Salt therapy has been shown to have amazing health benefits for humans and has been gaining momentum in the United States over the last 10 years. But humans aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this treatment. Cats, and all our companion animals, can experience the health and wellness benefits of salt therapy treatment as well.
When we hear a cat coughing, we tend to think they’re trying to clear a hairball. If it persists and hairball treatments don’t work, it may be something more serious. Anything from pneumonia to a tumor in the throat could be the cause, which can be scary. What we don’t usually consider is that our cat has feline asthma.
What is Feline Asthma?
Cats can get asthma just like people. In fact, feline asthma affects nearly five percent of all cats. Feline asthma refers to chronic inflammation of the lungs. This type of inflammation is caused by airways that are considered “hyper-responsive.” Bronchi, the small breathing tubes in the airways, can react to a variety of external stimuli, including:
- Environmental pollens or mold
- Inhaled irritants
- Parasites (i.e. heartworms)
- Infectious viruses or bacteria
Exposure to any of these irritants, muscle spasms in the bronchi, or a buildup of mucus in the airways may lead to coughing episodes or difficulty breathing. Trips to the vet or even just taking a ride in a cat carrier can trigger an asthma attack.
During these attacks, your cat will display certain signs that will let you know something more serious is going on.
Signs of Feline Asthma
If you don’t know what signs to look for, you may dismiss symptoms as your cat struggling to cough up a hairball. Some common signs of asthma in cats include:
- Persistent wheezing and/or coughing
- Squatting with neck extended during coughing fits
- Gagging or vomiting
- Breathing with mouth open
- Weakness and lethargy
- Labored or rapid breathing
This list is not exhaustive, so pay attention to any other visible signs of respiratory distress, as they should not be overlooked. If you’re not sure if your coughing cat is suffering from feline asthma, it’s a good idea to get them evaluated by your vet.
What Causes Feline Asthma?
As mammals, cats and humans share many of the same disease processes. Experts believe cats can get allergy-induced asthma similar to humans. Depending on where you live and your home environment, many allergens could affect your cat and lead to asthma.
If not addressed, untreated feline asthma can lead to airway remodeling – which is when the anatomy of a cat’s airways change causing a chronic cough. To diagnose asthma, vets will give cats a blood test or intradermal skin test to determine known allergens.
Traditional Method for Treating Asthma in Cats
Cat asthma has no known cure, but it can be managed. Feline asthma has traditionally been treated similarly to human asthma – with an inhaler prescribed by veterinarians.
The feline inhaler resembles a human inhaler, except that it comes with a separate device that makes it more comfortable for the cat. The device creates a space between the inhaler and the cat’s nose via an air chamber.
There are two types of inhalers: corticosteroids and bronchodilators. Corticosteroids are used most often in conjunction with the air chamber and face mask. They may also be taken in pill form. Bronchodilators are quick-acting inhalers that deliver medication deep into the lungs during an asthma attack.
More recently, veterinarians are finding that halotherapy can be beneficial for cats with asthma or other issues related to obstructed airways and ongoing inflammatory diseases.
A Natural Treatment for Feline Asthma
Halotherapy for cats is a natural, homeopathic way to promote respiratory health and healthier skin and fur. If traditional treatment options aren’t appealing, it might be time to consider salt therapy. It’s a non-invasive alternative method for treating asthma in cats.
Also known as halotherapy, salt therapy is one of the fastest-growing wellness modalities for humans and now pets. Dry salt is a natural decongestant for cats, the same way it is for us. Difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, and even snoring may all result from airway obstruction or inflammation.
Salt therapy acts as an antibacterial scrub for your cat’s respiratory system, absorbing harmful toxins, allergens, and irritating pollutants. The dry salt also helps thin and clear secretions and mucus, reduces inflammation, and ultimately opens up respiratory passages.
How Halotherapy Works
Halotherapy involves exposure to pure-grade sodium chloride in aerosol form. The dry salt particles produced by the halogenerator are inhaled into the respiratory system and absorbed into the skin, ears, and fur.
The process helps remove allergens, toxins, and other foreign substances while acting as an effective anti-inflammatory. Dry salt therapy works as an antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial agent, both internally, and externally, for cats.
Salt Therapy and Other Feline Conditions
Besides reducing the severity of feline asthma, regular salt therapy treatments can reduce the symptoms of:
- Chronic sinusitis
- Kennel cough
- Feline Lower Airway Disease (FLAD)
- Inflammatory Airway Disease associated with allergies
Salt therapy primarily aids with respiratory function and health, but it also has a pH similar to that of skin. This means when the aerosol that isn’t inhaled lands on the skin, ears, and fur of a cat, it can restore a healthy pH to the skin. The dry salt can absorb oils, reduce inflammation, and kill or prevent bacteria from developing.
Halotherapy can also help reduce scratching, itching, and skin irritation resulting from:
- Environmental or food allergies
- Ear fungus or yeast
- Hot spots
Halotherapy is a safe, natural treatment for every companion animal – whether they have a current medical condition or not.
Salt therapy provides a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals, though it should be noted that in severe cases, halotherapy should be complementary. Living with a chronic illness is hard – regardless if you’re human or feline. With the right treatment, your cat can live a normal and happy life.
Take the time to contact us to schedule your free initial consultation with SALT Chamber and learn more about salt therapy for your pet.