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Grotheer, Maike, Hirschberger, Johannes, Hartmann, Katrin, Castelletti, Noemi and Schulz, Bianka (2019): Comparison of signalment, clinical, laboratory and radiographic parameters in cats with feline asthma and chronic bronchitis. In: Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, Vol. 22, No. 7: pp. 649-655

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Objectives Feline asthma (FA) and feline chronic bronchitis (CB) are common respiratory conditions in cats, frequently referred to as 'feline lower airway disease'. However, the aetiologies of both inflammatory airway diseases are probably different. Little is known about the differences in signalment, clinical signs, laboratory abnormalities and radiographic features between cats with these two airway diseases. The aim of the study was to investigate whether certain parameters can help in differentiating between both diseases, as distinguished by airway cytology. Methods Seventy-three cats with FA and 24 cats with CB were included in the retrospective study. Inclusion criteria were compatible clinical signs and a cytological evaluation of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid indicating either FA (eosinophilic inflammation) or CB (neutrophilic inflammation) without cytological or microbiological evidence of bacterial infection. Parameters of signalment, physical examination, haematology and thoracic radiographs of both disease groups were compared statistically (P <0.05). Results The median age of cats with FA was 6 years, and was 7.5 years in cats with CB (P = 0.640). The most commonly reported clinical signs in both groups were a cough (95% FA/96% CB;P = 1.000), pathological pulmonary auscultatory sounds (82% FA/79% CB;P = 0.766) and dyspnoea (73% FA/79% CB;P = 0.601). Abnormal radiographic lung patterns were detected in 94% of cats with FA and 91% with CB (P = 0.629), respectively. Blood eosinophilia was significantly more common in cats with FA (40%) compared with CB (27%) (P = 0.026). Conclusions and relevance The study indicates that a differentiation of FA and CB by means of signalment, a single clinical sign, and haematological and radiographic findings is not possible.

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