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Cat Coughing, Sneezing & Wheezing

Is your cat coughing, sneezing and wheezing instead of contentedly purring? Cat coughs are a sign that something is irritating your feline friend's lungs, airway or throat. Today, our Clemmons vets share some common causes of cat coughs and what to do. 


Why Cats Cough

If your cat has a recurrent cough it's bound to be upsetting for both you and your kitty. Often when cats are coughing they become agitated and apprehensive, making it appear as if each cough will be their final breath.

If your cat has an ongoing or severe cough it's time to head to the vet! Cat coughs can be a sign of a serious underlying illness. Your vet will be able to diagnose the cause of your cat's cough so that treatment can begin.

To determine the right treatment for your cat, the vet will need to determine the underlying cause. The nature of your cat's cough along with other findings can help your vet to diagnose the cause of your cat's cough and prescribe appropriate treatment.

Causes of Cat Coughing, Wheezing & Sneezing

There are a number of different reasons why your cat may be wheezing, coughing or sneezing. Below are a few of the most common: 

Cat Colds

Cat colds are upper respiratory infections characterized by all the same symptoms as the human cold including coughing, sneezing and wheezing. Cat colds can be caused by either bacteria or viruses and although these infections are not contagious to humans, they are very easily transmitted between cats, especially in crowded conditions. 

Asthma

Asthma is the most common feline respiratory disorder that our Clemmons veterinarians see. Cats who spend at least part of their time outdoors are more likely to develop asthma and may experience coughing and wheezing as symptoms of the condition.

Allergies

Much like their people, cats often suffer from allergies that make them cough and sneeze or wheeze. 

Fungal Lung Infection

If your feline friend spends time outdoors they face an increased risk for a fungal infection. Fungal infections can result in coughing and other symptoms. When caught early fungal infections are typically easy to treat.

Heartworms

Heartworm disease is a deadly condition spread by mosquitos. Preventative medications are available from your vet that can help to protect your cat against this extremely serious disease.

Lung Cancer

Coughing can also be a sign of lung cancer in cats. Some lung tumors can be controlled with medication. If not, surgery may be an option for some cats.

Pneumonia

Cat coughing can be a sign of pneumonia. Pneumonia in cats can be diagnosed with x-rays and may respond to antibiotics and other therapies. 

Congestive Heart Failure

Signs of congestive heart failure in cats include shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing. If your cat is struggling to breathe it's time to see your vet. Heart failure can be diagnosed using ultrasound or electrocardiogram.

Tight collars

A tight collar can put pressure on your kitty’s windpipe causing damage and leading to a cough.

Worms

Worms are particularly common in felines. It’s one reason your kitty should have regular blood and fecal tests at the vet. These tests can help to detect parasites early when they are most easily treated.

Treatment for Cat Coughing

Treatment for coughing and other breathing problems in cats will depend upon the underlying cause. Do not try to treat your cat without the guidance of your vet.  After your cat has been thoroughly examined, your vet will recommend appropriate treatment options. Your cat's treatment for coughing may include cough suppressants, antibiotics, steroids or other medications.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat has a severe or recurrent cough, contact our Clemmons vets right away. Our vets can diagnose your kitty's condition and provide you with effective treatment options quickly.

Coughing can make cats agitated or anxious. Anxious looking cat with big eyes.

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