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Holistic treatments can help your cat's allergies, asthma

Pet health

(NaturalNews) Cats are vulnerable to many of the same conditions that humans are, and asthma and allergies are two particularly frustrating problems for many cats and their owners. Thankfully, there are a number of holistic treatments that can ease your cat's respiratory woes without the risks that prescription medications carry.

According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, about 1 percent of domestic cats in the U.S. suffer from chronic or acute asthma. This equates to around 800,000 cats. It's the most commonly diagnosed respiratory problem in felines, and it involves the constriction of airways connecting the trachea to the lungs. This constriction happens when the animal's immune system kicks into overdrive in response to an allergen, and attacks can be quite frightening.

Some of the allergens that are suspected of triggering feline asthma include: dusty kitty litter; smoke from tobacco, fireplaces and candles; cleaning solution vapors; tree pollen; aerosol sprays; grass; mold; weeds; mildew; and dust mites.

Holistic vet Dr. Erin Holder of the FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital says that allergies can be related to a cat's diet, and this is especially true if it contains preservatives and chemicals. She says that owners should do everything they can to get cats with allergies to stop eating dry food.

"Allergies are a chronic immune stimulation and inflammation of the body, so when we discuss holistic options for our cats, the first thing we do is address the diet," she said.

She recommends getting allergy tests done, and says immunotherapy is also a good option. Goat's milk is a natural anti-inflammatory, and she says that essential oils, Chinese herbs and acupuncture can all help with these issues.

Dr. Holder says that while prednisone and other medications that vets typically prescribe for allergies and asthma are aimed at suppressing symptoms, natural treatments can actually get to the underlying cause of the disease and heal the pet.

She recounted the case of an Abyssinian cat who was suffering from life-threatening asthma attacks. After placing the cat on a new diet, testing it for allergies and sensitizing it, these dangerous attacks stopped altogether.

While the cost of treatments can be a concern for some pet owners, Dr. Holder points out that although holistic treatments tend to cost more money up front, they can actually save money in the long run.

For example, the prednisone often prescribed for asthmatic cats is an inexpensive drug, but it can cause diabetes in the long run. Treating diabetes can be extremely expensive, between treatments and multiple vet trips, not to mention the effects it has on the quality of life of both the pet and its owner. Moreover, long-term corticosteroid therapy in cats has been connected to a higher risk of diabetes, pancreatitis and other conditions.

Clean air is vital for cats with respiratory problems

One way to help a cat who is suffering from allergies is ensuring that its environment is kept clear of smoke and artificial scents. If you're using household products such as cleaners that have strong scents, it's time to switch. You'll also want to make a point of using unscented cat litter. An air purification system can help you ensure your air is clean.

A bit of good grooming can also go a long way. Brushing your cat regularly can help prevent dander and loose fur from accumulating on your pet, which is something that can trigger an asthma attack.

Chamomile and hemp can help asthmatic cats

Chamomile can also help your cat. Chamomile teabags can be used to soothe irritated eyes from allergies. You can also brew some chamomile tea and then place it in a spray bottle. Keep the bottle in the fridge and spray it on your cat's skin irritations to help bring about some welcome relief.

Cat expert and author Amy Shojai says that hemp can help reduce feline bronchial spasms, but it's important to consult a vet for the proper concentration. She also recommends an acupressure technique to help calm cats down during asthma attacks.

While dealing with pet health issues is never fun, concerned owners should try these natural remedies for cat asthma if they want to avoid the side effects of medications.

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