Other and Alternative Medications
This page describes some of the non-standard medications used to treat
This includes antileukotrienes,
antihistamines, and antiserotonins.
Herbal and naturopathic remedies may
Antihistamines are not known to be an effective
primary treatment for asthma in veterinary literature. Furthermore,
the feline immune system is significantly different from human systems,
particularly in the role of histamine, so treatment of asthma
with antihistamines is controversial, and some human antihistamines
may possibly worsen asthma. Cyproheptadine (Periactin®) is an exception
to this which we note below
Antihistamines are worthy of mention as
they seem to assist in related upper respiratory issues like rhinitis
and sinus infections.
Rhinitis and asthma often occur together. Symptoms may include
sneezing, nasal drainage, red eyes, and nasal wheezing. Your vet
may consider Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton® or Chlor-Tabs) to
provide symptomatic relief.
Reports from feline asthma caregivers are
mixed on this class of drugs, which includes Accolate® and Singulair®.
This is an active area of study by clinicians, so it may be worth
discussing with your vet or searching a veterinary library to find
Some caregivers report their cats' asthma is significantly
helped by Cyproheptadine (Periactin®) as their primary therapy. This
drug is also classified as an
antihistamine agent as noted
than one said it makes their cat uninterested in normal,
playful activity ("turns them into a zombie") and very
interested in food. However, one clinician reports that these
side-effects lessen after a few weeks of therapy, and one caregiver
reported that their cat is active
and energetic using Cyproheptadine as
a primary (and relatively inexpensive) therapy. This uncommon
treatment shows promise, particularly for cats who cannot tolerate
steroids, and we hope that professional research will eventually
emerge regarding this treatment.
Cyclosporine A is another experimental treatment,
but is expensive, and as a result saved for cats who have not been
helped by other drug regimens. We are not aware of any reports from
caregivers as to its effectiveness.
and Homeopathic Remedies
Many caregivers seek assistance for their asthmatic
cat through Holistic Medicine approaches. These
can include: acupuncture, homeopathy, Bach Flower remedies, herbalism,
supplements, special diet
Conventional veterinary medicine can usually control
asthma. Since uncontrolled asthma can be fatal, many use
standard treatment and add the support
and guidance from their alternative therapy practitioner.
This can be disheartening to a caregiver who usually chooses natural
medicines for themselves. Although mild asthma may be a better candidate for
exclusive use of alternative therapies, keep in mind that absence
of symptoms doesn't mean an absence of inflammation.
Due to the seriousness
of asthma, many feel it best
to work with by choosing standard medicines
that carry the least side-effects and
augment with holistic to help
support and nurture the immune
best discussed with a certified
Holistic Veterinary Practitioner
rather than experimenting with
the wide variety of supplements
or treatments that humans use
for themselves. One needs to
use caution in trying over-the-counter
therapies they have heard about
anecdotally because information
on whether a substance can cause
harm to cats is not well documented.
An excellent professional organization
is the American
Holistic Veterinary Medical
Association. They have a
listing for referrals. If you
live outside the USA, check
through the phone book or do
an Internet search for finding
a holistic specialist near you.
find that their asthmatic cats
also have food or environmental
allergies. A good holistic (or
conventional) vet will help
you set out a plan on determining
what steps to take to improve
your cat's overall health.