2851 W. IRVING PARK RD  CHICAGO, ILLINOIS  60618     PHONE  (773) 539-9080   FAX  (773) 478-0605

Inhaler Therapy in the Cat

Other Sources of Information

Inhaler therapy is a newer technique being used for the treatment of allergic lung diseases like asthma and bronchitis.

back to the top

  1. There is little to no systemic absorption of the medications. This is especially beneficial with steroids, which have many potential side effects when given systemically.
  2. The medications are delivered directly to the lungs where they are needed.
  3. Inhaled medications can replace or reduce the need for oral medications.

back to the top

The inhaler is attached to a spacer and mask. The spacer is a clear plastic chamber with a one-way valve on the end. A small mask is attached to the spacer and placed over the cat's nose and mouth. The aerosol medication is dispensed into the spacer, but stays in the spacer until the cat breathes it in because of the one-way valve. This is similar to how a small child or infant would receive inhaled medications.

Recommendations for Administration

  • Make sure all components are properly attached.
  • Shake inhaler for at least 15 seconds.
  • Position the cat on your lap, facing away from you.
  • Place the mask over the cat's nose and mouth and depress the inhaler. If your cat will not tolerate the actuation of the inhaler with the mask on, depress the inhaler away from the cat and then place the mask over his or her face.
  • Allow cat to breathe 7 to 10 times. Repeat as directed.
  • Note the date at which each inhaler is started so you know about when the canister will be empty. It can be a little tricky to tell when the canister is empty because it will still make a sound when depressed.
  • Most cats will be on a steroid and/or a bronchodilator. Steroids are given to decrease inflammation of the airways. Bronchodilators are given to reduce constriction of the airways due to muscle tightening in the airways. Your veterinarian will decide on the appropriate medication(s) and dosages.
  • Weekly cleaning of the chamber, mask, and inhaler is recommended.
  • The spacer and mask should be removed and separated. Soak both parts in warm water with a mild liquid detergent (no citrus scented detergents, cats don't like the smell). Rinse only the mask with water and let air dry. Remove the spacer without rinsing and allow it to air dry in a vertical position. The spacer is not rinsed because the soap film acts as an insulator against static charge. Otherwise the plastic chamber would develop static and attract the aerosol particles to the sides of the chamber. This would cause the medication to cling to the sides of the spacer, decreasing the amount of medication that is inhaled.
  • The plastic part of the inhaler should be removed from the metal canister. The canister should not be cleaned. Clean the plastic parts with warm water and mild detergent and rinse thoroughly. Let air dry.

Other Sources of Information
back to the top


« Return to Library

Cat Friendly Practice         AAHA Accredited