- Lower vet/med bills
- Happier cat
- Relaxed caregiver
- Ability to return
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Life with Asthma: Encouragement
So your cat has asthma? It's not the end! Most asthmatic
cats go on to live active, otherwise
once their disease is brought
under proper management. Asthma
is a life-long condition that
has no cure. Once a consistent
effective treatment is in place,
it's maintained, with periodic
adjustments if needed, for
the remainer of the cat's life.
Return to Normalcy
When your cat is first diagnosed, life can be trying, but once some stability
and predictability returns, as long as you plan ahead for things,
life can be normal again.
Asthma's uncontrolled progression can
be fatal. When a cat is in severe respiratory distress, life is anything
but normal. This can include:
- Frequent trips to the vet or the emergency room, with all
the stress that entails
- A parade of unfamiliar medications and their interactions
- Diagnosis and treatment are underway at the same time
- Anxiety over other similar illnesses
- Growing vet and prescription bills
- Confusion over what the cat can and cannot tolerate, and
what might be triggering the illness
- Worry about leaving the cat unattended
- Drugs that take hours, days, or weeks to show results...
- Symptoms that fail to respond to high doses
- Treatment procedures new to both cat and caretaker
- Volume of information can be overwhelming
Fortunately, asthma's symptoms are usually treatable and the
onset can, for the most part, be controlled. Most cats can be stabilized
with occasional flareups. Like
human asthmatics, flareups or
episodes are to be expected.
The goal is to limit them as
much as possible. Over time,
a predictable pattern will emerge
which will make prevention all
the more attainable.
Once the cat is stable:
- Diagnosis is confirmed
- Trips to the vet become planned and routine
- Similar illnesses are no longer a concern
- Treatments become routine for cat and caretakers
- Bills become smaller and predictable
- Tolerances and reactions to medications become better
- Medications which provide some effective relief are identified
- Time apart becomes possible for the human caretakers (see
- Fun becomes possible again!
Time Away from Home
How does one manage vacation when one has a "special
needs" cat? "Vacation? What's a vacation?" say many
caregivers of asthmatic cats. Some folks can't bear to be away from their
cat, for any length of time, for fear of the cat not getting the medical
attention it needs. A common concern is leaving home for work when
the cat is in an acute phase.
Those who need to travel from home have come
up with creative solutions. A popular choice is to have a veterinary technician
come into the home once or twice a day
to check on things and administer medications. Some prefer a live-in professional
sitter or a trusted friend or family member. Ask at your veterinary
office for recommendations. Some people take their cat to a cat kennel. This will depend
on the personality of the cat and their ability to handle change.
Some have found they can take their cat with them, whether to the
summer cottage or to pet-friendly hotels on the road. Another option
is to take the cat to the vet for an injection of long-acting steroid,
such as Depo-Medrol, however there are risks with systemic steroids. The
shots can last several weeks and act as a kind
of insurance for a cat who is having occasional symptoms and is
in otherwise good health.
The good news
with consistent and effective
treatment is greater stability
and that opens more choices
for the caregiver. Many find
that the predictability that
comes with stability is a tremendous
relief from the early days of
anxiety and stress.
Fritz displayed an inquisitiveness that suggested
he might tolerate road trips. Kathryn and James like to camp and
hike at every opportunity around the Pacific Northwest from Oregon
to British Columbia. Traveling all together in a camperized van
was the best option, especially for family visits to Canada. Fritz complains at
first in that usual
Siamese way but also enjoys checking out the remote
campspots. A well-fitting harness with lead
plus clear nametags and microchipping are essential for security.
Continue reading at Treatments