Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pearl is also an Asthma Kitty

Pearl's diabetes was kicked off by prednisone being given for asthma. She was most likely predisposed to diabetes because the pred pretty much kicked in the BGs immediately. But it took me about 3 months to figure out that it was the pred. Many cats that have steroid induced diabetes may not become full diabetics. So we got her off of pred and I ordered an aerokat. It's based on the idea of a child's mask and chamber to deliver inhaled meds. A great great resource, and the first place you should visit if you find out your cat has asthma is Fritz the Brave's site. Dr. Padrid is the noted vet that helped pioneer using inhaled meds. His protocol is located on the site and you can print it out for your vet. That's what I did. They were happy to try something new. There is also a great message board for Feline Inhaled meds that you can find there and subscribe to (it's a Yahoo group). I took a period of time getting Pearl used to the mask.

While I was waiting for it to be delivered, I took an empty toilet paper roll and would place it over her nose and mouth and remove it right away and give a treat. I would increase the time I held it and always treat. She looked at me like I was nuts, but the treat was A-OK so she cooperated. When the Aerokat came, I first put the mask in a bag of catnip hoping to get rid of some of the plastic smell. I would lay it on the floor by her food dish each meal so she got used to seeing it in connection with FOOD. Then I smeared food on it and let her lick it off. Then just as with the toilet paper roll, I would put the mask over her nose and mouth, briefly, and then treat. This was a bit scarier than the empty toilet paper roll, but we extended the time over a couple of days and she became fairly relaxed with it. Hey, she got a treat so, whatever, she thought.

Then I tried the flovent. For the first few days, I would shake the cannister (always shake before you puff) and hold my hand over the open end of the mask, puff it into my hand and then move the mask onto her face. Probably didn't get full doses doing that but it made the transition more smooth. She got used to the smell of the flovent and didn't have that puff sound quite so close. After probably 4 days, I just started putting the mask ON her to puff. We now puff once a day. Pearl is a moderate asthmatic, so she does well on one puff of 110mcg Flovent a day. I keep albuterol on hand in case she does have a cough, but we have not had to use it often. She did get wheezy on me in the cat box the other day, so I used it, but normally the flovent keeps her well controlled. Miss a day and not so much.

Here is a little video of Pearl getting her flovent puff. I wish I had a better video camera, but I think you get the idea.



If you take the time too desensitize your cat, you will do fine, and your cat will have MUCH better controlled asthma without nearly as much danger of systemic steroid troubles. Personally, I believe even mild asthma should be treated. I got Pearl when she was 6 years old and she had a habit of coughing with no hairballs EVER, and sometimes heaving up a clear mucous after a coughing fit, after she ate, but with no food coming back up. This happened a couple, three times a month. I just didn't know. 2 years later we went to get xrays because it became more frequent. The lungs looked ok, but we got distracted by finding arthritis in her knee. I didn't pursue the coughing. Fast forward to two years ago. One Sunday, Pearl had 5 coughing fits between 8 am and 3 pm and by then I could hear a wheeze. I took her to ER where, because she was having attacks THAT DAY the xrays showed pretty classic signs. She started on pred and the coughing wheezing stopped pretty much immediately. I took the xrays to my vet the next day and she agreed it could be, but she also saw something with the heart she didn't like. The ultrasound guy was coming that afternoon for a cat with a thrombosis (who sadly didn't make it). He found Pearl did have a mild mitral insufficiency in her heart chamber. Her heart was FINE in the first xrays I got when she was 8 and she had been coughing since before I got her, so we do not believe the asthma cough is anything but asthma. However, we did put her on 1 enecard pill and 1/4 lasix a day. Who knows if it helps, but it doesn't hurt.

Pearl got the really short stick on the genetics draw. But we are coping pretty well.

19 comments:

THE ZOO said...

aaahhhh poor Pearl. at least shes a good gurl about it all.

KIC said...

She is a very good girl about everything, which you wouldn't have thought.

Scooby, Shaggy & Scout said...

Bless you for giving Pearl the quality of life she deserves. We think she knows that all this fussing helps her.

KIC said...

I hope so!

Shecky X said...

(just saw your links over at jim-butcher.com and thought I'd come over and say "hi")

My wife and I are very familiar with having a sick cat. Our oldest (and also only male) cat Rocky was diagnosed with diabetes back in 2001. We tried different meds (oral vs. injected), different doses, etc. He would NOT accept oral meds - he was so picky as a kitten that he didn't even give in to the "eat it or starve" technique :) - so we were left with the insulin shots. Then he had what amounted to irritable bowel syndrome, so he HAD to be given oral meds every day; he did NOT like that.

The hardest part was that he was diagnosed with Cushing's syndrome 2+ years ago. And he had JUST gotten over the IBS - poor guy had to go right back on oral meds. Cushing's is a very rare condition, and vets say you can't count on any more than six months of life after that, but he held on relatively comfortably (other than his dislike of oral meds) for two years. He finally passed on earlier this year; he had finally had enough, and it was time.

So count yourself lucky and happy that Pearl is a good sport about her treatment. In any case, it's wonderful to see people who don't see pets as throwaway ("we'll just get another - it's too expensive to take care of this one") and who are genuinely concerned with their pets' quality of life.

KIC said...

Thanks Shecky. 2 years with Cushings is phenomenal! YOu did a great job.

chibimie said...

What a loving, moving blog. Thank you.

THE ZOO said...

Happy Boxing Day.

We hope you haded a grate Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I'm starting my cat on Flovent tomorrow - were there any side effects you noticed?


My cat was originally prescribed Theodur pills which made my cat seem like she was on her death bed (quit giving it to her after a couple days). Then the steroid shot every 3 months or so for about a year.
Now we're trying Flovent.

KIC said...

No side effects I've ever noticed, though occasionally a cat will get a bit of dermitis on the face. Wiping their face off with a damp cloth after the puff should avoid that. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for showing this. MY cat is just about to start his inhaled meds and I am very scared.

KIC said...

Don't be scared. It will help a lot. Please sign up with the Yahoo groups for asthma kitties. They are an enormous help.

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/felineasthma_inhaledmeds/

and

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/felineasthma/

Jason said...

Hi, just like to say thank you and that this was a great post! I've just got an AeroKat from the vet who diagnosed my cat with asthma too. I've not used it as yet but on a "test run" he doesn't seem to like it one bit. I think I will try associating it with food just like you did and see how it goes. He's been on steroid tablets for a few weeks which have really helped but they told me it couldn't be long term.

Anonymous said...

I came across Pearl's Legacy because I have an asthma kitty who was diagnosed with diabetes a week ago. We took immediate action and are very hopeful. My Liam was also born in 1996, so he and pearl probably have gotten dealt the same cards. I was inspired and found hope while reading this. I ordered an aerokat and started today with the techniques that you used with Pearl, so I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to blog this years ago, as I have found it extremely helpful.
Thank you for taking the time to post. It really made a difference in my life and my little man's.
Victoria

Matt Tanner said...

After using asthma medication with aerokat for over 4 months it still makes sound like there is still product in canister. How do you know when canister is empty? Thanks for any feedback.

dlundin said...

The cat I have to use the AeroKat with does not respond to food treats. Not even food very much. She doesn't care for treats, barely touches a teaspoon of wet food, and mostly snacks on dry food. She does like catnip, however. I'm very nervous about this.

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Heather said...

Thank you for your video our asthmatic cat has just been diagnosed with diabetes so no more shots. We tried the inhaler last year and he hated it but once he is stable will be using all our toilet rolls!!
cheers

Anonymous said...

So glad I found this. My sweet little guy whom I found after someone ran him over, I scooped him up & off to my vet we went. He lost his tail & his legs are a little crooked but he pulled through. That was 14 yrs ago. He is my buddy & I love him dearly. Now in the beginning of this yr he had a very difficult time breathing. We went to the vet & found out he has asthma, he was put on prednisolone & theophyline. He did well on those & was cut back to just prednisolone. So lately started losing weight so off to the vet we went well now he has diabetes. I'm doing my best for my little guy. I can't lose him. (I lost my hubby not long ago, money is a HUGE struggle for me) The vet wants me to cut back on his prednisolone, to see if that will take care of his diabetes but now he is getting all conjested & rattled. I am so worried. Any advice would me appreciated. Thank you