Health

March 2009 Issue

Feline Asthma: A Risky Business For Many Cats

For some cats, this common respiratory affliction can have perilous consequences.

More than 80 million cats currently live in American homes, and veterinary epidemiologists estimate that 800,000 or more of these animals — one percent or so of the nation’s domestic feline population — suffer from acute or chronic asthma. Although this condition — the most commonly diagnosed respiratory disorder in cats — is incurable, veterinary researchers are making progress in understanding its causes and devising methods for its effective treatment. Richard Goldstein, DVM, associate professor of small animal medicine at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, describes asthma as a constriction of the airways, or bronchi, the two narrow tubes that lead directly from the trachea to the lungs. The narrowing of the airways occurs when a cat’s immune system overreacts to the presence of an allergen and responds by releasing stimulants that cause inflammation and swelling of the sensitive tissue lining the bronchi and contraction of the surrounding muscle. This results in the narrowing of the airway and causes breathing difficulty (dyspnea), especially when exhaling. While specific asthma-causing agents typically remain unidentified, suspected allergens include tobacco smoke, dusty kitty litter; vapors from household cleaning solutions and aerosol sprays; pollen from trees, weeds and grass; mold and mildew; dust mites; smoke from fireplaces and candles; and even some foods.

To continue reading this entire article you must be a paid subscriber.

Subscribe to CatWatch Newsletter

Which foods are really safe for your cat? How can you painlessly end furniture scratching---for good? What is your cat telling you when she refuses to eat? Get the answers to these questions- and many more- when you subscribe now to CatWatch!

Already subscribe but haven't registered for all the benefits of the website? Click here.

Subscriber Log In

Forgot your password? Click Here.