Cats with Asthma
Cats with asthma? Yes indeed! My cat Wilson has Asthma. I didn’t KNOW cats could have Asthma. It manifested later in his life, but wasn’t diagnosed until after several month of him unsuccessfully attempting to upchuck a fur ball. I called the vet and they suggested I bring him in.
The vet listened to Wilson’s chest with the stethoscope and frowned, “Wilson’s lungs are very congested. Given the behavior you’ve described, he probably has asthma. You’ve been witnessing Wilson having asthma attacks.” He went on to explain that one in every 100 cats has asthma, and that it generally affects cats between 2 and 8 years of age. Wilson was around 7 years old when the symptoms began to surface.
The vet then proceeded to give me the protocol for treating Wilson. Having had two cats that I stuck huge needles into their necks to hydrate them with water when their kidneys were failing, the treatment for treating Wilson’s condition didn’t sound so terrible. I was surprised to learn that the medicine being prescribed was actually for humans – just administered through a special diffuser for cats. Boy was I shocked at the cost! Having been covered with medical insurance all my life – spending at most $15.00 on a prescription– I had no idea how expensive medicine really is! Wilson’s medicine costs between $155.00 and $179.00 every 3 months. He was also prescribed pills to ease inflammation when he has a serious attack. Those are not expensive at all – but rarely used at all.
My cat has gotten use to the inhaler, and seems to look forward to it since he gets a good hair brushing and treat afterwards.
Here is a video of how the “Feline Aerosol Chamber” works.
“The AeroKat* Feline Aerosol Chamber (FAC) is designed to be used with a Metered Dose Inhaler (puffer) as recommended by a veterinarian to deliver aerosol medication to cats …When the AeroKat* FAC is attached to the puffer it allows your cat to breathe normally and inhale the aerosol medication which goes deep into your cats’ lungs, where it is needed.”
It took several months of experimenting with his dosages of the diffuser before found that one treatment every other day is usually enough. That is, one pump of the medicine and the apparatus held over his nose and mouth (pictured below) until he breaths in 25 breaths. To keep Wilson calm we massage his ears, which pretty much puts him in a trance. He then gets a treat. He almost seems to pace the floor at night waiting for the treatment that precedes the coveted treat!
We have learned that the attacks only happen if Wilson is super stressed (usually caused by loud noises going on around our unit for many hours) he eats fish (that has to be a cosmic joke – a cat allergic to fish!) or the humidity is high or a combination thereof. I use cat litter that is as dust free as possible.
Other than having asthma and being a bit fat, Wilson functions like any other happy cat – big appetite for food, play and lap time.