Pulmonary edema in cats is a dangerous condition that develops rapidly or slowly, which in most cases ends in the death of the animal. With edema, fluid accumulates in the cells (alveoli) of the lungs, which complicates the process of gas exchange in the body and causes oxygen starvation.
As a result of lack of oxygen, most of the brain cells die, and hypoxia occurs.
Causes of the disease
Pulmonary edema is not an independent disease, but a process that develops against the background of infectious or non-infectious diseases. All causes that cause fluid accumulation in the alveoli of the lungs, veterinarians divide into two large groups-cardiogenic and non-cardiogenic.
Cardiogenic causes are understood as heart diseases that can be congenital or acquired. Some destructive processes in the heart and blood vessels impair the flow of blood and lymph, which leads to stagnation of fluid and filling the lungs with it. Hypertension, pulmonary embolism, cardiosclerosis, aortic heart disease, and other pathologies can lead to pulmonary edema.
Non-cardiogenic causes of pulmonary edema include various disorders in the body, inflammation, infectious and non-infectious diseases, injuries, allergies, tumors, toxic fumes, burns of the respiratory tract, and even electric shock.
By the way, many cat owners even suggest that a banal obesity can lead to edema.
Which breeds are more susceptible
Pulmonary edema can be diagnosed in every cat, but representatives of artificially bred breeds are most susceptible to this pathology. These include Maine coons, Scots, British, Abyssinians, Persians, sphinxes, etc.
The main symptoms
At the initial stage, pulmonary edema may not manifest itself in any way. Cats do not know how to talk, so even if they are worried about something, they can not tell the owner about it. An attentive owner may suspect a pathology by changing the behavior of a pet.
The animal becomes sluggish, restless and prefers to lie in one position — on its side. Typical symptoms of pulmonary edema include:
- hoarse breathing with a gurgling sound;
- shortness of breath;
- lack of appetite;
- open mouth with tongue hanging out;
- the mucous membranes turn bluish or pale;
- mucus from the nose;
- cough with expectoration of mucus (sometimes with blood).
If you find these dangerous symptoms in your pet, immediately take it to a veterinary clinic!
Remember that pulmonary edema can progress rapidly, and the score is not even for days, but for hours!
Diagnostics in the veterinary clinic
If the veterinarian suspects that the cat has pulmonary edema, in addition to anamnesis and visual examination, he conducts the necessary diagnostic tests, including General and clinical blood tests. The most informative diagnostic method in this case is considered to be x-ray of the lungs.
Having determined the diagnosis, the specialist prescribes appropriate treatment at home or in a hospital.
Treatment method and prognosis
There is no single treatment regimen for pulmonary edema, it will depend on the cause that caused the pathological process, and, accordingly, it is aimed at eliminating it.
If the condition is critical, the animal needs first aid. To do this, the cat is given an intramuscular injection with a drug that relieves edema and eliminates hypoxia-Prednisone, Dexamethasone, Diprospan, Hydrocortisone.
Oxygen is replenished by placing a pet in a pressure chamber, using an oxygen mask, and performing a lung ventilation procedure.
Diuretics (injectable or oral) are used to remove excess fluid from the body.
To eliminate infectious diseases that caused edema, a course of antibiotic therapy is prescribed. Antiviral agents are indicated for the viral etiology of edema.
During the period of illness, cats usually experience severe stress, so they are prescribed sedatives.
If after carrying out the necessary medical procedures, the cat’s condition has stabilized and his health is no longer in danger, fluffy is sent home for recovery.
If all first aid measures and further treatment were carried out correctly, the prognosis is positive. However, if a sick pet was delivered to the clinic too late, the risk of death is very high.
What to do at home
The owner is required to follow the instructions of the veterinarian and provide the four-legged pet with good care, rest and a balanced diet for a speedy recovery. In no case should you self-medicate!
Measures to prevent pulmonary edema in cats include, first of all, strict control over the pet. According to veterinarians, the most susceptible to the pathological process are animals that lead a sedentary lifestyle, as well as those who are obese.
This is why over-feeding should be avoided. The pet’s diet is balanced with premium and super premium food classes, get the necessary vitamins.
Do not neglect routine examinations, which allow you to identify the pathology developing in the cat’s body at the initial stage. This is especially true for artificially bred breeds that are prone to heart disease.
In addition, it is necessary to restrict the access of animals to electrical appliances and avoid hypothermia.