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Cat with asthma.

Species: Cat
Breed: Tuxedo
Age: 8-11 years
My cat sam is 9 yrs old. he weighs about 16 pounds. He has coughing spells about 3 times a year. He sneezes too. I would take him to the vet and he would get a steroid injection and prednisone 5mg once a day by mouth. He would not cough for months. Now he is terrified to go to the vet. I have prednisone to give him because he is coughing, but the 5mg wears off at night. Can I give him more? I also have a albuterol Inhaler that was mine. Can I use that on him? I don't want to keep him on the prednisone long term just when he is symptomatic. A vet I called said he could have heart trouble. Do you think so? The prednisone works and he breathes better and doesn't cough, so I don't think it's his heart. Please help!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that Sam is having problems.

Unfortunately I can't give you specific information on whether or not you can give these medications as I can't legally do so without Sam being an actual patient of mine.

I do have cats that I put on Prednisone long term. Usually 5mg a day is plenty. In fact, I have many cats on 2.5mg every other day for asthma. I generally would not use 5 mg twice daily long term unless the benefits really outweighed the risks.

You may want to talk to your vet about possibly getting him a long acting steroid injection such as depo-medrol. There are pros and cons to this. There is a rare side effect where a cat can develop diabetes after having repeated steroid injections but this is very uncommon. These injections often work well and last about 6 weeks or longer. This could be an option.

I have used inhalers in cats but you would need to get one that has a dosage that is specific to your cat (which would have to be prescribed by your vet).

In my experience, cats don't often cough with heart trouble. The one exception is heartworm. If you live in an area where there is a lot of heartworm (such as the Southern US) then you may want to ask your vet to test for heartworm. But, given that he responds to steroids, asthma is much more likely.

I can understand that Sam doesn't enjoy going to the vet. You may want to see if the vet or another vet in your area has a housecall option. It really does sound like he needs some long term veterinary care.

I wish I could offer more to you. Please let me know if you have questions.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you so much. Your information really has helped me. I found a vet that makes house calls and I'm going to get him an appt. Thanks again!


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.