Feline Asthma

Q: I have a six year old cat that has been diagnosed with asthma.My vet has her on an anti inflammatory medicine to help open up her air ways but she is till having attacks. They are not as often as they were and they are sometimes shorter then usual.It seems that her appetite and attitude has changed for the better since she is on this this medicine.He now wants to put her on prednisone, but I am very concerned due to all of the side effects that prednisone can caused.We have also discussed putting her on Flovent 220 mcg, but the cost is outrageous.For a cat with asthma do would you put them on a full dosage of prednisone or a lower dosage? Is there another option that we can take or will the prednisone be a good idea?

  • Vetinfo

    By: Julie Ann El Segundo, CA

    Replied on 04/19/2011

    Asthma in cats is more often than not a periodically occurring problem rather than a daily occurrence.  Sometimes we are able to determine the cause of the asthma attacks.  This can include common allergens such as house dust, house dust mites or inhaled chemicals such as paint fumes.  In many cases we don't know exactly what triggers episodes.

    Treatment for asthmatic cats often includes a form of cortisone either orally or injections.  Injections can be very effective if used for periodic episodes.  If episodes occur more frequently oral cortisone drugs such as Prednisolone may be prescribed.  The goal with any cortisone is to use the lowest dose possible for the shortest period needed to maintain control.  Oral prednisolone can often be given every other day to twice a week which reduces the chances of developing side effects such as diabetes.

    For cats with frequent episodes antihistamines may be beneficial.  Other drugs such as Theophylline or Terbutaline may be given orally to reduce airway constriction.  Inhalers such as albuterol can be used with a spacing chamber taylored to cats with some success.  Some cats will not tolerate anything being held near the face.

    Discuss treating your cat with prednisolone and an antihistamine initially and seeing if the pred can be decreased.  If that is not successful talk to your vet about adding one of the other medications.  It often is a trial process to determine what works for an individual patient.

    Reduce triggers in the home by using dustless, non-fragrance cat litter, change furnace filters on a regular basis, vacuum frequently and don't allow smoking in the home.

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