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What are Bronchitis?

Cats that suffer from bronchitis will have difficulty breathing, and in severe cases, may lose consciousness from lack of oxygen. Chronic inflammation from bronchitis can also lead to additional serious respiratory conditions including infection and scar tissue buildup from constant irritation.

Bronchitis in cats is a term that refers broadly to the inflammation of the bronchial tubes in your cat’s respiratory system. Bronchitis can have many underlying causes, including allergy. Bronchitis can also be acute, one-time, or chronic (recurring).

Bronchitis Average Cost

From 322 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Bronchitis in Cats

Cats suffering from bronchitis will be unable to breathe properly and will have varying degrees of symptoms, depending on the severity of the inflammation in the bronchi. Common symptoms may include:

  • Spasms of coughing or repeated uncontrollable cough
  • Gagging or retching sounds that are sometimes confused with hairballs
  • Wheezing when breathing
  • Labored breathing
  • Panting
  • Rapid breathing (> 40 breaths per minute)
  • Breathing with mouth open
  • Exercise intolerance
  • In severe cases, total inability to breathe, which may result in loss of consciousness
  • Mild fever
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Causes of Bronchitis in Cats

The bronchi are narrow tubes that transport air from your cat’s trachea or throat into the lungs. In cats suffering from bronchitis, these passageways become inflamed, which reduces the amount of oxygen your cat is able to take in. Bronchitis is differentiated from bronchial asthma in that asthma refers to a reversible constriction of the muscles within the walls of the bronchi. While bronchitis may be asthmatic, there may also be other causes for the inflammation. These may include:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Viral infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Lung parasites (lung worm)
  • Heartworm disease
  • Allergies
  • Idiopathic or unidentified causes
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Diagnosis of Bronchitis in Cats

Diagnosis of bronchitis in your cat will begin with you providing a complete physical history of your cat’s symptoms to your veterinarian. Since bronchitis can often have symptoms that are similar to those in other serious conditions, such as heart failure or acute respiratory distress, it will be important that your veterinarian has as much information as possible to make an accurate diagnosis. You should let your vet know the approximate time the symptoms began, the types of symptoms, and whether there has been any recent changes to your cat’s daily routine or exposure to new chemicals or substances that may coincide with the onset of the bronchitis.

Your vet will next conduct a thorough physical exam of your cat. This will include examining the eyes, nose, and ears for any signs of infection such as buildup of dirty waxy material in the ears or mucus or other discharge from the eyes or nose. Your vet will also request a chest x-ray of your cat in order to determine whether there is buildup of fluid or mucus or any scar tissue. A chest x-ray may also identify the presence of heartworms or lung worms in the most severe cases. In order for an accurate x-ray image to be obtained, your cat may need to be mildly sedated to help them be still during the test.

Another potential diagnostic test is a procedure called a bronchial lavage. During this procedure, a small amount of sterile fluid is flushed into your cat’s tracheal area and then collected. This fluid is then sent out to an outside laboratory for analysis. This analysis may be able to detect cellular changes within the lungs, which will help determine the cause of the bronchitis. Bronchial lavage requires your cat to be anesthetized and may not be possible in cats that are suffering from severe breathing issues. Finally, blood and urine tests will help determine the presence of various parasitic or other infections.

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Treatment of Bronchitis in Cats

Treatment of bronchitis in your cat will depend on the underlying cause of the condition. In the case of a parasitic infection, your veterinarian will administer special medications that will kill off existing parasites. These medications will be followed by a preventative course of anti-parasite medications that should be administered on a regular schedule according to your vet’s instructions.

In the case of bacterial, fungal, or other infection, your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics to help your cat fight off the disease. Pinpointing the exact nature of the infection will be important, as different strains will be more or less susceptible to different antibiotics or antifungal drugs. 

For treatment of symptoms, your veterinarian will prescribe a course of medications designed to reduce the inflammation (corticosteroids) and open up the bronchi (bronchodilators). Both of these medications may be injected, given orally, or inhaled. If the underlying cause of the bronchitis is asthmatic, your cat’s exposure to asthma-inducing allergens should be limited or removed entirely if possible. In some cases, this may require limiting your cat’s outdoors exposure.

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Recovery of Bronchitis in Cats

In most cases, prognosis for recovery from bronchitis in your cat is good. Depending on the underlying cause of the inflammation, the condition may be permanent and your cat’s symptoms may need to be managed continuously via medications. To recover from infections or acute bronchitis your cat should be given a warm, safe and quiet place in the household where they can properly recover. With proper recuperative and supportive treatment, your cat will live a long, normal, healthy life.

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Bronchitis Average Cost

From 322 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

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Bronchitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Lily

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Siamese

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8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing

Hello! I have a Siamese she is a bit overweight, I have given her science diet her whole life and less than a cup a day so it was a bit shocking. I don’t know if this could be from her weight but she has been coughing like she’s about to cough up a hairball. This has only been going on for about 3 weeks, she did it about 1-4 times a day now it’s completely stopped and she did maybe small amount of panting like she’s trying to get out something small. Now I have not been hearing anything and I ended up taking her to the vet to get x rays and blood work. They told me she has bronchitis and I need to get her a inhaler. Can I just get her one from any pharmacy bc it is a bit pricey? And from what I am saying does her situation sound permanent? I’m going to get her on a special royal canin diet but just worried if her situation sounds worse. I don’t know if I should wait it out on the inhaler until I hear the dry coughs again. I just needed another vet opinion, I feel as if my vets are just pushing the inhaler on her and I wanted to know if it could be safe to just wait it out and maybe make sure it was not just a passing cold? Thank you for your help

Aug. 22, 2018

Lily's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Without examining Lily I cannot say whether an inhaler is suitable for her or not as I cannot confirm the diagnosis; however if you are having doubts on the diagnosis you should visit another Veterinarian for a second opinion to see whether they concur with your Veterinarian’s diagnosis. As for the inhaler, you would need a prescription if you want to purchase elsewhere and you should discuss with your Veterinarian. Also you should try to get Lily to lose a little weight. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 22, 2018

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Gino

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domestic longhair,

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Moderate severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

about 3 weeks ago our cat started to sound like he was gagging and needed to cough up something. He has always been an indoor cat from his previous owner until we adopted him last month. could he be suffering from bronchitis?

June 30, 2018

Gino's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Some causes for that behavior include hairballs, asthma, bronchitis, allergies, or heartworm disease. It would be best to have Gino seen by a veterinarian if it doesn't seem to be improving, as they can assess his heart and lungs and determine what might be going on.

June 30, 2018

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George

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tabby

dog-age-icon

4 Years

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Moderate severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing
Sick
Neck Strain
Wet Cough
New Cat

Cat has a wet sounds cough like he’s trying to get a hair all up. We got a new cat about two weeks ago who had a slight cough when we got him. Coughing kitty is sticking his neck and younger out. Asthma? Bronchitis?

May 27, 2018

George's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

There are many reasons for a cough in cats, including asthma, bronchitis, heartworms, heart disease, fungal infection, cancer and hairballs. Since I cannot examine either cat, it would be best to have them seen for this cough, as a cough is never something to 'wait and see' about. I hope that they are both okay.

May 27, 2018

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Pretty Girl

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Longhair

dog-age-icon

4 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Our cat is a four year old rescue cat kept indoors, no contact at all with outside except for a visit to our vet. It was after a visit to the vet a few months ago that she suddenly started coughing, the vet said that she had bronchitis, She has Prednidale 5mg every other day, half in the morning and the other half in the evening. When we first had her we took her for a check up and she then went down with cat flu.We have had cats for 50+ years. She has had an Xray and fluid sample taken for identification under anaethetic. Your advice please.

April 14, 2018

Pretty Girl's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Without examining Pretty Girl it is difficult for be to determine severity and the specific cause, the sample taken for culture and sensitivity would determine if there is a serious infectious component but if the cause is due to inflammation or irritation other treatment may be needed. You need to see what comes back from the last test and then discuss options with your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 15, 2018

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Mika

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Mix

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Other

Hi My cat has been suffering with Bronchitis for the past 5 years, recently the medication isn't working and she's been hiding a lot. She's 9 years old and I wonder if she's suffering and if I should sadly put her down?

March 3, 2018

Mika's Owner


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0 Recommendations

A decision to put Mika to sleep is a decision you need to make, without examining her and reviewing treatment I cannot determine anything for you; any treatment given needs to be based on the findings of a physical examination by your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 3, 2018

find the Chi institute and call for a trained vet in your area. They are an institute for Chinese medicine and acupuncture. I was a vet nurse and they will be able to give you a prognosis for your cat and how much she will benefit. Good Luck - not an easy situation.

May 24, 2018

Isabella Osborne U.


I would contact the Chi institute of Chinese Medicine for veterinary surgeons - they should have a vet in your area who has trained with them. Acapuncture can be very effective in this kind of condition. They will be able to give you a prognosis of how much the cat should benefit. Good luck.

May 24, 2018

Isabella Osborne U.


Bronchitis is treatable in cats and just shocked at someone owners would even consider putting an an animal to sleep for this reason is just ludicrous.

May 22, 2018

Javid A.


I would never put a cat down for that reason as we would not do that to a human please use some common sense (owner).

May 22, 2018

Javid A.


Look up Lung Gold for cats!!

April 6, 2018

Kelly M.

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Bellatrixy

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Siamese/Calico long haired

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4 Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Listless
Weezing
Not Eating/Drinking
Nose Stuffy
Scary Cough

From what I’ve seen the help on this page is futile. Everything dated a year or less has had no response & most people come here need help...I’m going to take my cat Bellatrixy to the vet again today but I’m thinking it’s glum. I am having to syringe feed her, as she hasn’t eaten in a week. She got in a tussle w/a squirrel about 3 weeks ago & right as she appears to be getting better from that...she just stopped improving & was diagnosed w/bronchitis Friday & I have given her her meds every day twice a day since & no real improvement.

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cookie

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bicolor

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1 Month

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Drooling Shaking

today my kitten was shaking and drooling! we took him to the vet and they told us he is suffering from bronchitis! he put him 3 injections and told us to wait 48 hours! he looks super okay now! will he be okay?

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Breeze

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tabby

dog-age-icon

15 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

My cat (Breeze) has been coughing for a few months now without any luck of a diagnosis. Tonight I heard him coughing but just knew something wasn’t right.. when I saw him he was unresponsive and not breathing.. his eyes had rolled & I thought he was gone :( My dad made sure his airways were clear and blew lightly into his nose and he started to breathe!! He’s now at the vets in an oxygen tent... previously we were advised he had a thyroid problem going through 6 pouches a day yet loosing weight to days he’d eat nothing at all...soon after this the cough started so we took him back in which we were advised he should be treated for lung worm he took the tablet and tbh I don’t think it even worked as he’s been in the house. At the vets this evening they’ve told me he has a heart murmur and possibly something wrong with his bronc / lungs and also inflamed intestines... If you could see my cat you wouldn’t ever know he was 15’11 months old - he is immaculate abs beautiful and purs always you’d never even know he was unwell❤️

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Coco

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Street cat

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Not Eating
Rapid Breathing
Blocked Nose

I think my cat has bronchitis. The vet said that her nose is blocked and shes having breathing problems too. she started drinking and eating a lil bit on her own. Now she does none. We try to feed her with a syringe. Id like to know if i need to bring her to the vet again. she seems ok physically as compared to the first few days. its just that she does not eat at all. will it pass ? or is this becoming more serious ?

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Shmooshy

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American short hair tabby

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Wheezing

I woke up this morning and noticed that my shmooshy girl was wheezing and breathing loud( gurgly) But, it doesn’t seem to happen when she is sitting still. Mostly when she is licking her body, which she has always done loudly.

Bronchitis Average Cost

From 322 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

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