Just like humans, cats can suffer from asthma. Much like human asthma, it is caused by a type of chronic allergic reaction (often to dust mites, pollens, mould spores and other allergens). It can cause some scary coughing fits, some cats can look like they are choking, while others look like they are “coughing up a hairball”. The classic “asthma cough” involves the cat extending its neck forward and down, and sticking out their elbows to the side while repetitively hacking or coughing.
It is caused by a thickening of the bronchi or small airways. It can be very dangerous if the fits are prolonged or severe as a cat struggles to breath during the attacks. A diagnosis needs to be made via tests such as xrays of the chest, and sometimes via collection of samples of bronchial fluid. Once diagnosed, it is best managed by puffers (yep, the same one as humans use). These can be administered via a spacer or a nebuliser. Some cats will not tolerate this however, in which case oral medications can be used.
If you suspect your cat has allergic airway disease, then please give us a call and make an appointment to come see us and we will conduct an exam and make our recommendations from there.