Harvey’s Story – Feline Asthma

Harvey’s Story – Feline Asthma

I often try to write entertaining posts about the realities of daily life with three cats but today I thought I’d share another side of life with the boys and Harvey in particular. Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty more posts about their horrendous activities – they give me more than enough material, although sometimes I really wish they didn’t!

Harvey has a condition called Feline Asthma. Much like with Human Asthma, attacks can be brought on by stress, allergens, dust, mildew and heat, among other things. I’ve had to make a number of changes to the way I live day to day in order to reduce the risk of asthma attacks – these changes include banning air fresheners/scented candles from the house, using only dust free litters, limiting the use of aerosols, perfumes and strong detergents and running a HEPA air filter regularly to keep the air fresh.

With the recent spell of hot weather, Harvey has been more susceptible to asthma attacks but he’s treated with an inhaler daily to reduce lung inflammation and keep his attacks to a minimum.
Harvey has his inhaler every morning and funnily enough it’s one of his favourite parts of the day. He seems to be aware that the inhaler makes him feel better and I think he also enjoys the one-on-one fuss.

Prior to his diagnosis in 2014 he was incredibly unwell and was initially misdiagnosed with a life limiting heart condition and heart failure. As a result, treatment for his asthma was delayed and his condition worsened and I very nearly lost him.
After a rough few months and several touch and go emergency vet trips, he was hospitalised at the Edinburgh Royal Dick Vet Hospital and spent a week there undergoing a vast number of tests before he was finally diagnosed with Asthma. Thankfully, although this condition can be very serious, it’s not necessarily life limiting if treated properly. I was very relieved to learn that, although he does have a mild heart condition that may cause him problems as he gets older, he is not in heart failure and should hopefully live a normal life with the right care.

He’s since made a full recovery and is back to creating mayhem and wounding with intent. His personality is different since 2014 though – he seems to be aware of how poorly he was and is much more attached to me than he was before, although he’s still more than happy to rip me a new one if I get on his wrong side.
His inhaler is administered using a spacer with a little mask attached and he has regular vet visits to monitor his condition. He’s due one next week, so expect a horrific post from me as he’s understandably rather uncooperative…

Unfortunately, Bailey has recently started exhibiting symptoms of Feline Asthma too. The odds of this seemed incredibly low and I thought I was being paranoid but the vet has since confirmed that he is showing symptoms, so it looks like I now have two special Asthma kitties. Bailey’s condition has been mild enough that, until now, he’s coped well with very little treatment, but it looks like I’ll soon need to train him to use an inhaler too. I’m hoping he’ll take his cue from Harvey but I’m anticipating some carnage as he’s a very different character.

I’m hoping our experiences will help to raise some awareness around this condition as, although it’s one of the most common respiratory illness diagnosed in cats, it’s relatively unknown among many cat owners. Had I been more aware of it as a condition, Harvey may have been diagnosed much earlier in his life and may never have become so unwell.

I’ll post some updates about Bailey’s Asthma journey as he starts to learn how to use the inhaler and I’ll be posting more information on Feline Asthma and Harvey’s story too in the coming weeks and months.
In the meantime, here’s a video of Harvey enjoying his morning inhaler 🙂


9 Replies to “Harvey’s Story – Feline Asthma”

  1. I have feline asthma too. Luckily it was diagnosed on the first vet visit. Up until this year, we’ve had to keep all the windows closed cos open windows would cause an asthma attack. We, too, don’t use scented litters, toxic cleaning products, etc. Our humidifier helps a lot.

    1. Aw I’m glad you had it diagnosed quickly and find the humidifier helps, asthma attacks are awful. I hope things are better now with the diagnosis and the lifestyle changes. It’s a very tricky condition as it’s so hard to work out the triggers!
      I’ll be writing more about Harvey’s treatment and care soon in the hope that someone out there may find some of the information useful 🙂

  2. My Mudpie was diagnosed with asthma just a few months after I adopted her. Since she didn’t have it before unfortunately it’s something in my home that brought it on, we just haven’t figured out a pattern yet. Thankfully it’s very mild *knock on wood* and right now she’s just taking homeopathic drops. At her last vet visit the vet couldn’t even hear any crackling in her lungs so that was quite a relief!

    1. That’s really good news from the vet 🙂 Hopefully Mudpie’s symptoms stay fairly mild like Bailey’s have. It’s so hard to work out the triggers – I’m sure something in my home or garden is responsible for my boys flaring up too but it’s very difficult to figure out the pattern as you say.
      All the best of luck with Mudpie, is there anywhere I can follow you to see how she’s doing? 🙂

      1. Never mind, I just clicked straight through to your blog haha, dumb moment. I’m following you and Mudpie on Facebook 🙂 Your blog is great! 🙂

    1. Thank you Ellen 🙂 I’ll keep updating the blog with his progress; his inhaler just arrived so I’m really hopeful it’ll make a difference to his lungs 🙂

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