Asthmatic Cat

Eca

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Hi, everyone. Recently, one of my cats was diagnosed with asthma. I have absolutely no experience with feline asthma, so I'm honestly quite terrified. I'd be really grateful if any of you can give me some advice about what I should and shouldn't do. First, I'm gonna tell you about my cat.

About two years ago, I adopted a stray cat. He's neutered, so he's either someone's cat who ran away, abandoned, or a part of TNR. He's a male orange tabby, very chubby, and he loves to eat. I named him Miku. After a while, I noticed that every once in a while he'll have a coughing fit. His body hunched and he'll cough with his tongue out. After that, he acted like nothing happened. I took him many different vets and all of them said that he's just having a persistent URI. He took tons of antibiotics but the coughing fit never went away. So I stopped taking him to the vet. It's scary how much drugs he's taken with no improvement at all. I decided to observe him instead, just in case his cough worsened or another symptoms arise. One of the vet told me that he's a senior cat, about 7-10 years old.

Three weeks ago, he had the worst coughing fit. Just like usual, his body hunched, he's coughing with his tongue out, but the cough lasted way longer than usual and he retched and vomited in the end. It's clear that he's having difficulty breathing afterwards so I immediately took him to emergency vet clinic. The vet took an xray and told me he's having an asthma attack. She put an IV line on Miku and he stayed for 4 days in the clinic. During the stay, she gave him intravenous aminophylline and nebulize him with a mixture of albuterol, fluticasone, and normal saline. Thankfully, his breathing difficulty was gone by the second day of his stay. I took him home after 4 days. The vet prescribed oral terbutaline and mucopect (mucus thinner) and nebules of albuterol and fluticasone so I can nebulize him at home.

The second day home, I noticed that he's still coughing but not severe. A couple of coughs and he's back to doing whatever he's currently doing. His appetite hasn't returned to normal yet, but he eats and drinks enough. I contacted the vet and she said it's normal as long as there's no breathing difficulty. I took him for checkup a week later and the vet said he's doing good. His oral meds were discontinued, but I still have to nebulize him twice a day with fluticasone and normal saline, plus albuterol as needed for the next three weeks. I haven't been able to identify what his asthma trigger is. Since I'm allergic to many things, I've been keeping my house very clean. Since he returned from the clinic, I changed his litter from bentonite clumping litter to soy pellet. I tried changing his food to hypoallergenic but he's not having it. He only wants to eat his regular food or nothing at all.

Now, he's still doing the hunched coughing every other day or so. No breathing difficulty, still eating and drinking just fine. I wonder if this is really normal like the vet said? Shouldn't he be free of any symptoms if his asthma is under control? I just can't bear seeing him coughing like that 😭.
 

tiggerwillow

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My Ebony was severely asthmatic, what helped her was the inhaler the vet put her on (she was on tablets, which she willingly would request and take), the vet moved her onto the inhaler though cause the tablets would not kick in quickly enough (she hated the inhaler)

It's unlikely to be the food thats causing the asthma, it might be a reaction to chemicals (when you clean the house), or pollen, or dust in the carpet that you don't know is there?

My Ebony, her asthma went from being severe to being between severe and mild, when I moved into a house with wood flooring, no carpets, so I suspect the dust in the carpets was what was making it really bad

She was on two brands of food, switched between them so she wasn't getting bored, due to stomach problems she had as well
 

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Hello,
My Cheddar is asthmatic. He had random coughing fits for several years that were pretty mild so I didn't think anything of it. One day I had used some sort of cleaner and came home at lunch and he was in a full attack. I rushed him to the vet. He had a steroid shot and then when that wore off we went to oral steroids. He does a small dose every other day and he hasn't coughed at all for several years. It has been about 5 years since the initial attack. I switched to Dr. Elsey's Respiratory Relief, eliminated scented stuff like candles and went scent free on my laundry soap and cleaners. I switched him to a grain free diet (more or less). I discovered it is hard to find a good natural cleaner for bathroom mildew but it is a small price to pay for a symptom free cat.:)
I know steroids aren't great but Cheddar seems to be doing fine so maybe that is what your cat needs. It doesn't seem like he should still be coughing.
 

Caspers Human

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We were concerned that our cat, Casper, would be asthmatic.
Luckily, it turned out that it was more to do with dust and seasonal allergies than asthma. He's doing okay without any meds or treatment.

Yeah, it's scary to see your cat having breathing trouble like that!

Anyhow, we did some homework on the subject of feline asthma. As it turns out, asthma in cats is pretty similar to asthma in humans. You have to boil some information down, so to speak, in order to reconcile differences between cats and humans, in terms of physiology and things but, when you get right down to it, asthma works in cats very similar to humans, right down to the medications and treatments.

Like we do for humans, try to keep your house as clean, dust free and free of allergy causing fragrances and things. Avoid abrupt changes in air quality: temperature, humidity, dust and pollen. All the things we do for humans to keep their asthma at bay, do for your cat, too.

Even the medications are similar. The very same medicated inhaler (Albuterol) that humans use can be used for cats.
(No! Don't give your asthma inhaler to your cat! The medication might not be the same! Even if it is the same medicine, the dosage will be different! If you think your cat needs an asthma inhaler, CALL YOUR VET! This is what we pay them for!)

Just for information, there is an asthma inhaler device that's made just for cats. It's called AeroKat. If you think your cat needs one, ask your vet. If your vet thinks your cat needs one, they can hook you up.

If your vet thinks that your cat needs other medications like steroids, they can help you get a treatment program going on that front. Even if not the same as humans, the rationale for giving other kinds of asthma meds is the same for cats as it is for humans.
Again, this is the kind of thing we hire vets for. If you think your cat has asthma or if the treatment program you are currently using (inhalers) isn't working as well as you think it should, your vet is your best resource.

The point I'm getting at is not to tell you to treat your own cat without a vet's advice. I'm trying to take away some of the mystery about feline asthma so that people will have less anxiety about it.

The first couple of times when Casper had breathing trouble, we were worried. The thought that he had asthma was scary. However, once we did some homework and found out about a few things, we realized that things weren't so scary, after all.

We resolved to keep the house dust free and minimize the use of fragrances. We talked to our vet about Casper's problems and got some advice. We stood ready to call the vet if his breathing got worse. In the end, Casper turned out okay. He only has breathing problems if he gets a snoot full of dust up his nose or something. (Which is mostly normal.)

Knowledge is power! Right? :D
 

Robyn5678

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My cat is asthmatic. She gets prednisolone injections when it acts up. I tried oral and inhaled meds and they didn’t work
 
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Eca

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My Ebony was severely asthmatic, what helped her was the inhaler the vet put her on (she was on tablets, which she willingly would request and take), the vet moved her onto the inhaler though cause the tablets would not kick in quickly enough (she hated the inhaler)

It's unlikely to be the food thats causing the asthma, it might be a reaction to chemicals (when you clean the house), or pollen, or dust in the carpet that you don't know is there?

My Ebony, her asthma went from being severe to being between severe and mild, when I moved into a house with wood flooring, no carpets, so I suspect the dust in the carpets was what was making it really bad

She was on two brands of food, switched between them so she wasn't getting bored, due to stomach problems she had as well
Since I'm also allergic to dust, there's no carpet in my house. Oh, maybe I'll stop using cleaning products that comes in a spray can to see if that's one of the cause. Thanks!
 
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Eca

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Hello,
My Cheddar is asthmatic. He had random coughing fits for several years that were pretty mild so I didn't think anything of it. One day I had used some sort of cleaner and came home at lunch and he was in a full attack. I rushed him to the vet. He had a steroid shot and then when that wore off we went to oral steroids. He does a small dose every other day and he hasn't coughed at all for several years. It has been about 5 years since the initial attack. I switched to Dr. Elsey's Respiratory Relief, eliminated scented stuff like candles and went scent free on my laundry soap and cleaners. I switched him to a grain free diet (more or less). I discovered it is hard to find a good natural cleaner for bathroom mildew but it is a small price to pay for a symptom free cat.:)
I know steroids aren't great but Cheddar seems to be doing fine so maybe that is what your cat needs. It doesn't seem like he should still be coughing.
I read about oral/injected steroids too and asked my vet about it but she's very hesitant to give it to Miku. She said because of his age, the steroid will impact his immune system way more than younger cats. So I have to stick with the inhaled steroid that she prescribed. Do you think I should see another vet?
 
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Eca

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We were concerned that our cat, Casper, would be asthmatic.
Luckily, it turned out that it was more to do with dust and seasonal allergies than asthma. He's doing okay without any meds or treatment.

Yeah, it's scary to see your cat having breathing trouble like that!

Anyhow, we did some homework on the subject of feline asthma. As it turns out, asthma in cats is pretty similar to asthma in humans. You have to boil some information down, so to speak, in order to reconcile differences between cats and humans, in terms of physiology and things but, when you get right down to it, asthma works in cats very similar to humans, right down to the medications and treatments.

Like we do for humans, try to keep your house as clean, dust free and free of allergy causing fragrances and things. Avoid abrupt changes in air quality: temperature, humidity, dust and pollen. All the things we do for humans to keep their asthma at bay, do for your cat, too.

Even the medications are similar. The very same medicated inhaler (Albuterol) that humans use can be used for cats.
(No! Don't give your asthma inhaler to your cat! The medication might not be the same! Even if it is the same medicine, the dosage will be different! If you think your cat needs an asthma inhaler, CALL YOUR VET! This is what we pay them for!)

Just for information, there is an asthma inhaler device that's made just for cats. It's called AeroKat. If you think your cat needs one, ask your vet. If your vet thinks your cat needs one, they can hook you up.
[/URL]

If your vet thinks that your cat needs other medications like steroids, they can help you get a treatment program going on that front. Even if not the same as humans, the rationale for giving other kinds of asthma meds is the same for cats as it is for humans.
Again, this is the kind of thing we hire vets for. If you think your cat has asthma or if the treatment program you are currently using (inhalers) isn't working as well as you think it should, your vet is your best resource.

The point I'm getting at is not to tell you to treat your own cat without a vet's advice. I'm trying to take away some of the mystery about feline asthma so that people will have less anxiety about it.

The first couple of times when Casper had breathing trouble, we were worried. The thought that he had asthma was scary. However, once we did some homework and found out about a few things, we realized that things weren't so scary, after all.

We resolved to keep the house dust free and minimize the use of fragrances. We talked to our vet about Casper's problems and got some advice. We stood ready to call the vet if his breathing got worse. In the end, Casper turned out okay. He only has breathing problems if he gets a snoot full of dust up his nose or something. (Which is mostly normal.)

Knowledge is power! Right? :D
I've seen so many people treated their asthmatic cats with aerokat and would very much like to try one but unfortunately it's unavailable in Indonesia. When I look up the price plus shipping fee from US, it costs like half of my monthly salary 🙀. I'm gonna try harder to look what is the trigger to his asthma. Thanks!
 
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Eca

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My cat is asthmatic. She gets prednisolone injections when it acts up. I tried oral and inhaled meds and they didn’t work
My vet just won't give the steroid to my cat. She said the side effects to his immune system will be bad, so I have to work my way up with inhaled steroid instead. I've been wondering if I should see another vet.
 

PushPurrCatPaws

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Sorry to hear about Miku, but the good news is that the asthma is now diagnosed and he has has moved forward with medical care -
:)

Try not to dwell on the fact that the AeroKat "system" is not available for you where you live. I should think that the fluticasone / saline with the albuterol (when the coughing is worse) should treat him well.

Asthma is a progressive disease, and remember - that you think he may have had these issues for at least two years now. So, it could take some weeks, perhaps a few months even, for the meds to help to control the coughing fits a bit better.

He may have episodes of coughing still - I doubt they will entirely disappear. Your goal should be to try to decrease these attacks just as best as you are able -- sounds like you are doing all you can at this point. Keep it up, and try to stay calm... it is great he is eating and drinking normally.

I have a cat who was diagnosed with asthma (allergic bronchitis) when she was young. She is 7- 1/2 yrs old now. She is on long-term doses of oral Pred, as that is what works well for her. We tried the AeroKat with inhaled steroid, but it wasn't strong enough for her system/issues. She continued to cough too often, even with all the other "household" cleaning and etc. that we were doing.

Anyway, one thing that might help Miku out, is if he could lose some weight, and do so under a vet's care & guidance. Did your vet discuss this with you? Another thing that might be discussed with the vet is if the actual dose of the fluticasone used is strong enough... if, after a few months, he is still coughing every other day, I would encourage you to have a recheck with the vet and get their advice on this.
:hugs:
 

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I have a family member who is asthmatic, and anything aerosol (hairspray, diffusers, air fresheners, even "Green" cleaners in a spray bottle) will set her off. If you're using any of these things, try eliminating and see if things improve.
 

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If you can’t get the Aerokat they sell similar spacers for babies/toddlers that might work And be available where you are. It does take a training period for the cat tomget comfortable with it.

For long term use the nebulizer/inhaler is much better for the cat overall as the prednisolone can have negative effects, including diabetes, which could be a concern if your cat is overweight. However, a shorter course of the oral steroid could be helpful in getting the symptoms under control and be used in conjunction with the inhaled meds for the short term.

What type of cat litter do you use? If it is dusty (like most scoopable clay litters) that might be a contributing factor, however in many cases it is hard to know what the triggers are.
 

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Now, he's still doing the hunched coughing every other day or so. No breathing difficulty, still eating and drinking just fine. I wonder if this is really normal like the vet said? Shouldn't he be free of any symptoms if his asthma is under control? I just can't bear seeing him coughing like that 😭.
As a human with asthma, being around your asthma triggers can still suck and make for some coughing. Not having an asthma attack over it is definitely an improvement.

A trigger can be anything you can breathe in, and even other things, too. Cold and dry winter air is one of mine, for example. Googling "asthma triggers" might give you some ideas.

Like this: Learn what could be triggering your asthma attacks.

Heck, there is a certain exercise/stretching move where you crouch down and reach your arms out that makes my lungs freak out and breathing is suddenly harder. It feels like the reaching pulls at the neck muscles a certain way, like puts pressure on the throat, and my lungs are like, "Oh, are you trying to restrict your airways? Let me help you!" Nooooo!

So beyond examining the environment and products you use, you might want to see if there are any common behaviors and other factors with the coughing fits. Like if they happen in the same locations or after certain situations.
 

tiggerwillow

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Since I'm also allergic to dust, there's no carpet in my house. Oh, maybe I'll stop using cleaning products that comes in a spray can to see if that's one of the cause. Thanks!
Sprays were one of the big culprits for setting Ebony's asthma off as well

Dusty cat litter (for some cats) can be a trigger as well)

Do you have a closed litter tray? One that's covered over? That is really bad for asthmatic cats..
 

Caspers Human

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When I look up the price plus shipping fee from US, it costs like half of my monthly salary
I need to start by saying that we talked to our vet about Casper's asthma and that everything I talk about comes out of that conversation with our vet:

Casper's Girl-Human has mild to moderate asthma and she uses an inhaler when she needs it. (Thankfully, it's not very often.)
We showed our vet which inhaler she uses and the vet said that it is the same medication that they would prescribe for Casper, if she was going to write the scrip.

We talked about Casper's coughing fits with the vet and told her how worried we were. The vet assured us that Casper's problem was not serious unless his coughs lasted for more than approximately a minute and they didn't "double up" (happen in a row) or happen more than once or twice per day. We asked what to do if his problem did, suddenly, become serious.

We discussed getting an AeroKat for Casper but she said that they were expensive, as you say, and that we didn't really need to get one just for emergency use. Instead, she said we could use a plastic bag. She said that we could put a kitty treat inside a small, plastic "Baggie" sandwich bag then squirt in two shots of "juice" from the inhaler we already have. Then, we just let Casper eat the kitty treat out of the plastic bag. He would automatically inhale some of the medicine when he put his mouth and nose into the bag to get the treat.
(If he won't do it that way, by himself, we could just put the bag over his nose and hold it there for about thirty seconds.)

First: We never had to do this because our housekeeping regimen helped the problem go away on his own. However, we liked the idea because it helped us feel better about Casper's potential asthma problem. It gave us a way to help Casper if we needed to.
I don't know if the "Baggie trick" will work for every cat. Maybe your cat won't do it. Still, it's one possible solution that won't cost you a month's pay.

Second: We also got strict instructions from our vet to call them, immediately, if we ever had to act on our plan.

I don't want people to go 'round sticking plastic bags over their cats' heads just because of something some guy said on the internet.
I only want people to understand that there are less expensive, alternative solutions.

As I've said one hundred times (and I'll say it a hundred times more) TALK TO YOUR VET, FIRST!

A trigger can be anything you can breathe in, and even other things, too. Cold and dry winter air is one of mine, for example.
I had a buddy from high school who passed away from just that. It was almost twenty years after we graduated from school and he hadn't had a severe asthma attack for more than a decade. He didn't even carry an asthma inhaler with him because he rarely ever needed it. It's often said that school aged children with asthma often "grow out of it" after they become adults. That's exactly what he and his family thought.

One day, we went out sailing and a gust of cold wind caught him in the face, just right. (Or is it "just wrong?") Anyhow, it sent him into a severe asthma attack and, by the time they radioed the paramedics and got the boat ashore, he had expired.

Everybody was shocked when it happened!

This is part of the reason why I'm being so outspoken about the subject of asthma.

My significant other has asthma. My cat has asthma (potentially) and I have a school friend who died from it.
 

iPappy

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I need to start by saying that we talked to our vet about Casper's asthma and that everything I talk about comes out of that conversation with our vet:

Casper's Girl-Human has mild to moderate asthma and she uses an inhaler when she needs it. (Thankfully, it's not very often.)
We showed our vet which inhaler she uses and the vet said that it is the same medication that they would prescribe for Casper, if she was going to write the scrip.

We talked about Casper's coughing fits with the vet and told her how worried we were. The vet assured us that Casper's problem was not serious unless his coughs lasted for more than approximately a minute and they didn't "double up" (happen in a row) or happen more than once or twice per day. We asked what to do if his problem did, suddenly, become serious.

We discussed getting an AeroKat for Casper but she said that they were expensive, as you say, and that we didn't really need to get one just for emergency use. Instead, she said we could use a plastic bag. She said that we could put a kitty treat inside a small, plastic "Baggie" sandwich bag then squirt in two shots of "juice" from the inhaler we already have. Then, we just let Casper eat the kitty treat out of the plastic bag. He would automatically inhale some of the medicine when he put his mouth and nose into the bag to get the treat.
(If he won't do it that way, by himself, we could just put the bag over his nose and hold it there for about thirty seconds.)

First: We never had to do this because our housekeeping regimen helped the problem go away on his own. However, we liked the idea because it helped us feel better about Casper's potential asthma problem. It gave us a way to help Casper if we needed to.
I don't know if the "Baggie trick" will work for every cat. Maybe your cat won't do it. Still, it's one possible solution that won't cost you a month's pay.

Second: We also got strict instructions from our vet to call them, immediately, if we ever had to act on our plan.

I don't want people to go 'round sticking plastic bags over their cats' heads just because of something some guy said on the internet.
I only want people to understand that there are less expensive, alternative solutions.

As I've said one hundred times (and I'll say it a hundred times more) TALK TO YOUR VET, FIRST!



I had a buddy from high school who passed away from just that. It was almost twenty years after we graduated from school and he hadn't had a severe asthma attack for more than a decade. He didn't even carry an asthma inhaler with him because he rarely ever needed it. It's often said that school aged children with asthma often "grow out of it" after they become adults. That's exactly what he and his family thought.

One day, we went out sailing and a gust of cold wind caught him in the face, just right. (Or is it "just wrong?") Anyhow, it sent him into a severe asthma attack and, by the time they radioed the paramedics and got the boat ashore, he had expired.

Everybody was shocked when it happened!

This is part of the reason why I'm being so outspoken about the subject of asthma.

My significant other has asthma. My cat has asthma (potentially) and I have a school friend who died from it.
That's horrible!!! That poor man...
I know a few people with asthma and their triggers are all different. It's a confusing and sometimes devastating condition.
 

CyberTiger

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I had a buddy from high school who passed away from just that. It was almost twenty years after we graduated from school and he hadn't had a severe asthma attack for more than a decade. He didn't even carry an asthma inhaler with him because he rarely ever needed it. It's often said that school aged children with asthma often "grow out of it" after they become adults. That's exactly what he and his family thought.

One day, we went out sailing and a gust of cold wind caught him in the face, just right. (Or is it "just wrong?") Anyhow, it sent him into a severe asthma attack and, by the time they radioed the paramedics and got the boat ashore, he had expired.

Everybody was shocked when it happened!

This is part of the reason why I'm being so outspoken about the subject of asthma.

My significant other has asthma. My cat has asthma (potentially) and I have a school friend who died from it.
I'm very sorry, that's so awful! Thanks for being outspoken about this.

I've made the mistake of canceling my inhaler at one point, even though a doctor suggested it might not be the best idea. I was fortunate that my first issue in years that happened a month or so afterward did not go as badly as it could've, and I got a new inhaler the next chance I could.

I am very grateful of how the public perception of smoking has changed so strongly. I believe it was when my state's smoking ban laws went into effect that my lungs were able to improve so much. Smokers can be respectful, but family at home and elsewhere were not until that happened. I don't think I will ever understand how they could dismiss my suffering with that particular trigger, but I've long moved out now.
 
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Eca

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Sorry to hear about Miku, but the good news is that the asthma is now diagnosed and he has has moved forward with medical care -
:)

Try not to dwell on the fact that the AeroKat "system" is not available for you where you live. I should think that the fluticasone / saline with the albuterol (when the coughing is worse) should treat him well.

Asthma is a progressive disease, and remember - that you think he may have had these issues for at least two years now. So, it could take some weeks, perhaps a few months even, for the meds to help to control the coughing fits a bit better.

He may have episodes of coughing still - I doubt they will entirely disappear. Your goal should be to try to decrease these attacks just as best as you are able -- sounds like you are doing all you can at this point. Keep it up, and try to stay calm... it is great he is eating and drinking normally.

I have a cat who was diagnosed with asthma (allergic bronchitis) when she was young. She is 7- 1/2 yrs old now. She is on long-term doses of oral Pred, as that is what works well for her. We tried the AeroKat with inhaled steroid, but it wasn't strong enough for her system/issues. She continued to cough too often, even with all the other "household" cleaning and etc. that we were doing.

Anyway, one thing that might help Miku out, is if he could lose some weight, and do so under a vet's care & guidance. Did your vet discuss this with you? Another thing that might be discussed with the vet is if the actual dose of the fluticasone used is strong enough... if, after a few months, he is still coughing every other day, I would encourage you to have a recheck with the vet and get their advice on this.
:hugs:
Hi, thank you for your reply. You don't know how much your words calmed me down 🤗. The vet did tell me to be patient in Miku's care. The inhaled meds should be administered for at least 10 days before the full effect can be observed. Guess I'm just too anxious to be patient.

About the weigh loss, the vet didn't mention about it. Miku's not particularly fat, just a bit chubby. Does his weight affect the asthma?
 
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