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Cat Laryngitis

If you notice your cat seems to be in pain when they try to meow, or if they seem to be refraining from meowing altogether, it may be a sign they have feline laryngitis. In today's post, our Poway vets discuss what owners should know about laryngitis in cats, including the causes, signs, and treatment options.

If you're wondering 'Can a cat get laryngitis?', the simple answer is yes. Just like humans, cats can experience this condition which can cause them a great deal of discomfort when trying to be vocal.

Feline laryngitis occurs when inflammation affects your cat's larynx (or voice box). Various diseases can cause this inflammation, but ultimately cause a noticeable decrease in your cat's usual meowing volume and may even cause discomfort or pain when they attempt to "speak."

Depending on the personality and breed of your cat (as some cats are naturally more vocal than others), this condition may be harder to detect in some cases than others.

Cat Laryngitis Symptoms

Beyond a raspy or quiet meow, if you think your feline friend has laryngitis, you may also notice:

  • Wheezing breaths and obvious difficulty inhaling
  • A harsh or dry cough
  • A runny nose
  • Noisy breathing
  • Bad breath
  • Fever
  • Their mouth hanging open
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hyper-excitability
  • Panting
  • Reduced activity or lethargy

The specific symptoms your cat displays will depend almost entirely on the underlying condition that is causing the inflammation of their larynx. If you find yourself saying 'I think my cat has laryngitis.', don't hesitate even if you aren't completely sure. Contact a vet right away to confirm your suspicions.

Cat Laryngitis Causes

Various underlying causes may contribute to the inflammation around your cat's larynx, including infections, diseases, and physical obstructions. Some possible causes for feline laryngitis include:

  • A growth in the throat
  •  Paralysis of the laryngeal nerve
  • Inflammation or infection in your cat's chest
  • Inhalation of irritants like dust or smoke
  • Hormonal deficiencies
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Physical obstructions in the larynx
  • Trauma
  • Cancer

Since the causes of this condition can vary, you should take your kitty to the vet so they can diagnose the cause and provide an appropriate treatment option.

Diagnosing Cat Laryngitis

Your veterinarian will begin with a thorough physical examination of your cat to assess potential underlying conditions causing your cat's laryngitis. Then, the vet will likely suggest diagnostic tests aligned with their suspicions about the root cause of this condition.

These diagnostic tests may include X-rays, bloodwork, or an endoscopy to check for physical obstructions or tumors.

Cat Laryngitis Treatment

Once your cat has been officially diagnosed with laryngitis, your vet will develop a tailored treatment plan based on your feline friend's unique needs and situation. Depending on the severity of the condition, injury, or disease, causing your cat's laryngitis, the treatment process may range from something as simple as a few days rest to a course of antibiotics, steroids, diuretics, or even surgery in more severe cases.

When your cat is ready to return home, your vet will provide you with detailed instructions on how to care for them. Be sure to follow the vet's instructions carefully. The specific guidelines will vary depending on the underlying cause of laryngitis but often involve increasing the humidity of your cat's environment to prevent the throat from becoming more dry and irritated.

As part of the recovery process, dietary changes may be necessary. Switching your cat to wet food can be beneficial, as it will be softer on their throat. Additionally, vitamin supplements may be recommended to boost your pet's immune system.

Recovery From Cat Laryngitis

A majority of the time, the prognosis for the majority of laryngitis cases is quite optimistic. Most cats who just require rest, antibiotics, or steroids to treat the condition will have a full recovery in a few days or weeks.

However, in instances where your cat's sore throat stems from more severe factors like tumors, serious obstructions, or cancer, prompt treatment becomes crucial for ensuring your pet's recovery. If the cause is sufficiently serious and your cat isn't diagnosed and treated early, they may never fully regain their previous health.

Are you worried that your cat may be showing severe signs of laryngitis? Contact our Poway vets to get your kitty immediate medical care.

Experienced Emergency Vet Care in Poway

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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Contact (858) 748-7387