The use of inhaled steroids may be particularly helpful in minimizing systemic effects of glucocorticosteroids in asthmatic
cats with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes mellitus or congestive heart failure. It is important to note that inhaled
steroids take days or weeks to be effective, and thus should not be used for emergency treatment of asthmatic cats.
Albuterol delivery by MDI can be useful during exacerbations of asthma but should not replace parenteral administration of
bronchodilators for cats in asthmatic crisis.
A variety of respiratory drugs are available as MDI, including corticosteroids [e.g., fluticasone (Flovent)], short-acting
bronchodilators [e.g., albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil)], and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as cromolyn or nedocromil.
Some inhaled medications (including most long-acting bronchodilators and combination steroid/bronchodilators) come as DPI
instead of MDI and are, therefore, not as useful in dogs and cats [e.g., salmeterol (Serevent); fluticasone and salmeterol
combination (Advair); formoterol (Foradil)]. Even when the drug is available as an MDI, not all MDIs fit the spacers typically
used for dogs and cats [e.g., triamcinolone acetonide (Azmacort)]. It is important that the prescribing veterinarian is certain
that the drug prescribed comes in an MDI that will work with the spacer device used.
Dr. Hoskins is owner of DocuTech Services. He can be reached at (225) 955-3252, fax: (214) 242-2200, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org