If your cat has asthma, incorporating holistic care into his treatment protocol can help reduce triggers, minimize symptoms and even avoid future attacks. These holistic treatments may include altering your cat's diet, removing chemicals from the home, keeping the air clean and using supplements to boost his immunity.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is an inflammatory condition of the lungs. It causes the immune system to overreact to the presence of environmental substances that a cat inhales. This intense immune response causes the lungs' airways to constrict and thicken, resulting in wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. In milder cases, a cat may have a slight cough, while severe cases can be life-threatening. Other symptoms include persistent cough, spitting up mucus, open-mouth breathing and general weakness and fatigue.
Asthma affects about 1 percent of cats. It usually develops when a cat is between ages 2 and 8, and the condition is more likely to affect female cats. Siamese and Himalayan cats are also slightly more prone to asthma. Environmental triggers like pollen, mold, dust, cigarette smoke and certain foods, along with perfumes, carpet shampoos and other household chemicals, can spur attacks. Other contributing factors may include parasites, stress, obesity, heart disease, heartworm, tumors and pneumonia.
Nutritional Holistic Care
Holistic veterinarian Gloria Dodd recommends a halt in exposure to toxins. The first step, she says, is to start your cat on fresh, homemade foods to detoxify his body. She also recommends herbal, homeopathic and nutritional treatments including organ-based remedies to help support healing, vitamins C and beta-carotene, zinc and bovine colostrum powder to help balance the immune system and prevent infection. She stresses that ethoxyquin, a chemical in many pet foods, should be eliminated immediately.
Environmental Holistic Care
Purifying the environment is another aspect of holistic care. Remove as many chemicals as possible, and this includes scented, dusty cat litter that may contain aluminum and even mercury. Consider using newspaper instead. Dry air can exacerbate asthma; using a humidifier and air filter keeps the air moist and clean. Alongside holistic treatments, have your vet check for associated diseases, and if you suspect your cat has asthma, visiting your vet can avoid a life-threatening situation.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.