definition of bronchitis - Feline Asthma - Investigation and Treatment
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Feline Asthma - Investigation and Treatment

It is quite common for cats to present to veterinary clinics with a chronic cough or wheeze. The problem may be constant or just recur from time to time, and can range from mild to severe. Clinically the disease may resemble human asthma, but the term feline asthma can be misleading as there are a number of different possible causes. Here we look at what those underlying causes can be, and the different forms of treatment available to affected cats.


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The texture and the color of the expectorated mucus are major indicators for the seriousness of the disease. For instance, the expectoration of clear, colorless mucus may disclose infectious forms of acute bronchitis. By contrast, abundant expectoration of yellowish or dark-colored mucus may point to bacterial infection of the bronchial membranes. Blood-producing cough usually points to severe forms of acute bronchitis, suggesting that the lungs are also affected by the disease. The majority of patients with acute bronchitis may experience an exacerbation of cough during the night or in the first hours of the morning.

2. Remove or avoid airway irritants. The most obvious one is ensuring the cat has no contact with cigarette smoke, and purchasing dust free cat litter.

Cats usually present with one or all the following signs: CoughingWheezingDifficulty breathing A minority of cases will have the classic human status asthmaticus, rapid onset breathing difficulty due to severe narrowing of the bronchi. Cats tend to be middle aged or older, and Siamese cats may be more prone than other breeds.

The Seretide Evohaler is useful for cats requiring both steroid and bronchodilator therapy. It contains salbutamol and fluticasone, a combination allowing minimal dosing frequency.

Bronchitis is the swelling of the bronchial tubes, otherwise known as the airways. These airways are the windpipes that directly connect to the lungs. Bronchitis happens when there is an irritation that occurs in the bronchial tubes. Next to the irritation, the formation of thick mucus will soon follow. Hence, the air passage will be blocked by the mucus, leading to difficulty in breathing. Bronchitis can be identified into two types: acute and chronic. The acute bronchitis is normally an illness that lasts for a short period of time. Usually, this is caused by severe cold. But most often, this is triggered by the viral infections. Acute bronchitis is characterized by the pain in the middle of the chest, cough that comes with green sputum. Fever might also happen, and a slight difficulty in breathing might also occur.

Pulmonary edema. Often due to severe heart disease.Infectious bronchitis. This can be due to bacteria, viruses or parasites.Pleural disease. Filling of the space between the lung and the chest wall with air or an effusion.Cancer. This can be a primary lung tumor or metastatic spread.Potassium bromide induced respiratory disease. A side effect from an anti-epileptic drug.Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Responds poorly to treatment.Pulmonary thromboembolus. Lodging of a clot in a respiratory blood vessel causing sudden onset breathing difficulty.Pulmonary hypertension. Usually secondary to other heart or respiratory disease.

To return to the comparison with human asthma, when trying to understand the underlying causes it is important to differentiate between asthma (constriction of the bronchi), chronic bronchitis (oversecretion of mucus with a chronic cough) and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Asthma is reversible bronchial constriction caused by eosinophil cells, whereas COPD is irreversible bronchial constriction involving neutrophil cells.

Although doctors often perform laboratory analyses of mucus samples, tests such as Gram staining aren't very accurate in revealing traces of bacterial infection. Even in the cases of serious infection, most laboratory tests may only reveal the presence of benign bacterial flora at the level of the respiratory tract. In spite of medical progress and the wide range of medical techniques available nowadays, the presence of acute bronchitis in patients is rarely revealed by routine laboratory tests. Thus, acute bronchitis is usually diagnosed according to the results of more elaborate physical examinations.

John Todd

Is Bronchitis Contagious? More resources on Bronchitis Contagious

The Differentials There are a large number of possible diagnoses when a cat first presents with coughing or breathing difficulty. Here are some of the more important ones:

The Chronic bronchitis on the other hand is identified with a cough that produces mucus. And this lasts for longer period of time as compared to the acute bronchitis. The sufferers of bronchitis are also identified to suffer from different level of breathing difficulty. These sufferers may also have the possibility to attain lung infections sometimes. Hence, the breathing difficulty is worsen. There are certain occasions where chronic bronchitis is termed as "chronic obstructive lung disease" and "chronic obstructive airways disease." From the terms themselves, the problem can already be identified-difficulty in air circulation that goes in and out of the lungs. Now, the question comes, is bronchitis contagious? The answer is yes. Bronchitis is extremely contagious. The virus can be transmitted by the means of cough, sneeze, and yes, even by simply touching the things that has been touched by the person infected. Bronchitis, basically, is the swelling of the bronchia, thus, it is not contagious. However, as the bacteria starts to form, the disease then is contagious the moment the bacteria was emitted into the air. In fact, there are already several affected people who confessed that they had the disease when they had a close contact with the infected person. Now, the question is how long is bronchitis contagious? According to the medical experts, the length of time of the disease contagiousness actually depends on the cause and type of the person's bronchitis. For a person who suffers from bronchitis, it is suggested for him to visit and consult to a medical specialist of respiratory and pulmonary to assure whether he is already contagious and until when will it last. It is advisable for the infected person to consult to a medical specialist when bronchitis tends to occur, if not, it may possibly lead to pneumonia. Both the acute and chronic bronchitis have the threat to become contagious. Even the healthy person is not safe from the attacks of acute bronchitis. This is because of the viral infection. These viral infections can be transmitted from one person to other through indirect and direct contact.

3. Removal or avoidance of potential allergens. House dust mite allergy must be excluded by spraying the house with an acaricidal product. 4. Chronic therapy for the underlying condition. For long term treatment of cats with feline asthma, a combination of steroids and bronchodilators are a popular choice. Steroids reduce the inflammation and lower mucus production, and can limit long term consequences such as fibrosis. Bronchodilators are most useful when there is airway spasm. Traditionally, medication has been given orally via tablets, but over the last few years, metered dose inhalers such as the ones used for human asthma have come on the market.

Using a vaporizer or a humidifier is a very good idea. These help your airways stay moist. A worm bath can also do you very good. Another trick is to stay away from any things that can irritate your respiratory system, such as chemicals, paint, dust, and so on.

First pneumonia: this is a very serious infection that takes place in the lungs. The alveoli, that usually help make the exchange of the oxygen in your lungs, get filled with pus, or other liquids. As you can imagine this is very bad because you then suffer from a lack of oxygen that together with the spread of the infection from the lungs can cause death.

Another useful trick is not to take any pills that suppress your cough. When you have acute bronchitis and you cough, mucus is brought up together with your cough, and believe it or not this is a good thing. If you take cough suppressants, mucus can buildup and cause serious complications, like pneumonia. Another medication that must not be taken is antihistamines. Instead of making you feel better, they can do a lot of damage. These medication dry your airways and cause the phlegm to thicken up, which can make your condition even worse than before.

Aerosol therapy has the advantage that the maximum concentration of drug is delivered to the target site. This means that lower overall doses can be used, and the cat is less likely to suffer the negative side effects of steroids. Various inhalers can be used in both cats and dogs, but they tend to be designed for humans. As a result, higher doses are given compared with human medicine, as humans can be instructed to breathe deeply whereas cats will breathe normally at best.

As it is an illness that affects the respiratory system, here are some tricks to make your breathing a little easier if suffering from bronchitis. Drinking a lot of fluids every day can help you very much. Fluids can help in keeping the mucus very thin, therefor easy to cough up. The best thing to drink in such conditions is water. Sugar products or dairy's are better to be avoided, because they have a tendency to weaken your immune system and even produce more mucus.

Treatment The aims of treatment are as follows. 1. Eliminate any suspected infectious agents. This may be a sufficiently long course of antibiotics if bacterial infection is suspected, or a wormer such as fenbendazole if lungworm is suspected.

 
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The Pathology Little is known about the underlying causes or exacerbating factors in feline asthma. There may be an element of genetic predisposition. While chronic inhalation of airway irritants, such as smoking, has been shown to cause bronchitis in humans, this has not been studied in detail in cats. Likewise, allergens such as pollen, housedust mites, dander, fungal spores, dust and cat litter could all be implicated theoretically.

2. Radiography The next test performed is usually thoracic radiography. This is best performed under general anesthetic so there is lee chance for motion blur, though in acute situations this is not possible. This is where the most meaningful information can be gained.

Acute bronchitis is a common respiratory disease that causes inflammation of the bronchial mucosal membranes. Unlike chronic forms of the disease, acute bronchitis has a rapid onset and generates more intense symptoms. However, acute bronchitis doesn't have a recurrent character and thus its generated symptoms don't persist in time. Due to the fact that the clinical manifestations of acute bronchitis are unspecific, pointing to various types of respiratory diseases, sometimes it can be difficult for doctors to quickly find the correct diagnosis. Thus, doctors usually perform additional tests in order to confirm the presumptive diagnosis. However, even laboratory tests can sometimes fail to reveal conclusive evidence of acute bronchitis. Considering this fact, the majority of patients with suspected acute bronchitis are commonly diagnosed after they receive elaborate physical examinations.

Bronchodilator drugs used in inhalers include Salbutamol and Salmeterol. Salbutamol is very fast acting and therefore useful in a crisis caused by spasm of the bronchi. However, it only lasts for about 30 minutes and is therefore unsuitable for chronic therapy as frequent dosing is required. Salmeterol on the other hand is longer acting, and lasts for about 12 hours so twice daily dosing is possible. Salmeterol is better for long term control of mild to moderate asthma while Salbutamol is better for relief of acute bronchospasm.

Spacer devices A spacer device consists of a chamber into which the aerosol drug is released at one end, with a mask at the other end which fits snugly over the cats mouth and nose. Human baby spacer devices (e.g. Babyhaler) can be easily adapted for cats. Alternatively, veterinary spacers specifically designed for cats are now on the market (e.g. Aerokat). The spacer should be held over the cats nose and mouth for about 30 seconds to ensure complete delivery of the drugs. It should be remembered that aerosol steroid therapy can take up to 2 weeks to reach full effect, and if the cat has been on oral steroids previously, these should be phased out slowly during these initial 2 weeks.

Most symptoms of acute bronchitis are outwardly visible. The disease generates symptoms such as mucus-producing cough, chest pain and discomfort (intensifying with deep breaths), wheezing, difficult, shallow and accelerated breathing. Sometimes, these manifestations of acute bronchitis can be accompanied by mild or moderate fever. The presence of high fever is an indicator of complications, suggesting severe infection with bacteria or mycoplasmas. Prolonged, intense fever may point to spreading of the respiratory infection at the level of the lungs (pneumonia).

Radiography, spirometry and pulse oximetry are rarely used in the process of diagnosing acute bronchitis. These tests are recommended to patients with complicated forms of acute bronchitis that involve spreading of the disease at pulmonary level.

Diagnosis 1. Clinical examination The first step in the diagnostic protocol is a thorough clinical examination by a veterinarian. This should localize the origin of the disease to the upper airways, lower airways or pleural space. If the cat is found to have pleural disease, a needle may be inserted straight away to remove either air or a sample of the effusion for both diagnosis and short term treatment of the respiratory distress.

Is treatment lifelong? Generally yes. Doses can often be reduced gradually once clinical remission has been achieved. As with many chronic conditions, complete control might not always be possible and an acceptable quality of life is the main aim of the treatment.

Bronchitis is a disease that can affect the lungs, but usually only the respiratory system is the one affected. There are two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic bronchitis. Both of them can be treated at home, but the chronic bronchitis poses a little more problems than the acute type.

However, the spread of bronchitis can still be avoided. The affected person only needs to maintain a healthy hygiene by regularly washing his hands and by using hand sanitizers afterwards. Most importantly, the affected person should cover his mouth whenever he is coughing. Hence, the possibility of transmitting the disease is reduced. People who suffer from asthma may also develop an acute bronchitis. Such circumstance reduces the risk of acute bronchitis to be contagious. It is the effect whenever the acute bronchitis acts as a complication of a certain disease. To totally eliminate the risk of spreading the disease, it is best to cure it. Antibiotic are not regarded as an effective way to treat acute bronchitis. This is because bronchitis is caused by viral infection. Only an ample amount of rest, an extra liquids intake, and a non-prescription medicine for cough are the suggested effective treatment for acute bronchitis. The antibiotic are only prescribe by the doctors whenever there is the presence of bacterial infection. Antibiotic will then serve to lessen the risk of secondary infection. For the asthmatics, the doctor may recommend a medication for asthma, most likely an inhaler. These medications will widen the contracted lung airways.

Bronchitis does not affect the lungs, but the passage that carry the air from the trachea to the lungs. These airways can get inflamed of irritated, but they either get better on their own or with treatment. This condition is not a life threatening one, although it may have some serious complications.

Dr Matthew Homfray is one of the veterinary pet experts at http://www.WhyDoesMyPet.com. Our dedicated community of caring pet experts are waiting to offer you advice, second opinions and support.

More informations about acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis can be found by visiting http://www.bronchitis-guide.com/.

Mucus-producing cough is usually the most revealing symptom of acute bronchitis. Although the presence of cough is not sufficient for diagnosing acute bronchitis, the intensity and the frequency of this symptom are major indicators of respiratory diseases such as bronchitis. Cough is usually the first symptom to occur among people with acute bronchitis, intensifying within the first days after the period of incubation. Some patients with acute bronchitis may have this symptom for less than two weeks, while others may be confronted with cough for more than six weeks. If this symptom persists for more than 8 weeks, it may point to chronic bronchitis.

Glucocorticoid drugs (steroids) used in inhalers include Beclometasone, Fluticasone and Budesonide. Beclometasone is cheap, but is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream when you want it to hang around in the area where it applied. Fluticasone is more expensive, but tends to stay where you want it to. Budesonide is relatively inexpensive and though it is easily absorbed into the bloodstream, it tends to be removed the first time it goes through the liver.

5. Bronchoalveolar lavage This is similar to the technique described above, but the catheter is inserted all the way into a lower airway before the saline is injected and withdrawn. This is therefore a good test for lower airway disease.

6. Lung biopsy This is an invasive procedure that carries a significant risk to the patient. It is only indicated where diffuse cancer or extensive fibrosis is suspected, or in severe disease that responds poorly to treatment.

3. Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy allows visualization of the larger airways, and assessment for increased mucus and inflammation. 4. Tracheal wash This involves injecting a small amount of saline into the trachea and immediately withdrawing it, and then examining the cells and debris harvested under a microscope.

If your symptoms get worse after a couple of days, the smart thing to do is see a doctor. Now, let me answer you a question that I believe it is in everybody' s mind: what is the difference between bronchitis and pneumonia. Well, they are both respiratory diseases, but there are lots of differences between them. To better understand this, let us talk about each one of them.



For greater resources on bronchitis please visit http://www.bronchitis-guide.com/asthmatic-bronchitis.htm or http://www.bronchitis-guide.com/bronchitis-treatment.htm


 
 
     
 
 





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