Lobelia for Cat Asthma
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Susan MacLean
Posted on: February 11, 2009

I have two Siamese cats. One of the brothers has asthma. We are regularly visiting the vet to receive prednisolone shots. One of the vets mentioned that Lobelia might be a solution as these cats do not travel well. We have tried the prednisolone shots and cream in the ear. The shots work for a short period and the cat does not like the cream as it seems to give him a nervous reaction and the brother likes to lick it out of the ear. Is it possible that the Lobelia might reduce his symptoms and it is hard to administer? This cat does not like taking pills.

Herbalists always look for the cause of a problem before tackling the symptoms that present in clinic. And, although many Siamese cats can be prone to asthma and have issues with their immune system, it might be useful to look at possible exacerbating issues. For a start, is anyone in your home a smoker? Do you use scented cleaning products or personal care products? Scented laundry products? Does the home have carpet or hard wood floors? Did anything in the house change before your cat’s asthma appeared? Is their litter scented? Dust-free? What does the space where they like to sleep look like? Could there be an allergy to a favourite blanket or pillow? Is there much dust in your house? How about stress levels? When do his asthma attacks occur? What types of foods does he eat? Could he have an allergy or sensitivity to his diet? How often and how long has he been receiving prednisolone? Has he had any other medications? Are his attacks seasonal? As you see, there can be alot to consider.

Asthma occurs when the bronchi become inflamed and undergo a spasmodic contraction in response to any number of causes. This may often be in conjunction with an audible wheeze. There is also a possibility of an eventual bronchial obstruction which of course can be life threatening. However, there is much you can do to help. First, look to potential allergens as listed above and remove anything you think might be a likely suspect. Next, it is worth looking at your cat’s diet as foods can play a part in respiratory and immune system health. I have been particularly impressed with the results that come from good, homemade nutrition. Please see the work of Richard Pitcairn, "Natural Health for Dogs and Cats", "The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat" by Juliette de Bairacli Levy and "The Barf Diet" by Ian Billinghurst for further information and recipes.

Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) has been used for centuries in cases of human asthma. However, the therapeutic window for this herb is quite narrow. This means that the amount required to be effective is very close to the amount that can produce side effects such as vomiting. It’s prime constituent, lobeline, also can be toxic to the nervous system if not properly prescribed. I would recommend you seek the advice of a qualified professional in your area who has experience with both herbs and animals. Such a person may be found through the Veterinary Botanical Medicine Association (www.vbma.org). It would be best for you and your cat to have the herbs and dosage monitored first hand as well as be involved in the transition from conventional drugs to herbal medicines.

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