Your Pets Can Have Asthma as Well
Did you know that some animals suffer from asthma as well? This comes as a surprise to many of our clients who, on the occasion of the pet's first attack, rush their pets to our Medford, NY practice, Veterinary Outpatient Treatment Center, thinking their animals are dying. Luckily, our veterinarian can treat asthma in pets.
What Is Asthma?
Feline asthma, like the human variety, is an incurable chronic condition characterized by difficulty breathing due to inflammation and swelling of the tissue lining the bronchial tubes. This narrowing of the airways happens when the immune system over-reacts to the presence of an allergen such as tobacco smoke, dusty cat litter, vapor from household cleaners, pollen, weeds, and even heat and humidity.
How a Vet Diagnoses Asthma
Pinpointing asthma is a challenging task since the common symptoms, coughing, wheezing, and dyspnea (difficulty in breathing), are exhibited by several respiratory conditions. Because of this, our vet takes what is called an exclusionary approach to diagnosing asthma. This is done by:
- Using a stethoscope to pinpoint the locus of the wheezing, thus ruling or lung heart problems.
- Conducting blood tests to look for a disproportionately large concentration of white blood cells called eosinophils which are involved in allergic responses.
- Taking x-rays to see if the lungs are overinflated due to the pet's inability to exhale fully.
- Ordering fecal exams to look for lungworms, which initially can be found in the feces before taking up residence in the lungs, causing symptoms similar to asthma.
Unfortunately, asthma must be endured since it cannot be cured. Rather, it usually follows a hide-and-seek progressive course, occurring as flareups that can vary from mild to life-threatening before lying low for periods of time. Meanwhile, the vet can help the animal breathe better by prescribing corticosteroid medications to reduce lung inflammation and bronchodilators to open the airways.
If you live in the Medford, NY area and your cat or dog has started exhibiting any of the symptoms outlined above, please don't wait to seek veterinary treatment. Schedule an appointment with our vet at Veterinary Outpatient Treatment Center. The sooner we can make a diagnosis, the sooner we can ease your pet's breathing and wheezing.