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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 26157
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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My cat just turned 10 years old. She has started to

Customer Question

My cat just turned 10 years old. She has started to cough/choke for no apparent reason. Also, she has been losing clumps of hair. I did switch cat food a few months back due to a digestive problems with my other cat (vet recommended). Could she be allergic to the new food? Any help would be appreciated! Thx, Merrilee
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
Coughing/choking as you've described may arise from both the feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) and the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica infection. These are expected to go into remission within 3 weeks, however. If you don't see this happening, feline asthma becomes the more important differential diagnosis and we need to consider even more serious cardiovascular and lower respiratory disorders at Bella's age as well. Her losing clumps of hair might well be related to asthma as both disorders can be allergically mediated. To answer you directly, yes, a food intolerance can cause an allergic dermatitis; asthma, however, would be an unusual sequela to a food intolerance.
It's difficult for me to tell you how dangerous her symptoms are at this time. Asthma would be most threatening because it can result in serious bronchospasm, hypoxia (lack of oxygen to Bella's tissues), and even death. I understand your financial constraints. Bella's vet would need to perform a complete blood count looking for an elevation in eosinophils (the white blood cell that often elevated in asthmatic cats) and X-rays of Bella's heart and lungs looking for the tell-tale signs of asthma - over-inflated lungfields, increased bronchovascular markings within the lungs, and/or patchy densities (alveolar pattern) in the lungs. If asthma were identified, corticosteroid steroid (prednisolone) is usually prescribed.
Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.