Coughing in cats is a rare phenomenon, so when faced with it, frightened owners rush to seek help from a veterinary clinic. This is absolutely the right action, since timely diagnosis and treatment will avoid serious problems associated with pathologies of the respiratory system of animals.
Causes of the disease
Cough is not an independent disease, but only a symptom of any pathology occurring in the body. Using this physiological reflex, the body tries to rid the respiratory system of irritating substances, microorganisms, or foreign objects.
Cough can be dry, wet, deaf with a wheeze, ringing, combined, chronic, acute, seasonal, etc. It is its type and frequency that will help the veterinarian to make a more informative picture of the disease.
Causes of coughing include:
- dirofilariasis (heart helminth);
- pathologies of the cardiovascular system, accompanied by a heart cough;
- cat flu and other infectious diseases of the upper respiratory tract;
- bronchial asthma;
- fluid accumulation in the pleural area;
- pulmonary edema;
- polyps in the nasopharynx;
- inhalation of irritants and allergens;
- injuries to the lungs, trachea, and throat;
- accumulation of hair in the stomach (trichobezoars);
- benign and malignant formations in the respiratory system;
- fungal diseases (blastomycosis, mycosis, etc.).
And this is not a complete list of factors that provoke coughing. Sometimes even a seemingly harmless perfume, which is used by the hostess, can cause a pet attack of severe coughing.
The main symptoms
It is very easy to determine a cough in a pet. The cat unnaturally stretches its neck forward, tilts its head, opens its mouth. He coughs with his mouth open, making characteristic sounds. From the outside, it may seem that the four-legged pet is sick. Most often, along with a cough, vomiting is also released.
If the cough is isolated, it should not cause concern. With the help of a reflex, the animal simply tries to remove the irritation on its own. Another thing is if the cough is prolonged, accompanied by other signs, such as snoring and wheezing.
It should be noted that the cat may periodically snore, for example, when there is a lack of water. She can sometimes be observed, and the sounds when an animal swallows too large a portion of food.
However, if the above symptoms are presented together and are accompanied by changes in behavior (refusal to eat, anxiety, decreased activity, weight loss, exhaustion, etc.), this is already a reason to visit a veterinary clinic.
Diagnostics in the veterinary clinic
Diagnosis is based on finding out the cause of the cough. The veterinarian examines the animal, collects anamnesis. The owner must clearly describe the signs, frequency and nature of the cough, highlight some characteristic features, such as blood admixture, sputum discharge.
Coughing and sneezing may indicate cat flu. If it is accompanied by wheezing, then most likely the pet has asthma. Sputum production in conjunction with weight loss, diarrhea indicates the possible presence of parasites.
The necessary diagnostic methods include:
- General and clinical blood tests;
- serological analysis of blood;
- chest x-ray;
- tracheal endoscopy;
- organ biopsy;
- seeding on the microflora of secretions from the bronchi.
Until a particular diagnosis is confirmed, the veterinarian prescribes maintenance therapy to relieve coughing attacks.
Treatment method and prognosis
There is no single treatment regimen for cough. Developing a scheme in each specific case, the specialist, of course, will start from the cause that caused the pathology, age and individual characteristics of the animal’s body.
- So, with cardiac helminth, which, by the way, is quite rare in our latitudes, a pet is prescribed bronchodilators. However, if there are too many worms, they can be removed surgically.
- For cat flu, symptomatic therapy is prescribed: a liquid that prevents dehydration, intravenous administration of buffer compounds. Antibiotics are indicated for the treatment of secondary bacterial infections.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid hormones, and vitamin therapy are used to treat asthma. Bronchodilators are designed to open the Airways and facilitate the breathing process.
- It is advisable to use medications in the form of inhalations, since tablets are poorly absorbed by the body, and their active components do not get into the bronchi. It is advisable to use nebulizers, which are currently widely used in veterinary practice.
- If the cough has an allergic origin, it is necessary to protect the animal from contact with the provoking factor (plants, dust, tobacco smoke, etc.). Cortisone, steroids, and antihistamines are prescribed from medications.
- With pulmonary edema, the use of cardiac and expectorant drugs, intravenous administration of glucose, sodium chloride is indicated. Hypostatic pneumonia is treated with antibiotics.
- For heart diseases, the veterinarian selects beta-blockers (Atenolol, Propranolol), inhibitors (Benazepril, enalapril), diuretics (Furosemide).
- If air, lymph, or blood has accumulated in the pleural area, a drainage procedure is performed to pump them out. Then the cavity is treated with an antiseptic solution, antibiotic therapy is performed, analgesics, antipyretics, diuretics are prescribed.
- For fungal diseases, it is necessary to use antifungal drugs. The most effective are Itraconazole, Amphotericin, and fluconazole.
Nasopharyngeal polyps, benign and malignant tumors are removed surgically. If the tumor is inoperable, use radiation and chemical therapy.
Lumps of hair stuck in the stomach are removed from the cat on their own. You can speed up this process with special food and malt paste.
What to do at home
The owner of the animal is required to follow the instructions of the veterinarian. Self-medication can be dangerous and cause irreparable harm to your pet’s health. Decoctions of medicinal herbs (sage, chamomile, Linden flowers, etc.), warming compresses will help to ease the pet’s condition, but they should not replace conservative treatment methods.
Preventive measures are based on the prevention of factors that provoke coughing. Regular vaccination, deworming will help prevent many diseases, and routine examinations at the veterinarian-to identify pathologies at the initial stage.
It is necessary to protect the pet from contact with stray animals, provide it with high-quality care and balanced feeding. It is not superfluous to periodically give the cat food or paste for the removal of wool from the stomach.
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.