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My male tabbie 4 year old cat developed a cough after the…

My male tabbie 4 year...
My male tabbie 4 year old cat developed a cough after the fires in Ventura California. The vet said his lungs sound clear and to come back for a chest x ray if it gets worse. He has a coughing fit once or twice a day but otherwise he is fine.
Does the following sound like bronchitis or asthma:
When he has a coughing fit, he coughs violently. He hovers close to the ground and wheezes until he spits up phlegm which he usually just swallows. Then he’s fine! No open mouth breathing nor fever. He eats and behaves normally. I ask which one it is since I was told asthma could be more serious than bronchitis.
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Answered in 1 hour by:
3/11/2018
CalCatDoc
CalCatDoc, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 615
Experience: I have 31 years of clinical experience, with the past 22 years being in a feline-exclusive practice.
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Hi! I'm CalCatDoc and I can help with your question.

Asthma, with its genuine difficulty breathing (as evidenced by open mouth breathing and/or labored breathing at rest) is much more potentially serious than allergic bronchitis(which presents primarily with the productive cough like you describe) . Fortunately at my practice in SoCal we see mostly allergic bronchitis and only very rarely true asthma.

I've personally had two cats over the years with allergic bronchitis. Both were well controlled with prednisolone.

Only your own vet can diagnose your cat, however. And this is an important call to make because the medications used in them can be very different.

Please let me know if you have additional questions or need further clarification.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Do cats diagnosed with allergic bronchitis need to take steroids continually and what are the side effects? Also, if he only has a fit once or twice a day, can he just live with it if of course it doesn’t get worse?

Well every case is different, and I always treat based on the individual cat's response. I like to start with a higher dose, twice a day, and once the cat has improved I start working my way down to every other day treatment long term, or even every third day.

Side effects at the anti-inflammatory dose we use are minimal and often not even noticed by owners. Increased water consumption, increased urination, and increased appetite can be seen. None of which justify rejecting steroids in the treatment plan.

Some patients will also need antibiotics for a time; some will need a bronchodilator.

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I would not ever recommend ignoring daily coughing in these cats. It WILL get worse, and be much harder to manage long-term if you let it get bad in the first place.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We are preventing worse disease by treating aggressively before the problem gets severe.

CalCatDoc
CalCatDoc, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 615
Experience: I have 31 years of clinical experience, with the past 22 years being in a feline-exclusive practice.
Verified
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Ok, thank you
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