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World Asthma Awareness Day

On World Asthma Day we need to know what asthma looks like in our cats. Recently our foster cat had a coughing fit. It sounded like she was trying to get a hairball out, but nothing came out. She seemed to be trying to force the are out of her body. It only lasted for a moment and then she was done. A day later one of our other cats had a similar episode. The cause of asthma is not clear, but some of it’s other names may give us a clue.

In cats, asthma may also be known as “Feline Allergic Asthma”, “Feline Allergic Bronchitis”, “Feline Lower Airway Disease” or Feline Eosinophilic Bronchitis”. Recently several people have mentioned that their reaction to pollen in the air has had a greater effect on them than they remember from past years. Both cats and dogs can be affected by the same types of allergens as people including food allergies. They are also affected by secondhand smoke. Changes to their environment, the introduction of a smoker, and even stress can trigger an asthma attack.

Cats suffering from asthma may show signs of difficulty breathing, wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing or hacking, open-mouthed breathing, or vomiting. These signs can vary in intensity, ranging from acute respiratory crises to chronic, low-grade coughing, elevated respiratory rate, or increased respiratory effort. During an asthma attack, many cats hunch their body close to the ground and extend their necks forward in a characteristic posture similar to that of a hairball attack.

If your cat suddenly starts coughing and then stops, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have asthma, but if the coughing happens regularly or becomes persistent. Although there is no cure for asthma and the symptoms can progress from a mild cat to a life-threatening one, there are good treatments and early detection will help to prolong the health and life of your cat.

There could also be a genetic factor. Siamese cats seem to be more susceptible to asthma than other breeds. For more information about asthma in here are some links.

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