Pneumonia is a condition characterized by inflammation of the lungs and airways that can occur in cats for a number of reasons. Today our Los Angeles vets share information about the causes, symptoms and treatment for pneumonia in cats.
Causes Of Pneumonia In Cats
If your cat's nostrils are invaded by particular bacteria, viruses, or fungal organisms, an infection or inflammation can develop, leading to pneumonia. When cats have pneumonia they experience breathing difficulties and oxygen deficiency in the blood, which weaken their immune system.
Although cats of any age can develop pneumonia, our Memphis emergency vets most often see pneumonia in very young kittens, senior cats, or cats with other underlying health conditions. Pneumonia can be contracted by cats in a number of different ways:
- Infectious pneumonia results from a viral or bacterial infection in the lungs and airways, this is the most common form of pneumonia seen in cats.
- Aspiration pneumonia is caused by the cat inhaling a foreign material, which leads to the sensitive lining of the lungs becoming irritated. A common cause of aspiration pneumonia in cats is the improper administration of liquid medications, or the inhalation of vomit if the cat is sick.
Fungal Pneumonia (a.k.a. Mycotic Pneumonia)
- Fungal pneumonia starts out as a fungal infection that progresses into pneumonia. A cat's inhalation of spores from contaminated soil is thought to be the source of most fungal infections in cats.
- In some cases, parasites such as lungworms and flukes can invade the cat's air passages and cause pneumonia to develop.
Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Cats
In cats, pneumonia isn't always straightforward to detect, as many of the symptoms are also associated with other illnesses including other respiratory infections like cat colds. Nonetheless, if your cat is suffering from pneumonia they may display one or more of these symptoms:
- Coughing (mucus or blood)
- Gurgling or rattling while breathing
- Nasal discharge
- Lack of appetite
- Bluish mouth
- Shallow/labored breathing
- Unusually fast breathing
- Persistent coughing
- Weight loss
- Inadequate grooming
If your cat has aspiration pneumonia, they could exhibit other symptoms like difficulty swallowing, increased heart rate, and vomiting. Fungal pneumonia in cats, on the other hand, can also cause eye or skin problems such as runny eyes and skin lesions, as well as lameness.
Is Feline Pneumonia Contagious To Other Cats?
Cats infected with viral or bacterial pneumonia can pass the infection on to other felines, dogs, and small animals with which they have come in close contact.
To help prevent the spread of pneumonia, it's a good idea to keep your sick cat separated from other pets in your home, by keeping them contained in a comfortable but separate room. Provide your sick cat with a comfy place to rest, a fresh clean litter box, and plenty of food and water.
Clean your cat's food and water bowls frequently, as well as their litter box, and toys which may be contaminated. Also, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your unwell cat.
Recovery From Pneumonia For Cats
If your cat has been diagnosed with pneumonia, your vet will begin treatment to help to stabilize your cat's condition and then work to fight the infection. Based on the severity of your cat's symptoms, treatment could include hospitalization for monitoring, oxygen therapy or a nebulizer treatment to help relieve respiratory symptoms. Your cat may also receive intravenous fluids to treat dehydration and broad-spectrum antibiotics or anti-fungal medications to help fight infection.
There is a good chance that your cat will recover from pneumonia if they recieve appropriate treatment early. That said, aspiration pneumonia is particularly difficult to treat and can lead to further complications later. The underlying cause of the illness, as well as your cat's overall health, and age will all play a role in how well your feline friend recovers from pneumonia. Sadly, cats that are very young, very old, or immunocompromised may not be strong enough to battle a severe case of pneumonia.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.