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Discussion Starter #1
I took my Mal in to the vet today because she's been moving a bit slower this past week, and a few times her breathing has seemed quick, even when she's resting. The vet thinks it could be asthma. He gave her a steroid shot and we'll see how that goes over the next few days.

In terms of treatment, he mentioned an inhaler, orals, or ear cream. The inhaler sounds like the best option, but it is just not within my monthly budget - I would rather my pet allotment go towards getting the best quality food. (Food - is it safe to feed cats with asthma raw food? She's been really picky as of late, but she absolutely wolfs down raw food). I am hoping that this will be a seasonal type of allergy, and that as soon as the really hot months go away, she might get better. The long term side effects of steroids are making me very nervous. I don't want her to suffer from diabetes, or anything else.

Any advice? Experience? Words of wisdom?
 

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My old Shadow was asthmatic (it was the reason the vet advised us not to ave im neutered). The severity varied and I think probably was affected by allergens. He never had an inhaler (although an old horse of mine did and used to freak when she had to have it!!). He lived to a good age despite his problem. He had a very good appetite. He loved raw food and it never seemed to do him any harm.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
She's about a year and a half. Vet diagnosed her by listening to her breathing and through my description of what's been going on. He figured asthma could be a possibility but not definitive, so we're going to see if there's a change with the steroids.

I feel stressed and confused. I've noticed she *has* been breathing more quickly as of late, even when at rest, and that really worries me. I also don't want her to get hooked on some weird medication for something that might pass once the weather cools down a bit. It seems to come and go - one night she'll be game for playing, but then one night she'll just look at the toys and kind of perk up, but not be interested in moving.
 

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I am not a fan of steroids for MANY reasons. They suppress the immune system to a severe degree when given for more than a few weeks, can cause other diseases,as you mentioned, and can even lead to 'steroid psychosis.'

I think that I would be making an appt to see a referral vet--a specialist--with a cat that young. There are many possible causes other than asthma, and either way, you need to know for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Okay. My vet seemed pretty set on waiting a few days to see if the steroid shot had any affect before proceeding further, and I'm guessing a referral would come up at that point.

I'm hoping it's mainly a reaction to the crushing heat and humidity we've been having and she just needs a little help through it. There's a holistic vet not too far from me; I might see about getting an appointment there.
 

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There are MANY things that could be wrong that a steroid shot would appear to "fix." Keep in mind that all it does is reduce inflammation--get rid of the symptoms. So if it's an allergy, it will "work" just as well as if it's asthma.

I would not recommend a "holistic" vet. I would get an accurate diagnosis from a board certified internist-when you have THAT you can figure out what to actually do about it. :)
 

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What i would do is go on youtube , type in cat having an asthma attack, I have a cat with asthma, when they gave him a shot he would be OK for 3 months, than he would need another shot we did that for a few years until we learned how to give the inhaler to him, he has not needed to have a shot for a year now.
 

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What breed is your cat? Flat-faced breeds often have breathing problems, and certain other breeds have a predisposition to cardiac issues (lethargy and rapid breathing can be symptomatic of heart problems).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
She's a domestic long hair - I suspect there might be some Maine **** in the mix, but no way to confirm. We're a day out from the steroid shot now, and I'm not see a difference in the high respiratory rate. She's never had any severe coughing attacks or wheezing, so there's nothing to judge there. Her respiratory rate just continues to look like it's on the high side.

At least I can probably use this to get more testing and a specialist referral, instead of merrily jacking her up on steroids for no reason? :/
 

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You don't need an excuse LOL--just tell the vet you want a referral. :) If there is a vet school nearby they are usually less expensive than private referral practices. I drive 4+ hours to the one "near" me but it's worth it--not only is it less expensive but there are MANY vets there instead of just a few, so I feel I'm really getting my money's worth!
 

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Maine ***** are genetically predisposed to developing hypertropic cardiomyopathy, which can occur in young cats. Since there is a possibility that your cat may be part MC, and given her symptoms, I would follow hoofmaiden's advice and get her to a university vet school where her heart function can be properly evaluated, along with any other testing the vets at the school may deem appropriate.

Laurie
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I took Mal to a different vet for a second opinion today. She took some x-rays, and the good news is that her heart doesn't seem to be an issue - it's on larger side of normal, but the vet said it's nothing extreme, and everything sounded good. It does look like there's some minor inflammation of the lungs, though, so it might indeed be asthma.

Everything I've read says that the inhaler is the best treatment, but the cost *does* worry me. Has anyone used one? How much do you spend each month?
 

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When we first started our cat (Sparky) we had to buy a mask from the vet, around 100 dollars( if this is what you are going to do, Let me know, I will type out how to train your cat to get him use to the mask) (takes about 2 months) we buy our inhalers from Canada http://www.affordabledrugs.com/drug-Flo ... haler.html all you need is a scrip from your vet and call these people and fax them the scrip. It is a lot cheaper than buying here in the US. We use Generic Fluticasone Inhaler 110mcg (125mcg) if you go to the site you will see the cost.
 

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I'm a little confused. The inhalers are steroids too, so don't they come with the same risks of immunosuppression?

Good luck, Allyer, and let us know how it turns out. Hopefully it's a seasonal or one-time thing. :)

(As an aside, I had an incredibly bad experience with Fluticasone/Advair myself and wouldn't give it to my cat, but ymmv, since my problems may have been caused by the salmeterol)
 

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So sorry to hear that your cat is having a hard time. I have been working through similar issues with my cat and I know how stressful this can be.

From what I can tell, asthma is very difficult to diagnose and it could be a lot of other things including food allergies. You mentioned that your cat eats raw food...is she on an exclusively raw food diet? One of my cats has had a lot of issues, including very bad breathing problems which we think could be asthma. However, she also has skin and digestive issues and I am hoping that all of these problems will be solved by getting her diet under control. I've moved her to an exclusive raw diet in the past weeks and her "asthma attacks" have completely stopped (she used to have at least one a day).

If it is seasonal allergies or dust mites causing the problem, an air purifier and cleaning carpet and cat furniture once a week using a steam cleaner might help. Because there are so many possibilities you might want to rule other things out before putting her on steroids. The antihistamine chlorpheniramine maleate is also known to be helpful for minor breathing issues.

I hope you can get to the bottom of what is going on. Good luck and keep us posted with your progress!
 

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Jacq, based on what I've been told, inhalers are supposed to be a better option than steroid shots because the steroid goes straight to the lungs instead of throughout the body. This way, some of the bad side effects are greatly reduced.
 
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