulties / increased effort during breathing;
- Exercise intolerance.
In animals mildly affected by bronchitis, coughing or wheezing may occur only occasionally. Some cats with respiratory disease are symptomatic between acute and severe bouts of airway constriction. Severely affected felines have daily coughing and wheezing and many bouts of airway constriction leading to open-mouth breathing and respiratory distress.panting.
Are some cats more likely to suffer from bronchitis?
Feline bronchitis is most common in cats between two and eight years of age (young and middle-aged animals). Siamese kittens are more predisposed to having lower airway disease, with a prevalence of up to 5% of the breed. Overweight and obese cats also have a higher risk of developing some respiratory disorder.
How is bronchitis diagnosed in cats?
Diagnosis of feline asthma/bronchitis is made by a combination of the pet's history, physical examination, chest radiographs, complete blood count, and even transtracheal lavage. This is a procedure performed under general anesthesia to collect samples of airway secretions for cytology and bacterial culture to rule out infection.
Feline bronchitis: how to treat the problem?
Feline bronchitis medicine is the main form of treatment for the disease. Depending on the severity, kitty will be treated with a combination of corticosteroid (steroidal anti-inflammatory), by inhaler or pill, and a bronchodilator to help open the airways.
In parallel, the guardian should eliminate any factors known to trigger or aggravate respiratory problems in the animal. In other words, this means reinforcing the cleanliness of the house, removing cigarette smoke, removing carpets, pillows and curtains, as well as removing other environmental factors that can aggravate the cat's health condition.