Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi (the air passages to the lungs). The bronchi can become inflamed due to a number of reasons including respiratory infection, allergens or irritants.
Bronchitis can be seen in two different forms. Acute bronchitis is generally caused by a viral infection, it comes on quickly and is usually short lived if treated properly. Cats with acute bronchitis will have an irritating, dry, painful cough that is persistent and will produce a yellow/green sputum. Cats may also have a low to medium grade fever. Chronic bronchitis will usually be seen after repeated attacks of acute bronchitis. The symptoms are similar to that of acute bronchitis but this type will last much longer. It is aggravated by smoking and by harmful environmental conditions, such as air polluted by chemicals, smoke, and dust.
Due to the stress on the respiratory system that chronic bronchitis produces, the bronchial walls may become thicker. This will render the cat more susceptible to other infections and can lead to asthma, emphysema or pneumonia.
Symptoms to look for:
- Yellow/Green sputum
- Loss of appetite
If you suspect any respiratory infection or bronchitis take your cat to the vet immediately. Your cat will most likely need to be kept in a warm, humid room, with frequent steam inhalations from a vaporizer. This will assist in softening the infected mucus in the bronchi. Your vet might also prescribe some type of expectorant. This will help the cat get rid of the mucus and fluid in the bronchi. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to ward off any current or potential infections. After an attack of acute bronchitis you will need to watch for any further colds or respiratory infections or any change in sputum.
Keep your cat inside and warm, especially in winter months. Try to keep dust, pollens, allergens and smoke to a minimum in the home. And if you suspect any sort of respiratory infection take your cat to the vet immediately for diagnosis and treatment.