If your cat's meow sounds like a scratchy squeak or if they have completely lost their voice, your kitty may have Laryngitis. In this blog, our Tigard vets share with you the common causes and symptoms of cat laryngitis and how it may be treated.
Can Cat's Get Laryngitis?
Yes, cats can get laryngitis. Your kitty's larynx is responsible for performing many tasks such as letting them vocalize, which is why your cat's larynx is also known as their voicebox. If an underlying health problem affects your cat's larynx your feline friend's ability to meow will be impacted.
If your cat has been diagnosed with laryngitis it means their larynx has become inflamed as a result of a blockage in their throat, an illness, or irritation.
Possible Causes of Laryngitis in Cats
Cat laryngitis is often caused by infectious diseases such as upper respiratory infections (cat cold or URI), calicivirus, or rhinotracheitis however there are a number of other conditions that can make your cat lose their voice including:
- Object lodged in the throat
- Blockage in the larynx
- Inhaled irritants, such as smoke or dust
- Eosinophilic granuloma complex
- Growth in the throat (benign, cancerous)
- Throat cancer
- Paralysis of laryngeal nerve
Signs & Symptoms of Cat Laryngitis
Depending on the underlying cause of your cat' laryngitis they may exhibit these symptoms:
- Changes in your cat's vocalizations
- High-pitched breathing
- Dry, harsh cough that may be painful
- Increased effort to breathe
- Open mouth
- Noisy breathing
- Bad breath
- Lowered head while standing
- Difficulty swallowing
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:
- Lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Runny nose
- Discharge from eyes
- Watery eyes
Contact your vet or take your kitty to see the emergency vet closest to you if they are displaying any of the symptoms detailed above. 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.
You also need to know that when cats develop a sore throat, they may also have difficulties breathing or won't be able to eat, both of these symptoms have to be addressed by a veterinarian immediately.
Treatments for Laryngitis in Cats
The treatments used to treat your cat's laryngitis will be determined by the underlying cause of their condition.
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 feel better.
In cases where a foreign body is lodged in your cat's throat surgery may or may not be required to remove the object, but once the object is removed your feline friend will be able to meow again.
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.
Running a humidifier at home could help your kitty feel more comfortable as they recover from laryngitis. Another thing you can do to help your cat is to gently clean away any nasal or eye discharge on their face with a soft damp cloth. Your vet may also recommend boosting your cat's immune system with an improved diet and supplements.
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.