Pneumonia is an inflammation of your cat's lungs and airways that needs to be treated right away. Here, our Riverbank vets share more about the causes, signs, and treatments for pneumonia in cats.
Causes of Pneumonia in Cats
If certain viruses, bacteria, or fungal organisms invade your cat's airways, they can develop into inflammation or infection which may lead to pneumonia. When cats have pneumonia, they experience breathing difficulties, oxygen deficiencies, and a weakened immune system.
Although pneumonia can develop in cats of any age, our Riverbank vets see this condition develop most often in senior cats, young kittens, and cats with underlying conditions. pneumonia can be contracted in cats in several different ways:
ParasitesIn some cases, parasites including lungworms and flukes can invade the cat's air passages and result in pneumonia.
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 PneumoniaAspiration pneumonia is caused by the cat inhaling a foreign material, which leads to irritation of the sensitive lining of the lungs. 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 (also called mycotic pneumonia)Fungal pneumonia begins as a fungal infection that progresses into the development of pneumonia. The inhalation of spores from the soil is believed to be the source of most fungal infections in cats.
Signs of Pneumonia in Cats
Pneumonia in cats isn't always so straightforward to detect. Many symptoms of this condition are also associated with other illnesses and diseases. That being said, if your cat is suffering from pneumonia, they may display any of the following symptoms:
- Shallow or labored breathing
- Unusually fast breathing rate
- Persistent coughing
- Weight loss
- Untidy appearance
- Coughing up mucus or blood
- Gurgling or rattling respiratory sounds
- Nasal discharge
- Lack of appetite
- Bluish mouth
If your cat has aspiration pneumonia, they may also experience further symptoms such as an increased heart rate, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. Fungal pneumonia in cats is also capable of causing eye infections, skin lesions, or lameness.
Transmissibility of Pneumonia in Cats
Cats suffering from viral or bacterial pneumonia can pass the infection on to other cats, dogs, and small animals that they come into close contact with.
To help stop the spread of pneumonia, it's a good idea to keep your cat separated from your other pets. Do this by keeping them comfortable, but contained, in a separate room. Make sure your sick cat has a comfortable place to rest, a 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 that may be contaminated. Also, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your unwell cat.
Cats Recovering From Pneumonia
If diagnosed with pneumonia, your cat will begin treatment with your vet as soon as possible to help stabilize and fight their illness. Depending on how severe your cat's case is, treatments may include plenty of rest, hospitalization and monitoring, oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids, antibiotics, or other anti-fungal medications.
If your pet gets the treatment they need quickly, there is a good chance that they will recover from pneumonia. That being said, aspiration pneumonia is quite difficult to treat and can cause complications down the road.
Your cat's age, physical fitness, underlying conditions, and the severity of their illness will all affect how well they can recover from pneumonia. Unfortunately, very young, old, or immunocompromised cats may not be strong enough to overcome this illness.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please visit your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.