Feline asthma topics
Overview Emergency Care Ongoing Care Treatment Hints
Medications: Inhaled Conventional Other

Overview: Ongoing Care
The basic goals of ongoing care are to:
1) evaluate cat's health regularly
2) identify the treatments which help the cat achieve the best quality of life
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Potential Asthma Triggers

Smoke: candles, cigarettes, fireplace, incense, outdoor burning
Fragrances: perfume, air freshener, scented cat litter
Chemicals: new carpets, paint, furniture stain
Environmental: pollen, mold, humidity, cold air
Dust, dust mites in bedding, cat litter
and fear that cause rapid breathing & heart rate
Excess Weight

Treatment: Ongoing Care

This page describes ongoing care issues. Other pages in this section describe additional treatments and medications for feline asthma. 

Take-Home Care - what to expect

"An important new development in our understanding of this disease is the occurrence of airway inflammation even when patients are symptom-free. It is therefore crucial that we direct our therapeutic attention toward the underlying chronic inflammation that causes the acute clinical signs of cough, wheeze, and increased respiratory effort." Padrid: Nov. 2000

Stabilizing your cat after a serious asthmatic episode is the first concern. Deciding on a treatment plan both you and your vet are comfortable with is next.

Ask questions about treatments and procedures so you can make informed decisions. You'll be looking at options for the most effective long-term medications to reduce the chronic inflammation in airways balanced with the least risk of side-effects. The common approach is a combination of daily steroids (inhaled and/or oral) with "as needed" bronchodilators. Some drugs that require subcutaneous injection can be done at home after the instruction by the veterinarian. If you have to give pills daily, you may wish to read this article on Pilling Cats (and Dogs) and the Dangers of Erosive Esophagatis by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM. I would add the option of inhaled medications being another safer option and emphasize her point that when administering transdermal corticosteroids, the dosage is difficult to manage.

The long-term care stage can be frustrating when trying to find the right combinations of medicine while eliminating possible environmental factors. Patience and good record keeping are essential. Work with your vet, keep up with resources and share information with other asthmatic cat caregivers -- remembering your cat is unique. Not all information on feline asthma is on the Internet. Under the resources section are some pointers to where one can obtain magazines and veterinary journal articles. New articles are frequently coming out in popular cat magazines as awareness of feline asthma grows.

Continue reading the topics in the Medication pages for choices with on-going care.

Keep a Journal

note.gifThis is one of the most important tools at your fingertips to note when "attacks" occur and what treatment was administered. What is experienced as urgent today can be hard to remember in the future, so the journal will become an invaluable reference. Useful notes to include are:

  • date
  • time and severity of attack
  • treatment given
  • veterinary notes
  • food changes
  • environmental changes
  • other health issues

Some find a seasonal pattern with their cat's asthma. By keeping a journal, you can see if any clear pattern emerges and this is important information to discuss with your veterinarian to determine appropriate medication and treatment strategies. It takes at least a year of careful notekeeping to be certain of any seasonal patterns.

You can ask your veterinarian or vet assistant for copies of chart notes for your cat's health record at home. Having a health record is important to carry with you if seeing an unfamiliar vet or in an emergency situation at a different clinic.


Consider regular (every 6 to 12 months) chest x-rays, with possible blood work, that can follow any changes of the disease. After an acute attack, plan on a recheck with the vet in 1-2 weeks. Make detailed notes in your journal about changes to medication or symptoms.

Potential Asthma Triggers (see sidebar)

Every cat is different. Keep a log and make one change at a time to track triggers Finding the triggers can be a frustrating and sometimes fruitless process. Feline asthma tends to be worse for many in the Spring and Fall.

Dr. Philip Padrid, in his research, is seeking genetic links that result in asthma. There is no hard data to date which definitively points to what triggers asthma in cats. Keeping a journal of your cat's asthmatic symptoms and notes of environmental changes help to plot this puzzling disease.

Continue reading at Treatment Hints

2001-2008 Kathryn Hopper & James Perkins. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to print portions of this website for personal and veterinary reference only. Disclaimer: All material on Fritzthebrave.com is provided for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Consult your cat's veterinarian regarding all aspects of your cat's health. Fritzthebrave.com provides links to other organizations as a community service and is not responsible for the information, services, or products they provide.

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