Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Feline Asthma

Thorasic X-Ray Illustrating Feline Asthma

 Have I mentioned that we have a cat?  His name is Pepe, but we call him Peeps.  Actually, my wife spells it 'Pepys' because this is what I get for marrying a drama/english major. 
For a few days last week Peeps didn't seem to be quite himself, but he was eating and drinking, using his box, no vomit or diarrhea, and then on Sunday evening he became quite ill, struggling to breathe.  I sat with him for awhile on the bed in the spare room (his preferred place to sleep because sun streams through a window in there for most of the day) until it seemed like he was breathing better and calmed down.
We went to bed.
In the morning, yesterday morning, I found Peeps in the very same position in which I'd left him the night before; sitting upright on the bed, looking exhausted.  I don't know if he slept well or not the night before, but he was once again having a difficult time breathing.  I called the vet's office as soon as they opened (8am) and they told me to bring him right over.  Pepe was lethargic, but not so lethargic that it was an easy task to shove him in the kitty carrier.  He fought me tooth and claw.  Of course in the end I won because I had to.
Once at the vet's office a tech took Peeps' vitals and said that the vet would be in shortly.  Instead of the vet coming into the exam room, the tech came back with a radiology apron on and took Peeps for x-rays.  Once the x-rays were uploaded on the computer, then the vet came in.
I have to say that she, the vet, was very thorough in her explanation of feline asthma.  First she showed me a normal thorasic x-ray of a cat, pointing out the visibility of the bronchial tubes specifically, then the pulled up Peeps' x-ray, which in no way resembled the first - at least as far as the lungs were concerned.  The vet explained that she could do a biopsy to make sure that it was asthma, but she told me that she was 100% certain that it is feline asthma.  So, they gave Peeps a shot and some pills, and sent him home with me.  And then my research into feline asthma began in earnest.  I have to say that judging from Peeps' x-ray, he has acute asthma.  Which makes me wonder how we missed the earlier warning signs?  One of the main symptoms of feline asthma is a cough - a cough that perfectly mimics what a cat does when they are coughing up a hairball, only no hairball.  Runny nose and eyes is also a symptom, which we attributed to pollen allergies, and they could've been caused by pollen allergies, it's just that allergies can cause feline asthma.
Either way, I don't know how long Peeps has.  The vet mentioned that when the condition become chronic, most cat owners opt to have the cat put down because their entire existence at that point has been reduced to a struggle for each breath.  Right now we're exploring the use of cat nebulizers.  I just feel so bad for missing all of the early warning signs of the disease and now feel that I have to do everything I can for him.

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