What Is Bronchitis in Cats and How To Treat It?

What Is Bronchitis in Cats and How To Treat It?

Chronic bronchitis is an inflammatory reaction that generally affects middle-aged cats. It induces dry cough and can also include gagging, retching, and discharge of foamy saliva. Any cough lasting more than two months is considered chronic bronchitis in cats. Without treatment, it can damage the airways and cause mucus to build up in the bronchi.

Chronic allergic bronchitis is a respiratory condition brought on by physical activity. This cough is usually seasonal, but can occur at any time of year.

Causes of Bronchitis in Cats

Bronchitis can be caused by:

  • Bacterial infections of the airways
  • Viral infections of the airways
  • Allergy
  • Parasites (especially toxoplasmosis and heartworm diseases)
  • Constant exposure to irritants like tobacco smoke or dusty cat litter

Symptoms of Bronchitis in Cats

Cats suffering from bronchitis will not be able to breathe properly and will have various degrees of symptoms based on the severity of the bronchial inflammation. Common symptoms may include the following:

  • Cough spasms or frequent uncontrollable cough
  • Gagging or retching sounds 
  • Panting
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Breathing with mouth open
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Mild fever
  • Wheezing while breathing
  • Labored breathing

Diagnosis Of Bronchitis in Cats

In order to diagnose feline bronchitis, chest radiography (X-ray) is typically the first examination. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) may also be recommended. The treatment requires fluid and cells to be extracted from the lungs of your pet. These samples are sent to the veterinary laboratory to establish which types of cell changes are occurring in the lungs.

If bacterial or parasitic infection is present, the results will help determine which therapy may be most effective. Bronchoalveolar lavage requires anesthesia, so if the condition of the cat is severe, this operation might not be helpful due to an increased risk of death.

How Is Bronchitis in Cats Treated?

The treatment usually focuses on reducing the amount of inflammation in the airways. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids, are also provided after the diagnosis has been confirmed. They can be delivered by pills, injections or through inhalation directly into the airways. Inhalation is the most common form of treatment since it produced few side effects. Airway constriction can be relieved by bronchodilators, either by injection or by inhalation. It is also advisable to minimize the exposure of cats to aerosol sprays, dust and cigarette smoke.

David Lockhart