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Cat with asthma - Answered by Dr. Lee

June 19th, 2007, 05:35 PM
hi all.

my cat patsy has asthma :sick: . the first sign of it was a year ago this month when i took her into the emerg in the middle of the night because she was coughing constantly. anyway, they took an x-ray and diagnosed it as asthma. i was given a choice: a shot that should last her about three-four weeks that would give her immediate relief, or start her on pills that would take longer to kick in, but would last longer. i chose the shot as the poor baby was so miserable i wanted her to have relief right away. the shot gave us immediate results, and it lasted longer than three weeks - she didn't have a problem again until last week (so, it lasted a year).

last monday morning i took her in as the same thing was happening. they gave her the shot, kept her a few hours to monitor her, then i got to take her home with a prescription for prednisone (5 mg twice a day), plus theoyphyl (sp?) (1/2 a pill in the evenings as needed for laboured breathing). she was fine until last thursday evening, when i gave her the first dose of theoyphyl because she was coughing and heaving. then she was fine until sunday night through the night, when she started showing signs again - i gave her another 1/2 pill. i took her back in to the vet on monday morning. they kept her for the day, did xrays plus a full blood panel.

i have now been told her asthma is "significant", and that she might not get better - it will be a watch and wait thing. when i asked what could have triggered it, they said it could be a number of things, but that dust and/or odours are normally a huge factor. they advised me to switch to dust-free litter (which i did immediately!) and to eliminate any strong odours around her while we try to see if she'll get better. i now have her secluded in our guest room with a vapourizor going (the vet said that was fine, that the noise might scare her, but that it was worth a try - i bought a really quiet one!). i secluded her for a number of reasons - to let the vapourizor work better, to keep her quiet and resting (away from stairs - she's in there with a clean litter box, food, water, etc.), to keep my other two cats away from her while she's sick, etc.

i'm trying not to go in the room too much as she starts to purr as soon as she sees me, which in turn makes her cough. that's so hard, as i want to go in there and comfort her!!!!! i've been instructed to continue the prednisone twice a day, plus i'm to give her no more than 1/2 a pill a day of the theoyphyl (i gave it to her last nite and tonite).

my question is - does anyone else have advice out there as to how i can try to help her fight this? don't get me wrong... i'm a firm believer in being humane (she's almost eleven), but i want to give her a chance first to see if she can fight it :pray: . is there anything else i can do?

thanks, friends, from my beautiful girl and me!
trac :grouphug:

June 19th, 2007, 06:44 PM
I highly recommend checking out this website: especially the part about inhaled meds. There is a device called an AeroKat ( that allows bronchodilators such as Albuterol to be used on felines, which would be much more effective in an emergency than having to wait for the pills to kick in. The other problem with oral or injected steroids is the increased possibility of developing diabetes. Using an inhaler eliminates that risk. I would talk to your vet about an AeroKat as soon as possible, or find another vet if they aren't willing to explore that option.

I wish you all the best! Asthma can be incredibly frustrating.

Dr Lee
June 19th, 2007, 07:38 PM

That is some great advice! :thumbs up I like the AeroKat which can be seen at


Dr. Phil Padrid has done a lot with asthmatic cats and given a number of lectures to veterinarians on feline asthma. This is one of his protocols:

Aerosol inhaler guidelines (These are GENERAL guidelines and are NOT meant to replace the advice of your veterinarian):

For mild signs (cough only): Flovent 110 mcg every 12 hours + Albuterol as needed.

For moderate signs (cough and tires easily with sleep disruption for client): prednisolone 1 mg/kg orally every 12 hours for 5 days AND Flovent 220 mcg every 12 hours + Albuterol as needed on an ongoing basis.

For marked signs (cough and dyspnea at rest with diminished quality of life): prednisolone 1 mg/kg orally every 12 hours for 5 days, every 24 hours for 5 days, every other day for 5 days AND Flovent 220 mcg every 12 hours + Albuterol on an ongoing basis.

So in summary - I agree with sugarcatmom and like the use of both inhaled flovent and albuterol. My patients that are on these inhaled medications respond well and the clients say that they have little problems administering it. Again the doses and medications should be specifically dosed by a veterinarian. I just gave the above only as a general guideline for you to understand how we as veterinarians can sometimes classify when and what to use with a routine asthmatic case.

Good luck.

June 19th, 2007, 08:33 PM
sugarcatmom and dr. lee:

thanks so much for the suggestion about the inhaler. all that info looks great. i will definitely be talking to my vet about it in the morning! i just checked patsy, and the vapourizor seems to at least be allowing her to sleep comfortably.

can't thank you enough for your time, both of you :love: . my patsy's a special girl (as they all are, most certainly), who my vet's technician describes as a "pleasure to work on". she's being given the royal treatment, which will include an inhaler as of tomorrow! i'm so happy that form of medication exists for cats!

with gratitude from me and patsy
(and cline and punkin, who are wondering just what the heck is going on in "their" house!)

June 19th, 2007, 10:03 PM
One of the girls at work has a cat that needs a puffer. She's doing wonderful with it.