Cat Asthma

Kellynorrrris

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My cat Pimento (6.5 y.o) was diagnosed by one vet with mild asthma two years ago. The diagnosis was made based on her watching videos of his cough episodes and discussing their frequency. Pimento was having brief cough episodes maybe a few times (4-5) a month. The treatment was an injection of DepoMedrol (Prednisolone steroid) which took the cough completely away for several months.

This has been the case now for two years. The injection is entirely effective for normally 3/4 months before he starts coughing again and goes in for another injection. At one point I asked the vet for an X-ray and it showed quite a bit of inflammation to the lungs and airway.

Long story short, Pimento is coughing again (It’s been 3 months since his last shot) and I feel hesitant to administer yet another DepoMedrol injection because of the possible long term side effects such as diabetes. My vet has touched on these side effects, but says cats can tolerate steroids well and continues administering the injection as our treatment anyway. I do trust this vet and know they love my cat a ton. Maybe they continue this treatment because the frequency were at is safe? It amounts to around 4 injections a year at this rate.

Some users here have positive experience with Inhalers, but I don’t know if Pimento’s case warrants an inhaler, which is probably why we haven’t gone there yet. Like I said, he coughs a few times a month after the steroid wears off and then I’ll take him for a new injection. He exercises with no problems and lung/breathing sounds are clear. It doesn’t seem super severe but I of course worry for him. Any advice? Thanks in advance
 

Twylasmom

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Can you pill Pimento? He may do better on a consistent low level dose of Prednisolone rather than the injection. My Twyla has to go on a course of oral steroids 3 to 4 times a year but I know others do a very low dose every couple of days year round. I am trying to get Twyla used to the Aerokat in the event she would be better off on the inhaler. It did require spending the money on the Aerokat but not on the inhaled steroid yet. She is not too cooperative with just the mouthpiece, but we keep trying. I prefer the pills to the injection because there is no way to undo the injection if side effects occur, but you can taper off the pills.
 
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Kellynorrrris

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Can you pill Pimento? He may do better on a consistent low level dose of Prednisolone rather than the injection. My Twyla has to go on a course of oral steroids 3 to 4 times a year but I know others do a very low dose every couple of days year round. I am trying to get Twyla used to the Aerokat in the event she would be better off on the inhaler. It did require spending the money on the Aerokat but not on the inhaled steroid yet. She is not too cooperative with just the mouthpiece, but we keep trying. I prefer the pills to the injection because there is no way to undo the injection if side effects occur, but you can taper off the pills.
Thanks for the reply. So you do a steroid pill 3-4 times a year for asthma instead of injected steroid? The thing is he tolerates the injection well and it does treat the cough well for a few months at a time. We do it at the same frequency you do the pill it sounds like. I’d have trouble pilling him. Do you have experience or know about possible long term side effects of the injection? What made you opt for the pill rather than the shot? Thanks.
 

stephanietx

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You can do a short round of predisone pills. We usually give 1/2 of a pill for a few days. We split the 1/2 and then wrap in American cheese and my girl gobbles it down.
 

LTS3

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Prednisolone can be compounded into other forms if pills are too difficult to give.

One of my cat occasionally needs to take pred, either for his IBD or asthma. I use a bacon flavored pill dough.
 
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Kellynorrrris

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You can do a short round of predisone pills. We usually give 1/2 of a pill for a few days. We split the 1/2 and then wrap in American cheese and my girl gobbles it down.
How often if your cat coughing? For Pimento it’s only 4-5 times a month so I’m not sure if he needs a daily pill.
 
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Kellynorrrris

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Prednisolone can be compounded into other forms if pills are too difficult to give.

One of my cat occasionally needs to take pred, either for his IBD or asthma. I use a bacon flavored pill dough.
What made you choose the pred pill over the injections?
 

LTS3

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He was originally prescribed the pred pills to mange the IBD. IBD is typically treated with a dose of pred in pill or other form daily instead of injections. Later it was discovered that he also had mild asthma so the vet just kept him on the pred pills instead of trying Flovent or some other medication.
 

Twylasmom

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Thanks for the reply. So you do a steroid pill 3-4 times a year for asthma instead of injected steroid? The thing is he tolerates the injection well and it does treat the cough well for a few months at a time. We do it at the same frequency you do the pill it sounds like. I’d have trouble pilling him. Do you have experience or know about possible long term side effects of the injection? What made you opt for the pill rather than the shot? Thanks.
My vet prefers pills over the injection. Steroids do have possible side effects (you can Google it) and there is no way to reverse the long acting injection once it's given, whereas you can stop or taper the pills if need be. My cat is very easy to pill so it's a good option for me. She can go 3 to 4 months with absolutely no asthma symptoms and we start a course as soon as she starts coughing. The inhaler has the lowest risk of side effects since it is only absorbed in the respiratory tract.

One thing that I do to monitor Twyla's asthma is periodically check her respiratory rate. Her normal resting rate is between 18-23 breaths a minute. If it goes up to 30 that's a red flag that their may be some issues happening.
 
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Kellynorrrris

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My vet prefers pills over the injection. Steroids do have possible side effects (you can Google it) and there is no way to reverse the long acting injection once it's given, whereas you can stop or taper the pills if need be. My cat is very easy to pill so it's a good option for me. She can go 3 to 4 months with absolutely no asthma symptoms and we start a course as soon as she starts coughing. The inhaler has the lowest risk of side effects since it is only absorbed in the respiratory tract.

One thing that I do to monitor Twyla's asthma is periodically check her respiratory rate. Her normal resting rate is between 18-23 breaths a minute. If it goes up to 30 that's a red flag that their may be some issues happening.
That’s great advice, thank you! I haven’t monitored his rate before but I will start. I’ve been confused about the inhalers, because I know they’re the safest option but I don’t know how to administer it without being wasteful or unnecessary- since he doesn’t cough every day. I will ask my vet next time we’re in.
 

LTS3

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You need the AeroKat device for inhale medicine. The inhaler goes in one end of the tube shaped device and the other end has the little clear rubber mask you hold over the cat's nose.

There's more info on asthma here:

 
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