You can make your cat asthmatic!

If you thought that pets are to be blamed for causing allergies amongst people, then a new research has proved you wrong.

india Updated: Oct 19, 2005 18:34 IST

If you thought that pets are to be blamed for causing allergies and breathing problems amongst people, then a new research has proved you wrong.

According to the study by University of Edinburgh researchers, human lifestyles, such as smoking, dusty houses, human dandruff and pollen, can create inflammation in cats' airways and worsen asthma.

Feline asthma is a common disease, with around one in 200 cats suffering from the condition, which causes cough, wheeze and shortness of breath. Pedigree oriental breeds like Siamese cats are more prone to the disease, and household irritants worsen the disease.

"Cats with feline asthma syndrome can be made worse by living in a household where people smoke, or where there are other potential allergens or irritants. We find that bringing asthmatic cats into the hospital here and removing them from the standard 'triggers' like dust and smoke can improve their condition," said Nicki Reed, Feline Advisory Bureau senior clinical scholar at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

"Also, changing cat litter from granules to a newspaper-based product can help some asthmatic animals," Reed added.

Recent work in the field of human asthma has suggested a link between bacterial Mycoplasma infection and a worsening of asthmatic symptoms.

Research in the United States and Australia has shown this bacterium is present in a fifth of all lung fluid samples from asthmatic cats.

The Edinburgh team now seeks to study 50 cats with asthma to identify the incidence of this bacterial infection in the UK and improve treatments.

First Published: Oct 19, 2005 18:34 IST