Winnie is a much loved furkid who shares the house with Angel, another kitty kat and Afrodite, his owner.
Winnie came to Afrodite as a very young stray kitten with a broken back right leg. The bottom of the shin bone was shattered into pieces and split all the way to the top near the knee. Dr Jedda wanted to amputate the leg to save Winnie's life, but Afrodite insisted that saving the leg be attempted surgically. Dr Jedda put the jigsaw puzzle leg back together as best as possible. Much to everyone's surprise, and thanks to Afrodite's excellent nursing, Winnie's leg is still attached to his, ahem, rather substantial body nine years later.
Poor Winnie has had some ups and downs in life, including Feline Lower Urinary Tract disease, but his loving owner has diligently had him on the correct diet for years, so there have been no more episodes of bladder problems.
Winnie started to cough and this progressed to a rather bizarre "squeaking" noise in his chest. Chest x-rays showed chronic bronchitis, but what could be making the squeaking noise? Three vets stood around and scratched their heads,
trying to mine 50 years of combined experience for the answer. None had ever heard the very strange squeaking which was audible without a stethoscope.
Winnie's blood work was perfect so we decided to trial him on some asthma medication and if there was no improvement, he was destined for a bronchoscopic exam and bronchial cell collection under anaesthetic.
Winnie did not like the sound of those tests, so he inhaled deeply on his puffer/spacer combo and 3-5 minutes later the squeak was gone!! His breathing rate halved and he was much happier and purring. Purrfetto. (Which means "perfect" in Italian cat lingo.)
Feline asthma is very similar to human asthma. There is inflammation of the small airways in the lungs. When an asthma attack occurs, these passageways thicken and constrict, making it very difficult for a cat to breathe. These attacks can be fatal in a matter of minutes in an unmedicated cat. Mucus is pumped into the airways leading to fits of coughing and wheezing. Some cats with milder asthma only experience a slight, chronic cough.
It is thought to develop due to Allergic Bronchitis. The treatment involves training the feline patient to accept the paediatric puffer spacer and sometimes we put a little butter on the soft mask until the cat is licking at the
butter and not frightened. Winnie was so desperately short of breath that he accepted the spacer straight away. He now has a daily regime of inhaled steroids and Ventolin when needed. Afrodite reports he is doing very well.