Topics in TCVM‎ > ‎

Feline Asthma

posted Jan 13, 2013, 11:06 AM by Dana Hatfield   [ updated Feb 25, 2013, 7:53 AM ]

1% of all cats have asthma.  Often there is a chronic history of coughing and wheezing, but acute episodes of respiratory distress can occur.  These may be characterized by sitting in a hunched position, open mouth, and straining to breath. 

Triggers include inhaled allergens from the environment, such as: tobacco smoke, kitty litter dust, aerosol sprays, and carpet deodorizers. Therefore, keeping a clean house and avoiding the use of air fresheners and household cleaners that can aggravate asthma are a first line of defense.  Feline Heartworm disease can also cause asthma, but can be prevented by keeping cats on a monthly preventative, like Revolution, which is topical, easy to apply, and affordable.

Many cats with asthma are treated with oral steroids to decrease inflammation and bronchodilators to open constricted airways.  When given orally, there can be side-effects that affect the liver, heart, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and can cause diabetes and even seizures.   Aerokat, is a specially designed inhaler for cats allowing administration of these drugs directly to the lungs, minimizing side-effects.

Not all cats “agree” to take medications (as many cat owners can attest to), what then?  What if medications are not enough?  Or, what if your cat is experiencing side-effects?  Acupuncture is a safe treatment option that can be integrated to help control asthma.  Stimulation of specific points through dry needles or electroacupuncture has been proven to:

    • Increase mucociliary clearance of the airway epithelium.
    • Reduce airway and pulmonary tissue inflammation.
    • Improve immune response.
Does your cat have poorly controlled asthma?  Consider acupuncture.