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Why Is My Cat Coughing & Wheezing?

Why Is My Cat Coughing & Wheezing?

Is your cat coughing rather than purring? coughing in cats is a sign that something is irritating their lungs, airway or throat. Some causes of cat coughing, sneezing, or wheezing are easy to treat but others are much more serious. Here, our Poway vets share some common causes.


Why Cats Cough

If your cat has is repeatedly coughing 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.

It's important to have your cat examined by a vet right away if your cat has an ongoing or severe cough. 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: 

Asthma

Asthma is the most common feline respiratory disorder that our Poway veterinarians see. Cats who spend at least part of their time outdoors are more likely to develop asthma and may experience a cough as a symptom 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 breathing problems and coughing 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 feline friend is coughing, wheezing or experiencing other breathing difficulties it's time to contact your vet. Contact our Poway emergency vets today to have your cat checked out.

Experienced Emergency Vet Care

Animal Emergency Clinic of San Diego is a family-run after-hours and critical care hospital, providing veterinary emergency care since 1985. If your pet is experiencing an emergency, contact us to get the help your pet needs.

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(858) 748-7387