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I have an eight-year-old male cat. He has always been very healthy, but this year he's had some respiratory problems. Here's the history:

  • In early March he started sneezing and coughing often.
  • On 23 March, seen by vet, who gave Convenia injection and Metacam drops. He was fine for about 2.5 months, then started sneezing and coughing again.
  • On 13 June, back to vet (different vet, same practice), gave Convenia + Metacam again. Same again, fine for several months, then started sneezing and coughing again.
  • On 15 September, back to vet (third vet, same practice), who gave him a Colvasone injection and said to come back for a chest X-ray.
  • On 23 September, had a chest X-ray, and given another Colvasone injection.

The vet said he thought it could be asthma, and the cat should be okay now for about a month but to come back if coughing recurred after that and he could be given a steroid mask. The receptionist said that the X-ray showed 'patterns of feline asthma' (we think - wasn't totally clear).

It's now only 28 September and he's started sneezing again, about 10-20 times per hour, and snuffling. He's also lethargic and off his food, which is very uncharacteristic!

My questions :(

  • Does this sound like asthma, given that it's come back again so quickly after a steroid injection?
  • Is it normal to have two steroid injections eight days apart?
  • If not asthma, what else could it be? (The vet said he thought it was unlikely to be a physical blockage, given that it responded to earlier treatment.)
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    Please keep in mind that if a cat doesn't eat anything in 24 hours, it must be treated as a medical emergency! Especially if this is paired with drastic changes in behavior like lethargy. Read more about it in How long can a healthy cat go without food?
    – Elmy
    Sep 29 '20 at 5:50
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    Thank you @Elmy - I didn't know that. Fortunately he's eating again now, though still coughing and sneezing.
    – Richard
    Sep 29 '20 at 18:54
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This may have already been discussed by you and your vet, but have you considered allergies? The fact that it keeps happening despite treatment leads me to believe that the cause may be environmental or (less likely) dietary.

Allergies can develop and worsen over time, so it could be something that was always there and your cat has simply become intolerant to it. Or it could be something new that you brought into your home.

I'm not an expert, so please talk to your vet about likely allergens, if you haven't already.

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  • Thank you @HealthyCatGuide - hadn't considered this as a possibility, but will definitely ask the vet about it.
    – Richard
    Oct 5 '20 at 13:04
  • You're welcome! I hope you can figure out what's wrong with him. Oct 6 '20 at 18:06

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