Is your cat's meow sounding hoarse, or have they lost their voice entirely? They could be suffering from laryngitis, which could be caused due to a number of reasons. Today, our Benicia vet team explains cat laryngitis symptoms, causes, and treatments.
You might be surprised to learn that a cat can get laryngitis, but it's true! Your cat's larynx has a number of jobs including allowing your cat to vocalize, which is why the larynx is also called the voicebox. If there is an underlying health condition affecting your kitty's larynx, your cat's ability to meow will be affected.
If your cat is diagnosed with laryngitis it means that their larynx has become inflamed due to irritation, illness, or a blockage in the throat.
What causes cat laryngitis?
Cat laryngitis is often the result of infectious diseases like upper respiratory infections (cat cold or URI), calicivirus, or rhinotracheitis. There are, however, a number of other conditions that can cause your cat to lose their voice. Some of these include:
- Inhaled irritants (e.g. smoke or dust)
- Blockage in the larynx
- Object lodged in the throat
- Paralysis of laryngeal nerve
- Growth in the throat (benign or cancerous)
- Eosinophilic granuloma complex
- Throat cancer
What are some symptoms of cat laryngitis?
The symptoms of laryngitis that your cat displays will vary depending on the underlying cause, but include:
- Changes in your cat's vocalizations
- A dry, harsh cough
- Noisy breathing
- Lowered head while standing
- Open mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- High-pitched breathing
- Increased effort to breathe
- Bad breath
If your cat's laryngitis is due to a virus or cat cold, you may also notice symptoms of a common cold like:
- Watery eyes
- Discharge from eyes
- Runny nose
- 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.
A sore throat could also lead to difficulties breathing and an inability to eat, both of which are issues that require immediate veterinary care.
How is cat laryngitis treated?
The treatment option that is best for your cat's laryngitis will depend on the cause of their illness.
If your vet detects a buildup of fluid in the larynx a diuretic may be prescribed. Your vet may prescribe a mild painkiller for your cat if they are exhibiting signs of pain or 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, but once the object is removed your feline friend will be able to meow again.
If your cat has lost their voice due to eosinophilic granuloma, they may be treated for parasites because this condition is often an exaggerated immune response to insect bites. Corticosteroids or steroids may also be prescribed for this condition.
You can help your cat feel more comfortable during their recuperation by running a humidifier at home and 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.