naamah_darling: A very sweet-faced one-eyed Himalayan cat with a crooked jaw. (Smooch)
[personal profile] naamah_darling
Soooo, anyone have a cat with asthma who would like to talk to me about it? Like how much the treatment costs?

'Cause asthma is what Etrigan has. He is not doing badly or anything, he just has heeking attacks from time to time. This has been going on for a while now, but it's been really intermittent and low-key, and just not troublesome. It's definitively not hairballs, it's just a dry, soft cough with no discernible trigger that we can find. Maybe litter dust. Maybe. But not activity.

It's been slowly getting worse and more frequent, though, over the past week, and I am worried about the little asshole. He's not having labored breathing or anything, we've been monitoring that and his heart rate and making sure his gums are still pink and all that. He's just coughing, and sometimes I can tell he's uncomfortable. Otherwise he is insanely healthy; like cat-food commercial level of ridiculous, radiant good health. He has a better coat and better skin than any cat I've ever had (and the inside of his head is clean as a whistle). So at least there's that.

We need to get him to a vet, but I can't do that at least until I finish and sell my next box. I'm on that, but it's not an overnight thing.

I love the stupid, obnoxious, barf-eating little douchebag in spite of myself, and he is the glue that keeps our kitty civilization together. I don't want anything bad or scary to happen to him.

Anyway. Wheezy kitties: who has 'em?

Date: 2012-03-04 07:47 pm (UTC)
herlander_refugee: My tattoo'd back to the world (Default)
From: [personal profile] herlander_refugee
I do not have a wheezy kitty, but have a friend who does. They usually treat it with steroids; these are cheap as generics if you get the vet to write an ordinary script. They cost a lot more when bought FROM the vet. You can get it as liquid to be fired into the mouth and result is cat spitty face, or as pills to be given to snarly unhappy kitty.

Or you can spend about $45 a month if there is a pharmacy that formulates meds...they can make a flavored liquid that will go down a bit easier. This is what I do for my ferret that requires steoids...prednisone, three times a day. Pred is bitter, but a flavor does help.

If I had a cat, I'd likely opt for the cheap pills cut into quarters or halves based on weight.

Also, just a thought. I have asthma myself. My own is GREATLY improved when I take fish oil supplements. I bet a kitty would lap down fish oil with no issue at all. No vet script can get it in capsules or liquid at a health food store.
I take 4 mg a day, a kitty could get by on much less I imagine.

Date: 2012-03-04 04:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No wheezy kitties here, but I can recommend Worlds Best Cat Litter and/or Feline Pine if you can find the scoopable. Litter dust makes me sick, so it's at least a thought (my coughing fits last at least an hour post-scooping if I have to use clay litter).

Long-distance horkings to your little dude!
Edited Date: 2012-03-04 04:07 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-03-04 04:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Etrigan icon bases, via my sucky photoshop skills!

Date: 2012-03-23 01:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
FINALLY got around to uploading one of these! Dreamwidth won't let me because I'm already over my icon limit due to a lapsed paid account but I can use it on LJ!


Date: 2012-03-08 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We use World's Best took, and it's really great. Also, there's no waste! Eventually you have to toss even clumping clay litter because it gets full of little clumps. The World's Best totally sucks up the waste so you just keep adding and you can remove ALL the waste, so the boxes don't get stinky.

Date: 2012-03-04 04:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We had a temp fostered "inside mouser" that had been sleeping/working under my old office chair. Staking out an ungrilled air duct AkA mouse delivery chute. With crumbling foam snowing down into the airstream when junk was moved on the chair. Flicker would then SNEEZE and exit rapidly with a residual cough at times. It took us a while to piece together all of that. Trashing the chair fixed Flicker's cough in a short while. It's been a few years and the person we rehomed Flicker with, discovered kitty had allergies to foam rubber! They've kept the lady clear of foam rubber dust and their home is quite devoid of mice.

Date: 2012-03-04 04:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If it's allergy-induced, benedryl should help. Your vet may be willing to give your the dosage for his weight over the phone, free of charge.

Date: 2012-03-04 08:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The vet calculations are 1 mg per pound of animal. Trying to pill a cat with benedryl is a challenge because it's very bitter, though. (This is per my vet.)

Date: 2012-03-06 02:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I do not offhand know the mg/kg Benadryl dose for cats. I do know that if you get the liquid pills and some 0.3cc syringes, you can transfer the liquid entirely to the syringe and calculate how many mg of drug per .01cc.

Date: 2012-03-06 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you get a pill dose, I bet you could hide it in the Pill Pockets and Etrigan would never notice. :)

Date: 2012-03-08 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I wish that worked for my cat. *sigh* I can pill her with everything but benedryl. She is a pain.

Date: 2012-03-04 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Awww, I'm sorry! :( *hugs* Keep us updated on how he's doing! (BTW, your descriptions of him are funny *LOL*).

Date: 2012-03-04 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have a wheezy kitty. Mia was a rescue from the streets... as in I literally picked her up off the street and brought her home. The vet diagnosed her with an upper respiratory infection and being underweight. So we treated her with antibiotics and some nose drops.

It got better for a while... but she had a relapse. So in again for meds. Which only seemed to push it back for a month or two. So I asked the doctor if it would ever go away. He said she might have had it long enough on the street that it damaged her lungs permanently... so in that case the only thing to do would be to monitor. He said I didn't have to bring her back in unless she started losing energy/appetite and she actually appeared sick.

Haven't taken her back since. She wheezes most times if she gets all worked up with running or playing. She sneezes a lot at different things. She'll occasionally do that mini-horking noise to clear up her throat. But other than that she's insanely healthy, like your little buttmunch.

So really, as long as he's still eating and shiny and energetic, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Mia sometimes sounds like a heavy smoker first thing in the morning, but it doesn't affect her at all that we or the vet can see. :)
(deleted comment)

Date: 2012-03-04 05:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Mine's on liquid Pred daily because she hates the pills with a vengeance. So far I haven't had to deal with the inhaler, and even the specially compounded liquid meds are cheaper than that ($30/month vs $150 for the inhaler plus whatever the albuterol refills cost) although if you can get the pills they're even cheaper (I think on average $15/month or so).

As a vet tech I do have to recommend a vet visit (you need one anyway to get the meds) and they'll probably require x-rays, just because it might not be asthma--it sounds like it is, and that's the best diagnosis you can hope for with his symptoms, but there's always the sad chance that there's something more worrisome underlying it.

Lots of mojo for him though, and for you guys in general.

Date: 2012-03-05 05:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
May I ask why a kitty albuterol inhaler is $150? Proair, ventolin and proventil (people albuterol) all run in the $50 range, so if they could use those, perhaps that's a way to cut your costs by two thirds....
(deleted comment)

Date: 2012-03-06 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Interesting. I don't know of a prednisone inhaler for humans. Plenty of steroid inhalers (all of which are expensive, $150 and up would not surprise me at all, I've not price checked them lately), but not one that is specifically prednisone. Are you willing to give me a specific name so I can see if there's something I should know about?

The price I mentioned was for albuterol, mentioned by name in the comment above yours, which is not a steroid at all, it's a bronchodilator and, in the US, it costs around $50 at the pharmacy where I work. You could probably find them cheaper at other pharmacies, my employer is (sadly) not known for its benevolent pricing practices.

Date: 2012-03-09 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The steroidals run from $70 to something like $300; the cheapest of them is the oldest and not much favored, but I found it worked fine for me (the only caveat is that if you don't rinse your mouth after you use it, you get infections like whoa).

Date: 2012-03-04 05:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
A couple of mine cough with a dry wheeze occasionally. However, every time we've had them in to the vet the lungs are perfectly clear. I'm seriously thinking it's the cat litter.

I have a video of it somewhere if you want to see if it's like your Etrigan.

Date: 2012-03-04 06:10 pm (UTC)
ashbet: (O RLY?)
From: [personal profile] ashbet
Gozer has asthma -- for him, it's exercise-induced. The vet said that he might need nebulizer treatments at some point if it got worse, but mostly we just try to calm him down if he's been playing hard enough that he starts wheezing. He's 8 years old and has never needed a treatment, and he's had it since he was a kitten.

But, yeah -- a vet visit is definitely in order once you can afford it, since you say it's getting worse and Etrigan seems to be bothered by it.

**hugs and good kitty mojo**


Date: 2012-03-04 06:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've had asthma cats. The first was just as you described - completely healthy except for a chronic cough that always got worse after he dug around in the litter box with the dusty clay. My vet put him on a daily dose of prednisone (sp?) which cats tolerate long term steroids much better than humans. Other than gaining a fuckton of weight he was fine for years. In fact when we eventually tapered him off we discovered the poor thing had IBD which the pred was hiding the symptoms of all that time.

My current cat has a more complicated case than just asthma but she's on theophylline to treat her cough and wheezing. I find the once a day pill makes her jittery and irritable like she drank a gallon of coffee.

Good news is both drugs are "cheap". It costs me about $20 for the monthly supply of pills.

Date: 2012-03-04 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have some friends on LJ who have a small black cat who has some pretty serious asthma. I'll send them on over, if you don't mind. They can tell you what they've had to do to deal with her breathing. I know they've had to nix all air fresheners, candles, pretty much scents of any kind. I'm sure they can tell you more. They're good folks and they take good care of their animals.

Date: 2012-03-04 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
On a completely different note from everyone else commenting, I thought my cat has asthma, but she actually has feline herpes, which is very, very common in shelter cats, and stupidly cheap to treat. It causes upper respiratory issues and eye ulcers, so if he has any spots on his eyes, that's a pretty good sign. My vet had me treat Chihiro with 1000 mg of lysine a day for a long time, and then dropped it to 500 mg once a lot of her wheezing had changed. Lysine is a pretty cheap, generic supplement, and I just crush it and mix it into wet food. Chihiro acts like it's absolutely kitty crack so it must not taste too bad. She actually gets pretty pissy if we don't give it to her that day. Her ulcers have been slowly improving (one is completely gone, the other has shrank dramatically) and her wheezing is gone. She still sneezes from time to time, but she used to have all-out sneeze fits, so it's definitely helping. I'll try to catch my vet and ask some questions. (My vet is my neighbor. She answers all sorts of strange vet questions for me.)

Date: 2012-03-04 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Morgan has asthma. It's treated with cortisone every three to four months ($ 40 per shot), and with oral steroids every other day in between ($ 60 a year). It will shorten his life, but what's the alternative?

Date: 2012-03-04 10:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My ten-year-old cat has mild asthma that seems to be largely triggered by certain cleaning products, principally bleaches and Lysol, but occasionally by stress as well. Her symptoms include coughing, wheezing, a really pathetically tiny squeak instead of a meow, and hacking up clearish goo. The vet has given her a couple of short-term prednisolone prescriptions (usually not that expensive, especially as a generic, maybe $20 or so), and it clears her up within a few days, though during those days she is considerably more hungry and aggressive than usual. We also use a non-clay litter and monitor pretty carefully for the presence of mold and such.

Long story short(ish), it's not hugely expensive if it's pretty mild and especially if you figure out what the triggers are and can reduce their presence.

Date: 2012-03-04 11:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This cat better not be allergic to BPAL....

Date: 2012-03-05 12:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't have wheezy kitties, sorry, but when you're feeling better, I sent you an etsy message a couple of days ago that may help with vet fund$

Date: 2012-03-05 12:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He has textbook asthma. He hunches over, chest down, neck extended, and he coughs. You can hear the gunk in his lungs, and he'll go for maybe 2-3 minutes and then *bgork* up a lunger and be done. It doesn't seem to be brought on by exercise, and sometimes it seems to happen when he's been in the litter, but other times not. Though it does seem to be worse when the heater is on. He has anywhere from 1-5 attacks per day, sometimes none, but usually at least one. His breathing is otherwise normal and he doesn't blow phlegm or get blue lips. I read the asthma symptoms for cats and was like "yep, that's it."

Date: 2012-03-05 03:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My friend has an asthmatic cat... The medication for cats and humans are identical... The little furball can use my inhaler...

That being said, just like a young child, the cat needs a spacer and mask, since you can't train them to inhale on demand... So you need to get a cat-face-shaped mask... It's hilarious looking to me, who is used to the human model... Probably the worst part is trying to keep the cat's head in the mask while you push the inhaler...

Date: 2012-03-05 04:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Children's Benedril. Small amounts. Palu had asthma. And the purple foam is annoying, but normal.

Date: 2012-03-05 01:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Definitely get less-dusty litter--the clumping litter is especially hard on asthmatics. The new 'scented' stuff is MURDER. Even plain clay litter is better than a litter with chemies to make it stink less--because those chemies are irritants.

Also, try buying a few big bundles of eucalyptus branches/leaves at your local Hobby Lobby or Michaels, and put them in big pots at floor-level in areas he's most likely to sleep/lie around in (next to tables he likes to be under, etc.) . Watch him, of course, because if he decides to nibble the leaves, you should remove them. But they'll make the whole room smell fresher and the eucalyptus can be "recharged" by anointing the stems deep inside the pots with eucalyptus oil. I have a TON of eucalyptus (I bought a huge bottle wholesale), so I can send you some if you want. Eucalyptus is an old-fashioned method of treatment, but it's antibacterial/antiviral and opens breathing passages.

If you use eucalyptus in steam/boiling water as someone else directed, don't overdo it and don't have him 'over' the pot/bowl. Some asthmatics have complications with steam and essential oils.

Good luck!

Grey :)

Date: 2012-03-05 02:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I know I'm some random person (I found you through The Ferrett's journal today), but I'm a vet tech, so I thought I'd give my two cents.

The most expensive thing you're going to be dealing with is the initial visit. Even if it looks like classic feline asthma, there are a couple of other things it could be that are both much more serious and much rarer (lungworms, cancer, actual lung infection- which is not particularly common in cats. They get upper respiratory infections more than lower.) So those will have to be ruled out through a couple of different tests. Chest xray, bloodwork, mucous sampling, etc. Those tests are going to be where your wallet is going to get hurt. Depending on the vet, it might not be TOO bad, but it's not going to be cheap and easy..

The other comments here about treatments are mostly spot on. Benadryl, steroids, and bronchodilators like albuterol. The 1mg/lb dosage on Benadryl is accurate, as is the bitterness issue. And, unfortunately, given what is available OTC with it (25mg minimum in pills since they switched to liquid only for kids doses, and liquids with human-preferred flavors are going to be impossible to administer at home), it is likely to be difficult to get the correct dosage on a critter as small as a cat, so you'll probably have to get it from your vet. The steroids, such as prednisone or prednisilone, are fairly cheap- 5 to 10 bucks for a month's supply. As for the albuterol, if that's determined to be necessary, ask to get a script you can take to a human pharmacy. It's likely to be cheaper there, in the $30-50 range, unless your vet has a high volume practice with a large pharmacy. Also, if it's mild enough that he can get away with using a nebulizer periodically instead of an actual rescue inhaler, that's cheaper- around 15 bucks.

If these episodes, as indicated by the stable heart rate and good mucous membrane color, really are just mild enough to be uncomfortable and disconcerting instead of producing actual respiratory distress and an emergency, it's likely a nebulizer and predisone will do just fine. If it's asthma and not something else, of course.

And yes, I qualify everything with "if" and "likely". I am a tech, not a vet, and cannot legally say anything that even SOUNDS like I'm endorsing a diagnosis that has not already been made by a DVM.

Date: 2012-03-05 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Off topic comment, but Jacqueline Carey just linked to your ginger sluts on her facebook. I went checking my feed and was all, hey! I know that recipe!

Date: 2012-03-05 10:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was just about to post the same thing! :-D

Date: 2012-03-05 07:08 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
My cat was diagnosed with asthma a little over a year ago, though she had been having attacks all her life, we just didn't realize what they were. We have her on a very low dose of prednisolone (cats apparently metabolize predniSOLONE better than predniSONE), which, as others have said, is very cheap. We give it to her in a Pill Pocket, and she eats it up, no problem. Higher doses of Pred do have some risks if given over the long term (weight gain, diabetes, masking other health issues), but as others have noted, it is pretty cheap.

We also have Flovent (fluticasone) and Albuterol inhalers for her. She gets the Flovent twice a day. The Albuterol is only for if she has an attack. We use an Aerocat, which is a chamber that fits onto the inhaler, and a mask designed specifically for cats. We took it in very slow steps over a few weeks introducing her to the aerocat, with a favorite treat every time she was exposed to it-- sniff the mask; sniff mask and chamber; touch mask to face for just a moment; hold mask for just a second; hold mask for a few seconds; discharge inhaler nearby; discharge in chamber, let dissapate some, hold mask to face for a second;… etc. Gradually got up to the point where we can put the mask on her face, discharge the inhaler, and hold it there for 10 breaths, and by this point she tolerates it with no problem at all. I sometimes wonder if she's figured out that it makes her feel better.

Also-- buy the inhalers from Canada. I use CanadaDrugsOnline dot com. Last shipment I got 3 inhalers for $87. It takes a couple weeks for them to arrive, but worth the wait. We get the generics, and they do change sources over time. When it changed the smell was different, and that seemed to bother her a bit, but again, she got used to it.

I hope you get your little scamp sorted out-- it's so heartbreaking when they are sick!

Date: 2012-03-06 06:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If it is asthma, and not activity induced, it must be environmentally induced. Most likely this is from allergies, so try giving him benedryl at night, 1-2 mg per pound of cat. You might also try giving him some petromalt in case it is just a difficult hairball.

Date: 2012-03-06 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You do need to treat it, preferably ASAP.

We had a cat with asthma, and both our vet and us missed that for a couple of years (I did talk about the symptoms during his check-ups, but since he was long-haired we agreed it sounded more like hairballs)... and then the poor lad got bronchitis on top of it, and anything that helped one aggravated the other, and he died of it.

Apart from the coughing- which did look like hairball, though was activity-induced- he was really healthy till he got the bronchitis; though apparently the asthma weakened his lungs and made him more vulnerable.

If the vet suggests steroids- at least think about it. My Floof-princess didn't have asthma, but she had a Mystery Ailment that meant every few months she'd get feverish and anorexic and stiff in her joints. We never did figure out WTF it was, but a steroid shot helped... and after about a year and a half of these (roughly every 4-5 months), she didn't need them anymore, and lived for another 10 years in excellent health (till she got vaccine-related cancer).

Date: 2012-03-09 12:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Asthmatic cats and asthmatic people often need much the same care.

Nothing scented - if you can, switch even your detergent and fabric softener to no perfume. (Perfume free/fragrance free and unscented are NOT the same thing - read the ingredient lists). Sadly, that should include your perfume-wearing. Avoid aerosols and sprays for ANYTHING - if you need to use a cleaner in a spraybottle, put a cloth right in front of it and spray into the cloth. Moist air is better for most asthmatics, so a humidifier should help. If you can clean or replace the air filters for your heating, DO. Run anything fluffy through the washer if possible and dryer, as it can help with killing dustmites, which can make allergies worse. (Fluffy includes cat beds, blankets, duvets/comforters, and pillows)

Date: 2012-03-20 04:15 am (UTC)
xevokitty: (Default)
From: [personal profile] xevokitty
I had a wheezy cat for a few years - she was my late grandmother's - and I did get her checked out, the vet couldn't find anything that could really account for the wheezing.

I changed her food from the El Cheapo Sh** that my grandmother had been getting to the expensive stuff (Innova Evo) that all my cats get, and she got lots of sun from the windows, and the wheezing and coughing nearly vanished.

Finally getting to compare xrays 2-3 years apart, I suspect she may have had lung cancer. :( But at least she didn't die from that - lung failure is a horrible thing - her kidneys gave up the ghost instead a couple years ago.

I don't clean with most household cleanrs - I use a vinegar/water mix most of the time, bleach for a few stubborn things. Lysol only in the toilets, and Windex only on glass. Vinegar/water most everywhere else. (roughly a 50/50 mix if you're interested, of white vinegar and water.)

I do use a clay clumpy litter partly for cost, and partly because I found a brand that's relatively dust free - Tidy Cat with the crystal mix - I don't like using corn-based litter because IMO they don't need to *breath* carby dust any more than they need to eat carby food. (Yes, I'm that picky..)

I wouldn't mind using a ceder based (but it doesn't clump) or a newspaper based (but it's already lumpy, and they hate walking on lumpy things) but I really haven't seen any good options in the local stores yet.

Sorry to dump, but I hope something I wrote is helpful.


naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)

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