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Archive for September 30th, 2009

When a caregiver contacts me regarding a cat having difficulty breathing, coughing fits, and/or wheezing – my first guess is asthma.  My second guess would be heart disease.  Then again, it could be as simple as an upper respiratory infection (the cat’s version of the common cold.) There’s not a lot you can do for a cold – but if it’s progressed to bronchitis/pneumonia, an antibiotic would be appropriate.  Obviously, the first step is to get the cat to a vet.  Any cat having difficulty breathing should see a vet IMMEDIATELY!  I’d start with a chest x-ray.

In the case of  asthma, treatment is generally two-fold. 
1)  A preventative medication/corticosteroid such as fluticasone (Flovent)
2)  A short-acting (emergency) medication/bronchodilator such as albuterol
Inhaled medications are VASTLY preferable to injected (or oral).  Inhaled medications obviously target the respiratory system.  Therefore, they have fewer systematic side effects.  Injected or oral steroids can cause diabetes and attacks of acute pancreatitis.

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