Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
From what you describe, I would be concerned too. Have you tried keeping a written record of these attacks: writing down things like when and where the attack occured, what your cat was doing prior to and during the attack, had he recently eaten, etc? It might help you to isolate a cause.
Do you know your cat's entire medical history? I have a cat who had breathing issues related to being hit by a car sometime prior to us adopting him, though externally he seemed in good health. It also took a surprising amount of time to get a diagnosis, considering the severity of the problem (his internal organs had migrated up into his chest cavity, preventing his lungs from expanding). It was initially thought that he might have a respiratory infection, like pneumonia, and a number of different imaging procedures had to be performed before the actual cause was found. He required surgery to fix the problem.
This same cat still has laboured breathing sometimes, especially when he plays, though this is partly related to his severe allergies--which would be a far more likely cause of respiratory issues in a cat than an undiagnosed internal injury. Galileo is allergic to a lot of things, but he's extremely allergic to Dust Mites and Storage Mites. Whether or not your cat has allergies, eliminating as many environmental allergens as possible, such as dust, mold and mildew, litter box dust, and cigarette smoke, is really important for asthmatic cats.
For his allergies, Galileo gets Cerenia every day and has also had a number of courses of prednisolone to help control his flare ups. He's been on these and a slew of other medications for years, and he's never had breathing issues during or immediately after being pilled. Is it possible that some of the coughing and wheezing during the pilling process is done in an effort to expell the pill or throw the pill up after it has been swallowed and that this is triggering his asthma?
I would keep trying to impress the severity of the situation on your vet. Maybe ask if there are any definitive tests to determine if asthma is the cause? If you don't think your vet is taking the situation seriously enough, or is maybe just a little inexperienced with your particular situation, you could always ask to be referred to a specialist, as a specialist may have more experience with similar cases. Our regular vet referred Galileo to an allergist, which was helpful in determining what his allergies were, his sensitivity to each allergin, treatment options (including treatments not readily available through our regular vet), and specific dosages.