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OBJECTIVES

To describe the long term use of inhaled budesonide in cats with naturally occurring asthma and chronic bronchitis and to measure its effects.

METHODS

Owners of 43 cats diagnosed with asthma or chronic bronchitis, which had been prescribed 400 µg of inhaled budesonide twice daily, were contacted and information was retrieved by a questionnaire. Nineteen cats still receiving inhaled budesonide after more than 2 months were re-evaluated clinically and underwent barometric whole body plethysmography and adrenocorticotropic hormone-stimulation testing.

RESULTS

In 20 of the cats, therapy had been withdrawn by the owners. Cats (n=23) still receiving inhaled budesonide improved clinically and 19 cats that were reevaluated had significantly lower basal PENH (P=0·048) and higher PCPenh300 (P=0·049) values than before treatment. Corticosteroid-induced side effects were not observed in any cats but hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis suppression was detected in 3 of 15 cases.

CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE

Treatment with inhaled budesonide was well tolerated, resulting in improvement of clinical signs and barometric whole body plethysmography parameters. Although inhaled budesonide therapy was found to cause suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in some cats, no cats showed clinical signs attributable to corticosteroid side effects.