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Tammy F.
Tammy F., Not an active Expert
Category: Cat
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Experience:  Not an active Expert
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Himalayan Cats with Asthma.....

Customer Question

We have two Himalayan cats. Gizzmo, 10 years old, has had periodic wheezing episodes (every few months) for most of his life. Our other cat, Ivy, is just three years old and has recently come down with this same coughing, weezing. I have read some things online about this and it seems they most definitely have asthma and their breed seems to be at a much higher risk of this. Gizzmo episodes, as I said, are every few months and he has had these for years and years...should we be treating him. The younger cat seems to be having these much more frequently - every few days. I found a kitty inhaler online. Random indeed. Any advice???
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Tammy F. replied 11 years ago.

Asthma is pretty rare in 4 legged animals and it has to be diagnosed by the vet using x-ray. If you have not done so, there's a good chance that it's not asthma at all.

I would not use any inhalers without the advice of my vet.

If you suspect that there is a respiratory problem that they both might be suffering from, I suggest that you see the vet to get them started on antibiotics. Sometimes one good round can clear it up.

This breed is prone to allergies, so you might be seeing the effects of THAT. If so, your vet can prescribe an anithistamine that will give them some relief.

I hope this helps!

Let me know if you still have questions.

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Tammy Falkner's Post: Everything I have read online about Himalayans and asthma describes both cats to a tee. We thought it was just a weird habit with the older cat b/c it happens so infrequently (every few months), but when the younger (unrelated) cat started the same wheezing (more frequently), I thought it was time to look into it. We have been in the same house for 3 years now - and they are indoor kitties. The oldest cat has lived with me in 5 different places and has always had this infrequent coughing/wheezing. In both cats, it seems like excercise induced asthma. The oldest, who doesn't sprint often, unless being chased by our dog, only gets these attacks when he is winded. The youngest seems to only get them when again, she is out of breath (her face is pretty concave, so she is already battling difficult breating) or when I hold her for a long time squished into a ball (which is likely not helping her lungs any).

If it is asthma, the oldest cat, who would definitely have a "mild" case - is it dangerous to leave things like this untreated? He has been doing this for most of his life and seems healthy and happy in between episodes.

The younger, who has just developed this, seems to be having them more frequently. This seems like it would be a much more dangerous situation.

Please advise.

Expert:  Tammy F. replied 11 years ago.
Does it sound like a honking sort of sound? Like clearing the nose?
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Tammy Falkner's Post: Nope, it sounds like coughing/wheezing...each episode lasts about a minute or so. Both cats sound identical when they are having these episodes. They sound a lot like a human that has exercise asthma attacks.
Expert:  Tammy F. replied 11 years ago.

Because it comes and goes, I really think that you are dealing with an allergy problem rather than asthma but, by all means, you should explore this further with your vet.

Keep in mind that heart problems can also cause coughing and breathing difficulties. I would be more worried about this if the cats are not on heartworm prevention.

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