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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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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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Ojos Azules

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Five Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Hoarse Voice And Liquid Stool

1) My cat is already pregnant and she’s just no more than 1 year old. She’s very near to give birth, what should I do?? 2) she currently has a hoarse voice and her poos are diarrhea-like (liquidish), what should I do? Thanks

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Cats who are very near to giving birth can be affected by intestinal parasites, and your cat may need to be dewormed. The best thing to do would be to have a Veterinary Examination for your cat before she has the kittens, so that she can be treated for worms if needed, and they can make sure that she is healthy to raise the kittens. It is very difficult to take a cat into the veterinary once they have kittens, so having that done sooner rather than later would be a good idea. There are many videos online about birth in cats, and watching a few of those would be a good idea so that you know what to expect. I hope that all goes well.

Sept. 29, 2020

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Mixed breed

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Approximately 1

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Wet Under Mouth, Sneezing, Sleeping A Lot, Loss Of Appetite

My cat has been hiding & sleeping a lot the past couple days & doesn’t come when called. I can’t get her to eat, & I don’t think she’s drinking water, I haven’t seen her drink any but I’m also not at home the entire day to monitor her. She’s got some wetness under her mouth & her mouth smells. She’s also been sneezing a lot, as well as vomiting occasionally.

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Your cat sounds very sick, and needs to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Young cats are susceptible to parasites, intestinal infections, or foreign bodies. They will be able to examine her and see what's going on, and let you know what treatment she needs so that she can feel better. I hope she is okay.

Oct. 3, 2020

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Laryngitis Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$500

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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