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Cat Laryngitis: Symptoms & Treatment

Cat Laryngitis: Symptoms & Treatment

Has your cat's meow been reduced to a squeak, rasp, or complete silence? In this post, our Riverside vets discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of laryngitis in cats.

Can a cat get laryngitis?

Your cat's larynx, also known as the voicebox, serves several functions, including enabling vocalization. When there is an underlying health issue affecting the larynx, your cat's ability to meow can be affected.

If your cat is diagnosed with laryngitis, it indicates that their larynx has become inflamed due to factors like irritation, illness, or an obstruction in the throat.

What causes 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

What are the most common cat laryngitis symptoms?

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

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:

  • 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.

What is the typical cat laryngitis treatment?

Treating your cat's laryngitis will depend on the underlying cause.

If there is a fluid buildup in the larynx, your vet may prescribe a diuretic to address it. In cases where your kitty is experiencing pain, a mild painkiller may be recommended to provide relief.

If a foreign object is lodged in your cat's throat, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove it. Once the object is removed, your feline friend should regain their ability to meow.

For laryngitis caused by eosinophilic granuloma, treatment may involve addressing parasites since this condition can be an exaggerated immune response to insect bites. Corticosteroids or steroids might also be prescribed.

To help your cat feel more comfortable during their recovery from laryngitis, running a humidifier at home and gently cleaning any eye or nasal discharge with a soft damp cloth can be beneficial. Your vet may also recommend improving your cat's diet and considering supplements to boost their immune system.

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 have noticed signs of laryngitis in your cat, contact us at Riverside Animal Hospital today to book an examination for your feline friend.

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Riverside Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Riverside companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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(951) 683-4200