Chronic bronchitis is a well-known disease in human beings. But it can also be found in animals as well. Cats are one of the animals affected, although it affects them more rarely than dogs, for example. Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi that can cause a variety of symptoms in cats, such as breathing problems. Treatment for the condition could involve medication but could also focus on providing an appropriate environment with clean air and an absence of tobacco smoke, for example.
In a healthy cat's respiratory system tubes known as bronchi take air from the trachea, also known as the windpipe, and into the lungs. If these bronchi become inflamed this condition is known as bronchitis. The underlying cause of this inflammation is often unknown. Persistence of this inflammation over some time is a condition is called chronic bronchitis. The condition is typically found in younger cats, under one year of age.
There are a number of symptoms to look out for to diagnose chronic bronchitis in cats. Some of these symptoms may be related to breathing and could include wheezing, gagging, fast breathing, and shortness of breath, for example. Coughing is not so common in cases of cat bronchitis, but when it does appear it can be brought on by exercise and may result in fainting. Other potential symptoms may not be breathing related. These could include fever, anorexia, and depression, for example.
There are several aspects to diagnosis of chronic bronchitis in cats. The medical history of the cat will be of use, with factors like obesity and previous illnesses being helpful in the process. A full examination by the vet, especially of the airways will be needed. Another possibility is the use of a chest x-ray. But blood tests looking at red blood cell count, for example, and heart tests using an electrocardiogram could also be needed. It is also be important to consider the environment of the cat, as well, for the presence of potential irritants to the airways.
There are a number of different treatments that can help with chronic bronchitis in cats. Several types of medication are thought to be useful. One of these is antibiotics. Another possible medication is corticosteroids. Other possibilities include bronchiodilators and cough medicine. But providing the cat with appropriate care at home is useful as well. The cat should get enough exercise as it can do without worsening the breathing problems. Setting up an environment that has potential irritants removed from it such as tobacco, dust, and chemicals, for example, would also help.