Guest post by Zoe Camp
Feline asthma is a respiratory condition that involves inflammation and excess mucous build-up in the airways. Muscles spasms cause constriction of the airway, resulting in respiratory distress. Feline asthma shares many characteristics with asthma in humans.
Signs of feline asthma may be as mild as an occasional soft cough and/or a wheeze. An asthma attack can sound very similar to your cat trying to cough up a hairball. In extreme and chronic cases, you may see a persistent cough along with labored, open-mouth, harsh breathing, which can be a life-threatening crisis.
Conventional treatment may include medication (typically, corticosteroids and bronchodilators). Holistic therapies may also be beneficial.
If your cat has a severe case of asthma, your veterinarian may prescribe the use of a nebulizer, a machine that administers medication in the form of an aerosolized mist inhaled into the lungs. These devices can appear a little intimidating, so you may be wondering how you’ll be able to convince your cat to comply with his treatment without starting a scratching, hissing commotion.
Don’t worry – the process is actually quite simple. Here are some step-by-step instructions for making your cat’s nebulizer treatment quick, effective, and fuss-free.
Cats are very perceptive and pick up on their human’s energy. If your cat sees that you’re anxious around the machine, he might suspect that something’s awry and act skittish. He’ll be much more likely to accept the treatment if you remain relaxed and calm.
Examine your options
Does your cat go bolting whenever you power up the vacuum cleaner? If so, a noisy tabletop nebulizer might not be the best option. Ultrasonic nebulizers, on the other hand, are practically silent, and may work better with even skittish cats.
The most effective way to deliver nebulized medication to cats is to use a soft, pediatric nebulizer mask; this ensures that you don’t waste medication, which in turn saves more money. But unless you’ve been blessed with a laid-back cat, this might be a recipe for disaster. An easier option is to put your tabby inside a crate or carrier, situate the mouthpiece so that it is pointing into the enclosure, and place a sheet or towel over it. This way your cat inhale the medication in a less stressful manner.
After the treatment, give your cat some space
Resists the temptation to give your cat an apologetic hug after she has received her medication. Let her scamper off and de-stress, and reward her with petting and treats after she’s had a chance to calm down.
Stay in touch with your vet
Always check with your vet if you’re unsure how much medication to use in each treatment, or which method of administration is right for your kitty.
Treating your cat with a nebulizer does not have to be an ordeal for cat and human. Following these steps will hopefully not evoke yowls and hisses – just healthy, happy purrs.
Zoe Camp is an avid blogger for Just Nebulizers and a student at Columbia University who spends her time researching and writing about pulmonary health. When she’s not writing, she spends time with her beloved cat Ella, a 9-year-old domestic shorthair (and a master huntress!)
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons