Has your kitty been sounding a little hoarse lately? If your cat's meow has been reduced to a squeak, scratchy rasp, or complete silence, laryngitis might be the cause. There are a number of different underlying causes, and in today's post, our New Hope vets share more about cat laryngitis symptoms, causes, and treatments.
Do cats get laryngitis?
Your cat's larynx (also called their 'voicebox') has a number of jobs, including allowing your cat to vocalize. If there is an underlying health condition affecting your kitty's larynx, your cat's ability to meow will be affected.
If your vet diagnoses your cat with laryngitis, it means that your cat's larynx has become inflamed due to irritation, illness, or a blockage in the throat.
What causes cat laryngitis?
Cat laryngitis is often caused by infectious diseases such as upper respiratory infections ('cat cold' or URI), calicivirus, or rhinotracheitis. There are a number of other conditions that can cause your cat to lose their voice, including:
- Inhaled irritants (e.g. smoke, dust)
- Blockage in the larynx
- Object lodged in the throat
- Paralysis of laryngeal nerve
- Growth in the throat
- Eosinophilic granuloma complex
- Cancer of the throat
What are the most common symptoms?
Your cat's symptoms will depend upon the underlying cause of their laryngitis, but may include:
- Changes in vocalizations
- Dry, harsh cough that may seem painful
- Noisy breathing
- Head lowered while standing
- Open mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- High-pitched or raspy breathing
- Increased or obvious effort to breathe
- Noticeably bad breath
If your cat's laryngitis is being caused by a virus or cat cold, you may also notice symptoms of a common cold such as:
- Watery eyes
- Discharge from eyes
- Runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of energy
If your cat is showing any of the symptoms listed above, it's time to go to the vet. While in some cases of viral laryngitis may clear up on its own, the underlying cause could be serious and your cat will require veterinary care.
It's important to keep in mind that a sore throat could also lead to difficulties breathing and an inability to eat, both of which are symptoms that need immediate vet care.
What is the treatment for cat laryngitis?
Treatment for your kitty will depend upon the underlying cause for their laryngitis.
If your vet detects a buildup of fluid in the larynx, a diuretic may be prescribed. If your kitty is showing signs of pain, your vet may prescribe a mild painkiller to help your cat with discomfort.
In cases where a foreign body is lodged in your cat's throat, surgery may or may not be required to remove the object; once the object is removed your feline friend should be able to meow again.
In the specific case of eosinophilic granuloma-caused laryngitis, your kitty may be treated for parasites since this condition is often an exaggerated immune response to insect bites. Corticosteroids or steroids may also be prescribed for this condition.
A humidifier is a great way to help your cat feel more comfortable as they recover from laryngitis at home, as is gently cleaning away any eye or nasal discharge from your cat's face using a soft damp cloth. Boosting your cat's immune system through improved diet and supplements may also be recommended.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.