Did you know cats can suffer from asthma? Unfortunately, they can, and it can be difficult to figure out what to do. However, a cat named Dash is helping others with feline asthma breathe easier.
Dash, a black and white cutie, was rescued from a dumpster. Someone carelessly threw him away with his brothers in a sealed box at a few weeks old. Happily, he recovered and went home with his pal Luna in 2018. (Nicknames: Dash-hole and Looney!) But then a few months later, he started having some troubling health issues.
At 10 months old, his mom, Lindsay, noticed he was having a serious problem one night. At first, it seemed he had a bad hairball. But then, he continued to wheeze and cough – all night long!
Note: This information about feline asthma is for educational purposes only. As always, please discuss your cat’s health with your veterinarian.
Below is Dash being a happy, goofy boy in his home.
Images and media via Instagram/_dashandluna_
Dash was Diagnosed with Asthma After an X-ray
After an X-ray of his lungs at the vet the next day, he was diagnosed with asthma. As with people, feline asthma is due to chronic inflammation of the tiny passages in the lungs.
“He started doing this at 8 months old but never for more than a few seconds at a time, until one day it was constant,” Lindsay wrote.
Looking back, she wished she had gone to the emergency vet right away. But she was lucky: her veterinarian was well-versed about feline asthma. But sometimes, you might need to bring some evidence with you, a video of your cat’s behavior, she suggests.
“I should have gone to Animal Emergency, but I didn’t know better back then. If your cat is doing this, PLEASE talk to your vet. Get videos if you can, and request an X-ray!” she shared on Dash and Luna.
What Happens After a Diagnosis of Feline Asthma?
Before reaching a diagnosis of feline asthma, the vet ruled out conditions with similar symptoms like heart disease, respiratory infections, heartworm, and lungworm. As with people, there’s no cure, but there are many things you can do to help. First, they tried to remove any common triggers present in the home. Such triggers could include:
- Dust mites
- Tobacco smoke
- Cat litter
- Cleaning products
- Certain foods
Feline asthma can be related to immunity, allergens, or excess stress. To rule out allergens in the air, Lindsay installed air purifiers, and the kitty started on a daily inhaler. A specialist also prescribed daily prednisolone, a corticosteroid, which unfortunately continued to be necessary to help control the inflammation.
A Meowdel Patient
Below, you can watch Dash in a video showing what a meowdel patient he is with his daily inhaler routine! He knows he’ll have to breathe through the inhaler for ten seconds, and then, he gets a special treat as a reward. What a good boy! As you can imagine, it took some time to adjust to such a routine, but it’s possible with lots of love and patience (and treats).
After a couple of years, Dash developed other health concerns, which may or may not be related to long-term steroid use. You can see more at the GoFundMe for Dash’s ongoing medical bills.
Wonderfully, he turned 5 years old this spring and is living his best life, with lots of happy moments.
“Yes, I wish he was healthy, but if it weren’t for his challenges, I never would have found the incredibly supportive cat community!” said Lindsay.
Video by Dash and Luna about feline asthma:
Getting Around the High Costs of Feline Asthma Inhalers
As we are well aware, the high costs of health care of any kind are, how shall we say, bonkers in the United States. But Dash’s mom has found some work-arounds, which she was generous to share.
After joining the Cat Asthma Support Group on Facebook, she discovered a wealth of information about helping cats with asthma.
“The cost of asthma medication for cats in the USA is outrageous! But thankfully, you can order it from Canada!” she shared.
Since the costs for inhalers are extreme in the US, she was able to work with her veterinarian to find out which inhaler to order for Dash from Canada. In this case, a generic asthma inhaler for her cat was several hundred dollars cheaper through a Canadian pharmacy! However, the wait to get the inhaler delivered could be several weeks, so ordering early is essential.
“It’s much cheaper, they’re reliable,” she says.
Note: Cole and Marmalade are not affiliated with this pharmacy and can’t verify the reliability or costs. Try at your own risk and talk to your vet.