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Laryngitis in Cats

Have you noticed that your cat has lost its voice or doesn't sound like it usually does? There are many reasons why your cat may begin to exhibit symptoms of laryngitis. Here, our Lacey veterinary team talks about the common causes of laryngitis in cats as well as the symptoms and causes.

What is Cat Laryngitis

While we may think of laryngitis as being a human affliction, it can actually affect cats as well. Your cat's larynx has a number of jobs including allowing your cat to vocalize, which is why the larynx is also referred to as your cat's voicebox. If there is an underlying health condition affecting your kitty's larynx your cat's ability to meow will be affected.

If your kitty is diagnosed with laryngitis it means that your cat's larynx has become inflamed due to irritation, illness or a blockage within the throat.

Some of the Common Causes of Cat Laryngitis

Cat laryngitis is often the result of infectious diseases such as upper respiratory infections (cat cold or URI), calicivirus, or rhinotracheitis however there are a number of other conditions that can cause your cat to lose their voice including:

  • Inhaled irritants, such as smoke or dust
  • Blockage in the larynx
  • Object lodged in the throat
  • Paralysis of laryngeal nerve
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Growth in the throat (benign, cancerous
  • Eosinophilic granuloma complex
  • Throat cancer

Symptoms of Cat Laryngitis to Watch For

The symptoms of laryngitis that your cat displays will depend upon the underlying cause but may include: 

  • Changes in your cat's vocalizations
  • Dry, harsh cough that may be painful
  • Noisy breathing
  • Lowered head while standing
  • Open mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • High-pitched breathing
  • Increased effort to breathe
  • Bad breath

Occasionally, laryngitis in cats may be 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
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of energy

If your cat is showing any of the symptoms listed above a trip to the vet is in order. While in some cases laryngitis caused by a viral illness may clear up on its own within a couple of days, the underlying cause could be serious and may 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 deserve immediate veterinarian care.

Treatment For Laryngitis In Cats

The treatment for laryngitis in cats can vary depending on what the underlying cause is. Once your vet has completed a full examination and diagnostics they will diagnose your cat and be able to recommend the appropriate treatment.

If your vet detects a buildup of fluid in the larynx a diuretic may be prescribed. Your vet may also prescribe mild painkillers if your cat is in noticeable pain.

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 from your cat's throat they will be able to meow as usual.

If your cat's loss of vocalizations has been caused by eosinophilic granuloma 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 good way to help your cat feel more comfortable as they recover from laryngitis is to run a humidifier at home and gently clean 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.

If you are noticing any of the above symptoms in your cat please visit our veterinary emergency hospital in Lacey for urgent care.

Walk-in Patients Welcome

At Olympia Pet Emergency, you can always access our full complement of emergency services without an appointment. We treat both walk-in patients and referrals for urgent veterinary care.

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