Coughing In Cats

When we think about coughing, we often think about an irritation in the back of our throats, or trying to relieve ourselves from a mucous discharge from accumulating. Coughing is a protective mechanism to stop the accumulation of secretions and possible foreign materials inside the respiratory tract. For those of us who have witnessed our own cats cough, it is a slightly disturbing experience, mostly due to the retching and agitation they display during this reflex. But, have you ever noticed your cat coughing relentlessly? If you are a cat owner and have observed your cat coughing incessantly this could be a possible symptom of a respiratory or cardiovascular disease.

Coughing is both an involuntary and voluntary response—we don’t have to think about activating it. Its purpose as an automatic reaction is to help keep the pharynx and airways free of foreign bodies and secretions. Coughing is not a disease itself, but can be associated with an underlying medical problem. When a cat coughs it usually is triggered by an irritation or inflammation in the bronchi or trachea. There are many reasons for why a cat may cough, some more concerning than others:

• Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
• Feline Bronchitis (Asthma)
• Pneumonia
• Parasitic lung diseases
Hairballs
• Foreign bodies in the respiratory tract
• Allergies
Cancer
• Heart Disease

Diagnosis

When you bring your cat to the veterinarian for evaluation visitation, your veterinarian or technician will ask for a brief medical history and when you initially started noticing your cat’s coughing. There may be some clues that can help indicate why your cat is coughing:
• Coughing with sneezing may be caused by a viral, respiratory infection.
• A cough accompanied by wheezing could be associated with bronchial and asthma condition.
• A cough associated with weight loss could be an indication of a parasitic disease or cancer.
• Coughing and increased respiratory rate and effort may indicate a heart disease

Diagnostics

After a complete physical examination and carefully sculpting your cat’s heart and lungs, your veterinarian may suggest radiographs (X-rays) so we can visualize what is happening inside your cat’s chest. Radiographs can help identify fluid in your cat’s lungs, evidence of asthma, heart disease, and more.

Treatment

Depending on the specific cause of your cat’s cough, there are medications and environmental changes which may help relieve your cat’s cough and the stress associated with it. When a serious underlying medical condition is present, in-hospital treatments may be required to stabilize your pet before he can come back home. If feline bronchitis is diagnosed, inhalers can be used to help alleviate your pet’s symptoms. For more serious conditions like heart disease, oral medications may be necessary to improve cardiac function and help the body remove excess fluids. Whatever the cause of your cat’s cough, scheduling an appointment with a World of Animals Veterinarian is the first step towards getting them on the road to recovery.