September 2009 Issue

Why Is Your Cat Coughing?

A wide variety of irritants from minor and transient to severe and indicative of a major health problem can affect any portion of the feline respiratory system, whose purpose is to warm and humidify inhaled air, deliver oxygen to the lungs, and expel carbon dioxide and other waste gases. A complex pathway of tracts and organs, the upper respiratory system consists of the nose; two nasal passages; the nasal cavity (a hollow structure surrounded by air-filled spaces that are situated just above and below the eyes); and the pharynx (a cavity behind the mouth) that opens, via a passageway called the larynx; to a tubular structure, the trachea, a flexible tube commonly referred to as the windpipe.

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