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Morris Animal Foundation Studies Possible Cure for Feline Asthma

Feline asthma is a common syndrome in cats. It causes chronic coughing and wheezing in some individuals. Others may suffer from acute asthmatic crises that...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Oct 8th 2009


Feline asthma is a common syndrome in cats. It causes chronic coughing and wheezing in some individuals. Others may suffer from acute asthmatic crises that cause severe respiratory distress. These crises can be fatal.

Feline asthma historically has been challenging to treat. No cure is available. The mainstay of treatment has been oral steroids, but these medications are not universally effective and have the potential for serious side effects.

Inhalable asthma medications also may be of benefit to asthmatic cats, but special equipment is required to administer these drugs. Also, many cats do not tolerate the process of receiving nebulized (inhalable) medications.

Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) is an independent organization (although it has links to Hill’s) dedicated to research that benefits animals. I am pleased that the foundation has recently initiated a feline-specific emphasis in order to make up some of the discrepancy between medical care for dogs (who always seem to get the best that veterinary medicine has to offer) and cats (the second species of veterinary medicine).

MAF recently released news that they are investigating a potential cure for feline asthma. The treatment, called rush immunotherapy, is designed to attenuate or eliminate asthmatic cats’ excessive response to items that simulate the immune system. This excessive response is the cause of asthma. Rush immunotherapy may soon be available by injection or as a treatment that is introduced into the nose.

I hope it works. You can read more about the study here.