Aspiration Pneumonia in Cats

Aspiration Pneumonia in Cats

Aspiration pneumonia is an inflammatory lung disorder that occurs when your cat inhales a foreign substance. This most commonly occurs with disorders that cause regurgitation or vomiting. Neuromuscular disorders that cause difficulty swallowing or paralysis of the esophagus can also lead to aspiration pneumonia. This condition is uncommon in cats.

Causes of Aspiration Pneumonia

Possible causes for feline aspiration pneumonia include:

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Aspiration Pneumonia in Cats

A thorough physical examination with auscultation of the chest (listening to the chest through a stethoscope) and palpation of the abdomen are very helpful in detecting changes that could indicate the presence of aspiration pneumonia. Additional tests may include:

Treatment of Aspiration Pneumonia in Cats

Severely ill patients may require hospitalization with oxygen, intravenous fluids, antibiotics and supportive care. Mildly affected pets that are well hydrated and eating properly may be treated as outpatients, with frequent follow-up examinations to monitor the progression of the infection. Additional treatments may include:

Home Care and Prevention

Aspiration pneumonia, particularly of stomach contents can be a serious, life-threatening condition. The animal may require several days in intensive care before it stabilizes, and some animals have great difficulty recovering from this condition, particularly if the underlying problem is due to paralysis of the esophagus. Once the animal is discharged from the hospital administer all medications as directed by your veterinarian. Return for follow up examinations, blood work, and radiographs as recommended by your veterinarian.

Many times, aspiration pneumonia cannot be prevented. However, treating and controlling the underlying disorder can greatly reduce the risk of aspiration pneumonia or prevent the condition from recurring.