Presentation Recap: Tips for using aerosols in cats


Use these six pointers to ensure the successful use of inhalants in asthmatic cats.

Aerosol inhalers (for both corticosteroids and bronchodilators) are used successfully in small-animal medicine, says Margie Scherk, DVM, DABVP (feline practice), speaking at the CVC in Kansas City.

Fluticasone, an inhaled corticosteroid, comes in three dose strengths (44, 110, 220 µg/dose). Beta2-adrenergic agonists come in a selection of albuterol, salmeterol, or terbutaline. These may be delivered with the use of an Aerokat (, held over the cat's muzzle for 30 seconds, according to Dr. Scherk.

Drug delivery remains a significant question, both getting effective drug concentrations into the affected airways as well as avoiding excess drug and the potential for overdosing these small animals. Dr. Scherk says an excellent website resource is available for clients to learn more about their asthmatic cats and the use of inhaled medications:

Dr. Scherk offers these tips to ensure the successful use of inhalants in asthmatic cats:

  • Acclimate a cat to the device over several days, letting the cat investigate it on the floor or by the food bowl.

  • Reward fearless approaches to the device (with praise, food, catnip, stroking), and start placing it near the cat's face.

  • Practice with the mask over the cat's face without anything in the chamber, and reward the cat for not reacting adversely.

  • Preload the chamber with a puff of albuterol (in addition to the dose required).

  • Place the mask over the muzzle, and be sure to hold it for four to six breaths.

  • Administer the bronchodilator (albuterol) first, to allow better delivery of the corticosteroid.

Dr. Scherk will conduct a Specialty Focus wet lab: "Clinical Tools and Procedures in Feline Medicine" at the CVC in San Diego, Oct. 26-30. (Learn more about this conference at

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