Laryngitis in Cats

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Laryngitis in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Laryngitis in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What are Laryngitis?

When veterinarians explain laryngitis to pet parents, they tell them that the cat’s larynx or voice box has become inflamed as the result of illness, irritation, a blockage in the throat, or a sudden paralysis of the nerve controlling the laryngeal folds.

Laryngitis in cats may be one sign of several illnesses such as calicivirus or infectious rhinotracheitis. When a cat develops laryngitis, it may lose its meow for a few days. Pet parents may notice other signs, such as a cough, bad breath, or discharge coming from the cat’s eyes and nose. Even though the cat may try to hide signs of illness, it won’t be possible for very long. The cough can become painful. The pet parent may notice the loss of voice almost immediately, especially if the cat is normally communicative. 

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Laryngitis Average Cost

From 325 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Laryngitis in Cats

Symptoms of laryngitis in a cat may make themselves evident fairly quickly, especially if the cat has developed an upper respiratory infection (URI). These symptoms may include:

If the laryngitis is the result of a URI, the pet parent may also notice:

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Causes of Laryngitis in Cats

The causes of laryngitis in cats can range widely from a simple URI or irritant all the way up to an obstruction in the larynx or even a growth that affects the movements of the vocal cords. This condition is vague enough that it can be difficult for vets to determine the exact cause of the cat’s lost voice:

  • URI (upper respiratory infection, calicivirus or infectious rhinotracheitis)
  • Inhaled irritant, such as smoke or dust
  • Obstruction in the larynx
  • Object lodged in the throat
  • Paralysis of laryngeal nerve
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Growth in the throat (benign, cancerous, or eosinophilic granuloma complex)
  • Throat cancer

Sometimes, cats lose their meows for unknown reasons. Here, pet parents need to watch their cats for other, more troubling symptoms. If the underlying cause is mild, the cat should have its voice back within a few days.

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Diagnosis of Laryngitis in Cats

When a cat comes into the vetcare office with laryngitis, the veterinarian performs a head-to-tail physical on the cat. A significant part of the exam might include an endoscopic examination of the larynx, which means the cat will need to be anesthetized. X-rays may also be performed to try and determine if a mass or growth is causing the problem.  

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Treatment of Laryngitis in Cats

Once the vet has diagnosed laryngitis, as well as its cause, they will begin treating the cat’s signs. For a buildup of fluid in the larynx, the cat will take a diuretic medication. This can also help with any fluid buildup in the lungs, if this has contributed to the cat’s laryngitis.

When a cat has a sore throat along with laryngitis, it’s hard to swallow, much less  eat or drink. A mild pain medication can help the cat to swallow more easily, which means it will be able to eat and make a faster return to good health.

Foreign bodies stuck in the cat’s throat are removed, which allows the larynx to return to normal. When this happens, the cat will soon begin to meow audibly again.

When an eosinophilic granuloma forms, the cat’s immune system releases substances that should fight an invasion of parasites. These substances induce an allergic response, such as swelling and inflammation of the cat’s throat. A course of steroids might allow the granuloma to disappear, unless it has become infected. In that case, the cat also needs antibiotic medication.

At home, the pet parent can increase the humidity inside with a humidifier, running hot water in a closed bathroom and keeping the house warm (about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.). Cleaning the cat’s nose with a soft, damp washcloth helps it to breathe more easily.

Veterinarians may recommend diet changes or adding supplements to the cat’s food to strengthen its immune system and help fight viral illness. 

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Worried about the cost of Laryngitis treatment?

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Recovery of Laryngitis in Cats

Once the cause of the cat’s laryngitis has been identified, prescribed treatments and simple at-home care should allow it to return to full health. If the cat had a URI, once the symptoms have resolved, the cat should have a good recovery. 

If the cat has an obstruction caused by a tumor or eosinophilic granuloma complex, this needs to be treated immediately. A tumor can be cancerous and, if caught early, the cat may have a good prognosis. 

If the larynx is severely obstructed, immediate treatment is necessary so that the cat has a chance of recovery. If the cause of the obstruction isn’t detected and removed immediately, the cat may not recover.

Laryngitis can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your cat has laryngitis or is at risk, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Trupanion. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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Laryngitis Average Cost

From 325 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

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Laryngitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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domestic short hair

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Four Years

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33 found helpful

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33 found helpful

Has Symptoms

My cats voice sounds like it’s really raspy at the moment, it happened after he vomited. He is eating and drinking fine at the moment and bowel movements are normal. He seems as if he is struggling to swallow though.

Dec. 13, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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33 Recommendations

The struggling to swallow is a concern. There are a few possibilities such as laryngitis, an upper respiratory tract infection, a foreign body (such as a grass blade) etc. Given what you have said, it would be best to have him examined by a vet. He may well need medicine such as anti inflammatories. I would feed wet food rather than dry as it can be easier to swallow.

Dec. 13, 2020

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cat

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Three Years

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19 found helpful

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19 found helpful

Has Symptoms

No Meow

My cat abruptly lost her voice, without any other symptoms. She literally was fine this morning and within a couple hours. She still hasn't any other symptoms. I don't know what to do.

Dec. 12, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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19 Recommendations

Hello, SO sorry to hear that your cat is having issues. This could be an infection in her throat or injury keeping her from meowing. If she is coughing or not eating, it would be best for your vet to look at her and make sure everything is okay. If she is acting okay she may be just fine just not wanting to meow right now.

Dec. 12, 2020

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Laryngitis Average Cost

From 325 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

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