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Well, I just brought Assumpta home from the vet. After eliminating a large hairball, she was still hacking unproductively (I was worried it was coughing instead) and shedding furiously, so off to the vet we went.

The vet thinks she may have possibly contracted bordetella from the shelter dog we adopted at the start of the month (Scamp was vaccinated at the shelter, but if he was already infected, it wouldn't have helped anyhow). Scamp hasn't shown any signs of it himself, but the vet felt that if the cat was stressed out, and he was carrying it, it's possible her immune system could have been supressed enough to get infected (and thinking about it, she did have a day or so of watery eyes and nose, like a brief little herpesvirus episode, shortly after the dog arrived that cleared up quite quickly, so she may have been a bit low). She prescribed antibiotics for a week to see if that helps to clear up the cough (it's usually about twice a day that she hacks, once in the morning after breakfast and once around 3AM). Her lungs sounded clear, no congestion or funny noises

If that doesn't work, she said that we should start thinking about the possibility of asthma, but she wanted to first rule out any bacterial infections via antibiotics.

After that, I made a run over to the shelter and asked if they'd had any recent instances of kennel cough, and they said that they'd had a few scattered outbreaks, and that even though they vaccinated all their dogs against it, it's not entirely impossible that it could happen.

Anyone have any experience with either bordetella or asthma in cats? Now, on top of being concerned that the cat's bullying the dog, I'm concerned that the stress of him living here could have triggered something like asthma (boy do *I* feel like a heel!)...if having the dog here is going to make the cat sick, then the dog's going to need to be rehomed (I told them this at the shelter, and they know that I already have someone that they approve of who's ready to take him if need be...good thing, because they're full to capacity on cats and dogs and can't take in any more). I'm going to try to give the course of antibiotics and see what happens from there, but just want to know a bit of what to expect if I *do* end up needing to deal with asthma.
 

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I know many people who have cats with asthma, and the cats are doing just fine. The cats had to go through some testing to eliminate the possibility of leukemia, FIV, lungworms, and heartworms and most had to have x-rays and a full blood workup, but in the end, the owners knew what they were and weren't dealing with.

Some of the cats receive long-lasting steroid injections periodically, while the others get a pill twice daily. These treatments help to dilate the bronchi and bronchiole tubes in the lungs which make breathing easier for the kitty. Feline asthma is manageable, and if there is an underlying problem, like an infection, causing the breathing trouble and that problem is treated effectively, then the symptoms may go away completely. You and your doctor will know what method will work the best for your kitty.

Many things can cause breathing problems, so it may be just a coincidence with the dog's arrival. Pollen, mold, dust from cat litter, cigarette smoke, perfume, hair care products, carpet fresheners, scented detergents, air fresheners, viruses, bacteria, heartworms, lungworms, and anything else that could irritate the throat or lungs can trigger asthma symptoms including coughing, wheezing, sneezing, and/or vomiting.

So, if it is asthma, don't worry because you are not alone and there are treatments out there that are easy and inexpensive. Just check with your vet and I'm sure you will be able to find something that works for you and your little girl. Good luck.
 
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