The goal for asthmatic cats is to decrease inflammation, dilate the airway and diminish mucus production. Medications can be administered orally, inhaled, or intravenously. Some medications can also be made into liquid suspensions or transdermal gels. Commonly prescribed medications include broncodilators, steroids, inhaled steroids, antihistamines, leukotreine receptors, holistic, homeopathic & herbal medications and vitamins.
Xanthines (Theophyline). Used for the long-term prevention of breathing difficulty, in oral form. Theophyline when used with Prednisolone has a little understood action of increasing the anti-inflammatory process where others bronchodilators do not. Side effects can include headache and palpitations.
research suggests that bronchodilators when used alone may result
progression of asthma and irreversible lung damage. This is because the
inflammatory process is allowed to continue while symptoms are masked
with the bronchodilators. Bronchodilators do not reduce the inflammation
in the lungs. It is better to provide concurrent therapy with steroids.
The use of bronchodilators is contraindicated in patients with cardiac
disease. so this condition should be ruled out before use of bronchodilators.
Prednisolone may be administered in oral form or produced by the body from Prednisone which is activated by the patient's liver into Prednisolone. Depo-Medrol is idministered in injection form.
Injectable steroids do carry more risks than oral because the dose cannot be reduced once it is in the body; you have to wait for its effects to wear off over potentially months. There is also a higher incidence of steroid induced diabetes associated with the long acting depo shot.
It is suggested that steroid doses be given in the evening to tie in with the body’s own production of anti-inflammatory hormones. (Cortisone).
Check out the pictures of Frankie and Keisha receiving their inhaled medications
Inhaled steroids usually do not get past the first few layers of cells in the lungs, though a tiny amount escapes into the system, therefore significantly reducing the likelihood of side effects associated with the oral route. They only affect the lungs while oral or injectable steroids are systemic and therefore affect the whole body. For this reason, there are far fewer side effects of inhaled steroids than oral or injectable steroids. There can be minor side effects such as throat irritation, voice loss, gag reaction and stomach upset from the swallowed medication.
final Flovent® treatment protocol for the AeroKat has not
been officially published by Dr. Padrid. In the meantime, he suggestions
the following protocol (pdf) to get a feline started
on inhaled steroids.
drug was being used by some specialists at a University veterinary hospital
in the UK with reported success at doses of 5mg twice daily. The drug
has a reputation of being tough on the liver so initial treatment needs
to be monitored very carefully and any changes in behaviour whatsoever
should be assessed by a vet. Some cats are unable to tolerate these doses
and in those cases, it may be worthwhile to experiment with lower doses.
Some animals were able to get away with as little as 2.5mg every other
This list is a reference guide to assist with the chronically sick and elderly pets. A healthy cat or a cat with mild or well controlled asthma should not require any specifically targeted therapy and should receive all the nutrients required from a good balanced diet. There are also many multivitamin and mineral supplements available for pets as well as immune support supplements and these should be adequate in most cases. Please discuss with your vet.
Vitamin C - Ester C is recommended, as this is gentler on the stomach -250mg daily. The vitamin is well known for accelerating the healing of damaged tissue and for its role in maintaining healthy immune and circulatory systems, strong bones and teeth. There are also reports that it may minimize the risk of cancer. Cats do naturally produce a little vitamin C but with the chronically sick, a supplement is worthwhile.
Vitamin E - this should be the natural vitamin E, (look for d-alpha tocopherol) - 50 IU (international units) is a suitable dosage rate. This vitamin helps to fight infection and disease. It is an anti oxidant and helps preserve the activity of vitamin a and fatty acids in food. Wheatgerm oil is a good source and promotes a good glossy coat.
Cod Liver Oil - 300mg capsule, one week in every four or twice weekly. Apart from its effect in helping to prevent and treat the symptoms of arthritis, and in helping to maintain a healthy skin and coat, the vitamins a and d in cod liver oil assist in the function and maintenance of eyesight, tooth formation, nervous tissue, bones and joints. Vitamin a is also an antioxidant and combats the effects of chemicals and pollutants. Due to the vitamin a content of cod liver oil, the dosage rate should never be exceeded, for in excessive amounts, vitamin a, which is stored by the liver, can cause damage to bones and joints.
Evening Primrose Oil - 500mg capsule daily. This has long been used to help promote a healthy skin and coat however; more recently, studies have shown it can have an anti-inflammatory effect. The oil contains not only the essential fatty acid, linoleic acid, but also the important substance gamma linolenic acid or gla. In the body, linoleic acid must be converted into gla before it can produce prostaglandins. These important hormone like substances enable the body to control and regulate a variety of such functions as cell growth and regeneration, muscle action, and healthy circulation. The conversion of linoleic acid to gla can be disrupted by modern food preparation, vitamin and mineral deficiency as well as metabolic disorders such as diabetes, viral infection, hormonal changes and aging. It is debatable how much anti-inflammatory action this oil may have when given to cats, because in one study, doses of 7000mg daily were used in dogs before any anti inflammatory action was observed. Although the dosage rate is not dangerous as such, it is unlikely that this amount of oil would be tolerated by the average kitty stomach!
Co Enzyme Q 10 - 10mg-30mg daily. This is a natural vitamin like substance that is essential for the release of energy from all cells in the body. The substance occurs naturally in foods and although the body can make CoQ10 from food, the ability to do this declines with age. It is an antioxidant and antioxidant nutrients are able to quench free radicals before they can damage cells or tissues. Recent studies have also shown it may help with heart disease. There are now veterinary products on the market, which your vet can provide if appropriate.
L Lysine - 500mg-1000mg once daily. This is one of the essential amino acids, the building blocks for protein, which is needed for normal growth and development in the body. Some owners have found this supplement useful where a viral element to their cats disease is suspected (Herpes) and symptoms such as excessive tearing and general signs of a viral flare up are said to improve with its use.
Vitamin B Complex - pediatric dose once daily. The B group of vitamins are vital to the feline and have many functions in the body, including that of helping to fight disease. The vitamins are water soluble (with the exception of B12, where small amounts are stored by the liver) are therefore need to be replenished daily. Vitamin B12 is stocked by all vets in injection form and is often prescribed to promote appetite, and help with anemia where a deficiency of vitamin B12 is the suspected cause.
Cranberry - Various doses, available in capsule and powder forms. Cranberry supplements can be used as a natural way to ward off urinary tract infection where this is a persistent problem. It willalso help with cystitis and bladder problems generally.
Probiotic Digestive Aids - many available, containing friendly bacteria essential for healthy gut flora. Particularly useful following antibiotic therapy to restore gut flora and in studies, it was shown that patients given a probiotic during antibiotic therapy recovered faster. The theory is that that probiotic contains billions of good bacteria and more than the antibiotic can destroy.
From Dr. Padrid on Transdermal Gels
A recent pharmacologic study using steroids on the skin (inside flap of the ear) on the theory that they will be absorbed and therefore as useful as oral steroids, for kitties that are difficult to pill. First, remember, if it works, it carries the same side effects as pills. More importantly, the study demonstrated that even at 10 times the oral dose applied to the skin, no steroid could be detected in the blood stream after topical application.