Amber has been a diabetic for about 2 years. His owners faithfully give him insulin shots and monitor his schedule to keep him stable. And he has done so well! Until he had a bout of Feline Asthma/Allergic Bronchitis.
This breathing problem is very similiar to human asthma, with constriction of the small air passages in the lungs. Cats can have mild symptoms with mild coughing and up to severe wheezing and open mouth breathing. In rare instances, Feline Asthma can be life threatening. Feline Asthma is most effectively treated with steroids. BUT DIABETICS can't take steroids! It messes up their metabolism and worsens their diabetes.
So, how are we going to treat Amber?
Plus, did I mention, he ABSOLUTELY will not take pills. This is a common cat attitude, and can be very stressful to the owner trying to keep their pet healthy and happy!
Amber's answer was going to be inhaled medications. Humans often take them with an inhaler. Cats can take inhaled medicine with a spacer and a mask (Aerocat). They must be trained to breath with the mask on their face. Well, Amber was just saying NO to the face mask. So we moved to nebulized medications. Nebulizing medications means they are carried in small droplets in the air that we breath. Basically, we breath in a medicated mist. Again, most humans get their nebulized medications by a mask, and that was not going to be accepted by Amber! So his owners built him a nebulizer chamber from simple components that can be purchased by anyone. They found a nebulizer online for a reasonable price. Nebulizers are small air pumps that turn liquid medication into a mist that can be breathed. They gathered simple components like a storage bin and some plumbing fittings. Now, Amber goes in his chamber for a few minutes to breath in his medicine! He is less stressed and can breath easier (and so can we)!
If you are interested in building a nebulizer chamber, please see Amber's blog post "How to Build a Nebulizer Chamber for your Asthmatic Pet" at http://www.delmartian.com/null_pointers/2013/10/howto-build-a-nebulizer-chamber-for-your-asthmatic-pet/.
And thanks to Amber's dedicated, and very handy, owners!