How To Tell If My Cat Has Laryngitis? Signs & Symptoms

Has your cat's meow gone missing? If your cat's meow has become silent or raspy they could be suffering from laryngitis, and it can be caused by a number of underlying issues. Here, our Wake Forest vets share some details about the condition and what to do to help your kitty. 

Can a cat get laryngitis?

Your cat's larynx has a number of jobs including vocalizations, which is why the larynx is commonly referred to as your cat's voicebox. If your cat is suffering from underlying conditions affecting the larynx, your cat will not be able to meow effectively.

If your kitty is diagnosed with laryngitis it means that your cat's larynx has become inflamed due to irritation, illness, or a blockage within the throat.

What causes cat laryngitis?

Cat laryngitis is often caused by infection diseases like upper respiratory infections, calicivirus, or rhinotracheitis but there are many other conditions that can cause your cat to lose their voice including: 

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Inhaled irritants, such as smoke or dust
  • Object lodged in the throat
  • Blockage in the larynx
  • Eosinophilic granuloma complex
  • Growth in the throat (benign, cancerous
  • Paralysis of laryngeal nerve
  • Throat cancer

What are the most common cat laryngitis symptoms?

The symptoms of laryngitis that your cat show will depend upon the root cause but may include: 

  • Open mouth
  • Changes in your cat's vocalizations
  • Dry, harsh cough that may be painful
  • Bad breath
  • Lowered head while standing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Noisy breathing
  • Increased effort to breathe
  • High-pitched breathing

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:

  • Sneezing
  • Discharge from eyes
  • Lack of energy
  • Watery eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Runny nose

If your cat is showing any of the symptoms listed above bring them to the vet right away. 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?

Treatment for your kitty's laryngitis will depend upon the underlying cause. 

If your vet detects a buildup of fluid in the larynx a diuretic may be prescribed. If your kitty is showing signs of pain your vet may prescribe a mild painkiller to help your cat to feel better.

In cases where a foreign body is lodged in your cat's throat surgery may or may not be required to remove the object, but once the object is removed your feline friend will be able to meow again.

If your cat's loss of vocalizations has been caused by eosinophilic granuloma your kitty may be treated for parasites since this condition is often an exaggerated immune response to insect bites. Corticosteroids or steroids may also be prescribed for this condition.

A good way to help your cat feel more comfortable as they recover from laryngitis is to run a humidifier at home and gently clean away any eye or nasal discharge from your cat's face using a soft damp cloth. Boosting your cat's immune system through improved diet and supplements may also be recommended.

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.

Has your cat lost their meow? Reach out to our experienced team of vets in Wake Forest today to get to the bottom of your kitty's condition. We can provide quick diagnosis and treatment for your cats laryngitis.