Using a Cat Asthma Inhaler

Cat asthma is a common condition that causes coughing and wheezing in cats. Feline asthma can't be cured, but medication can help control its symptoms. Cats who suffer from frequent or severe feline asthma symptoms can benefit from inhalation therapy. Here's how you can help ease your cat's asthma symptoms with a feline asthma inhaler.

Symptoms and Risks of Cat Asthma

Feline asthma is one of the most common causes of wheezing and coughing in cats. Feline asthma causes inflammation of the breathing passages in the lungs, and can cause the lungs to secrete excess mucous, both of which lead to difficulties in breathing.

Cat asthma symptoms are often triggered by allergens or other irritants in the environment, such as smoke, pollen, dust and aerosol sprays. Bacterial and viral infections can also trigger bouts of feline asthma symptoms. Reducing the number of potential triggers in your home environment can help ease your cat's asthma symptoms.

Vets don't know exactly what causes feline asthma, may be mild or severe. Cats with asthma will often cough with their heads stretched out, as if they were trying to cough something up, and they may vomit after a coughing spell.

If symptoms become severe, your cat may experience respiratory distress and require hospitalization. Cats in respiratory distress exhibit labored, rapid breathing through an open mouth. Respiratory distress can lead to respiratory failure and death, so seek emergency vet care immediately if you think your cat has gone into respiratory distress.

Treating Feline Asthma

Severe feline asthma symptoms must be controlled with a course of oral steroid medications, which reduce the inflammation in the lungs. Milder feline asthma symptoms can be treated with inhaled medications, and many symptoms can be avoided by removing allergens and irritants, like smoke and aerosol sprays, from the home environment. If your cat experiences the symptoms of asthma every day or nearly every day, your vet will recommend using an inhaled medication to control symptoms.

Administering Inhaled Medication for Feline Asthma

Albuterol, an inhaled medication that reduces inflammation in the lungs and widens breathing passages, can be administered through an inhaler for the treatment of feline asthma. Your vet will prescribe an Aerokat, which is a type of bronchial inhaler designed for use on cats. You'll need to get your cat used to the inhaler before you try administering medication.

To help your cat get comfortable with the inhaler, place the mask over his face for two seconds, then reward him with a treat and some praise. Do this two or three times a day until your cat becomes comfortable with having the mask placed over his face. Your cat will need to continue taking any oral steroid medications while he gets used to using the inhaler. You'll also need to continue administering any oral medications until the inhaled medications used in the Aerokat have built up to a certain level of effectiveness in your cat's system; this process may take several weeks.