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Feline Chronic Bronchitis: Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment and Management

Chronic Bronchitis in Cats: Symptoms,

Diagnosis, and


As a cat owner, you may be aware of the most common feline respiratory disease, feline upper respiratory infection (URI). But have you heard of chronic bronchitis in cats?

Its a lesser-known disease that affects a significant number of cats worldwide. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic bronchitis in cats, to help cat owners recognize and manage this disease.

Symptoms and Types

Chronic bronchitis is a progressive disease that affects the lower respiratory tract. The condition is characterized by a persistent, dry cough that lasts for several weeks or months.

The cough may be accompanied by abnormal lung sounds, such as wheezing or crackles. These sounds are due to the narrowed airways that prevent air from flowing freely.

Another symptom that may occur in severe cases is cyanosis. This means that the cats mucous membranes, such as the gums and tongue, may turn blue or grayish-blue.

It indicates that there is a lack of oxygen in the blood due to the narrowing of the airways. In extreme cases, syncope, or fainting, may occur.

This is a result of the cats inability to get enough oxygen into the body.


Chronic bronchitis is caused by chronic airway inflammation. The inflammation causes the airways to become thickened and narrowed, which leads to the characteristic symptoms of coughing and wheezing.

The inflammation can have various causes, including viral infections, bacterial infections, and allergies. Exposure to environmental irritants, such as cigarette smoke or dust, can also cause chronic bronchitis in cats.


If you notice that your cat has a persistent cough, its essential to take them to the veterinarian for a thorough examination. The veterinarian will perform a history and physical examination to assess the cats respiratory system and overall health status.

To aid in the diagnosis, various diagnostic tests will need to be performed. These tests include a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, complete blood count, blood gases, X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ECG, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sample.

The biochemistry profile and complete blood count provide information about the kidney function, liver function, and blood cells count. The blood gases test measures the concentration of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, which helps assess how well oxygen is being delivered to the body.

The X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs provide images of the cats respiratory system, which aids in identifying abnormalities. An ECG assesses the hearts function, and the CSF sample provides information on whether there is an underlying neurological disease.

The results of these tests can aid in the diagnosis of chronic bronchitis in cats.


Once chronic bronchitis has been diagnosed in a cat, treatment will depend on the severity of the disease.

Treatment options include lifestyle changes, medications, and, in severe cases, oxygen therapy.

Lifestyle changes should be implemented to minimize environmental irritants and pollutants. This may include using air filters, avoiding smoking, reducing exposure to dust and other allergens, and ensuring good ventilation in the cats environment.

Medications are prescribed to manage the inflammation and alleviate the symptoms of the disease. The most common medications are bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and antibiotics.

Bronchodilators work to widen the airways, corticosteroids reduce inflammation, and antibiotics treat any underlying bacterial infection. In severe cases where oxygen levels have dropped significantly, oxygen therapy may be required to support the cats breathing.


Chronic bronchitis is a progressive respiratory disease that can affect any cat. Its essential to recognize the symptoms of the disease and take immediate action.

If your cat has a persistent cough, take them to the veterinarian for a thorough examination and diagnosis. Monitor your cats environment and minimize exposure to environmental irritants and pollutants.

With proper treatment and management, cats with chronic bronchitis can live a long and happy life. Chronic bronchitis is a significant health concern that affects cats of all ages, breeds, and genders.

In our previous discussion, we highlighted the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of this disease. However, its essential to delve deeper into the treatment options available and the living and management strategies that cat owners should adopt to ensure their feline friends achieve optimum health and wellbeing.

Medication and Oxygen Therapy

The primary objective of treatment is to manage the inflammation of the airways, reduce the severity of symptoms, and prevent the disease from worsening. The most commonly used medications in the treatment of chronic bronchitis in cats include bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and antibiotics.

Bronchodilators work by relaxing the muscles surrounding the airways, thereby allowing air to flow more freely into and out of the lungs. These medications are available in different forms, including inhalers and nebulizers.

A veterinarian can recommend the best bronchodilator based on the cat’s health status and the severity of their condition. Corticosteroids are potent anti-inflammatory drugs that relieve swelling and inflammation of the airways.

These medications can be administered orally, topically, or through inhalation. They have potent immunosuppressive properties, which can lead to various side effects, such as increased thirst and hunger, weight gain, and depressed immune function.

Antibiotics are prescribed in cases where there is an underlying bacterial infection. These medications work by killing or inhibiting the growth of bacteria, thus reducing inflammation and the severity of symptoms.

Antibiotics should only be administered if there is a confirmed bacterial infection, as misuse can lead to antibiotic resistance. In severe cases, oxygen therapy may be required to support the cat’s breathing.

Oxygen therapy can be administrated through a mask or a nasal cannula. This type of treatment is used when the cat has low oxygen levels or when the breathing is labored, and it helps to provide relief from coughing and breathlessness.

Living and Management

In addition to administering medication, cat owners also play a crucial role in managing and maintaining their cats’ health and wellbeing. Here are a few living and management strategies that cat owners should adopt:

Weight Control: Overweight or obese cats are at an increased risk of developing chronic bronchitis.

Therefore, cat owners should ensure that their feline friends maintain a healthy weight through a well-balanced diet and regular exercise. Avoid feeding the cat with high-calorie treats and table scraps.

Balanced Diet: A well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet is essential for cats to maintain optimal health and wellbeing. Its recommended to feed cats with high-quality, protein-rich food that contains all essential amino acids and nutrients.

Exercise: Regular exercise is crucial for cats to maintain their physical and mental health. Encourage your cat to engage in light exercises, such as playing with toys, climbing on furniture, or chasing strings.

Compliance with Medication: Ensure that your cat takes their medication as prescribed by the veterinarian. Administer medication exactly as directed and follow up with regular veterinary check-ups.

Warning Signs

Its essential to recognize the warning signs of chronic bronchitis in cats, as early intervention can help prevent the disease from worsening. One of the most common warning signs is excessive coughing.

In severe cases, cats may experience spontaneous loss of consciousness, also known as syncope. If you notice any of these warning signs, seek veterinary attention immediately.


Chronic bronchitis in cats is a serious respiratory disease that can affect the quality of life of your feline friend. However, with early diagnosis and proper treatment, cats can live long and healthy lives.

As a cat owner, it’s essential to ensure that your cat maintains a healthy weight, eats a balanced diet, exercises regularly, and complies with medication. By adopting these living and management strategies, you can help your cat maintain optimal health and wellbeing.

Moreover, recognizing the warning signs of chronic bronchitis and seeking veterinary attention promptly can help prevent the disease from worsening, improving the chances of a full recovery. Chronic bronchitis is a progressive respiratory disease that affects many cats worldwide.

The disease is characterized by persistent, dry cough that may be accompanied by abnormal lung sounds, cyanosis, or syncope. Chronic airway inflammation is the primary cause of chronic bronchitis in cats, and the disease can be managed through lifestyle modifications and medications such as bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and antibiotics.

Cat owners can also help their feline friends by ensuring they maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and comply with medication. Recognizing the warning signs of chronic bronchitis is essential in seeking prompt veterinary attention, thereby improving the chances of recovery.

As cat owners, it is crucial to stay vigilant and proactive in keeping our furry companions healthy and happy.

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