Cats and dogs who suffer from asthma experience many of the same problems faced by their human caretakers with asthma. An obstruction of the airway causes difficulty breathing as the air passages in the lungs fill up with mucous. Dogs and cats of any age can develop asthma, though it is mostly seen in puppies and kittens and middle-aged animals.
Siamese and Himalayan cats are especially susceptible to asthma.
Causes of Asthma in Pets
The causes of canine and feline asthma are much like the causes in humans: tobacco smoke, dust, pollution, excessive dust from litter tray in the case of cats and allergies to certain foods. Some believe that over-vaccination and commercial pet foods can lead to a compromised immune system which makes your pet more susceptible to developing asthma.
Symptoms of Asthma in Dogs and Cats
Symptoms of canine and feline asthma include, but are not limited to:
- Coughing, wheezing
- Shallow, labored breathing
- Weight loss
- Dramatic movement of the abdomen as they inhale and exhale
If your dog or cat displays purple color to the tongue and gums, seek medical care because this indicates a lack of oxygen reaching the blood.
Behaviorally, if your dog or cat has asthma, it may:
- Become lethargic
Experience a loss of appetite
Conventional treatment starts with X-rays and additional tests to rule out other respiratory problems. After asthma has been diagnosed, steroids and cortisone may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and antihistamines are used to open up the airways.
How Natural Remedies can help Pets with Asthma
Conventional treatment methods are effective in preventing asthma attacks and providing relief from the symptoms of asthma, however, many believe the long-term use of these drugs play a major role in compromising the immune system. A compromised immune system opens the door to many recurrent disorders, including more episodes of asthma attacks, allergies, skin problems and other immune-related diseases.
Strengthening the immune system is vital to controlling your pet's asthma. Herbal and homeopathic treatments can help to reduce the symptoms without the adverse side effects of conventional drugs. Here are some herbs and homeopathic treatments that have been shown to aid asthma sufferers:
- Inula – Used by herbalists for centuries, Inula Helenium is very effective in treating coughs, bronchitis and asthma. It also has a calming effect.
- Althea– Althea is a homeopathic remedy known for its effective treatment for irritating coughs and other respiratory infections. Althea helps to relieve the dry cough that causes sore throats.
- Mag Phos a biochemic tissue salt used for rapid response when promoting clear air passages.