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Gareis, Hannah; Hörner-Schmid, Lina; Zablotski, Yury; Palic, Jelena; Schulz, Bianka (2022): Evaluation of barometric whole-body plethysmography for therapy monitoring in cats with feline lower airway disease. PLOS ONE, 17 (10). ISSN 1932-6203

[thumbnail of journal.pone.0276927.pdf] Published Article

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Feline lower airway disease (FLAD) is a common respiratory condition in cats. Traditionally, response to therapy is monitored only by evaluation of clinical signs and radiographic examination of the lungs. Barometric whole-body plethysmography (BWBP) is considered a non-invasive, well-tolerated form of measuring airway reactivity in cats. The aim of the study was to assess pulmonary function testing by BWBP for non-invasive evaluation of response to therapy in cats with FLAD and to investigate whether BWBP parameters correlate with clinical severity.

Material and methods
The prospective study included 25 client-owned cats, diagnosed with FLAD on the basis of their medical history, clinical signs, radiographic findings, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) examination. At three time points (day 0, 14, and 60), a standardised owner questionnaire, a clinical examination and BWBP measurements were carried out. Results of the questionnaire and the clinical examination were evaluated using a clinical 12-point score. Individual therapy was administered to all patients after diagnosis, based on the severity of disease and compliance of the cat.

The total clinical score significantly improved over the entire study period (p<0.001). Significant improvement was detected for the frequency of coughing (p = 0.009), respiratory distress (p = 0.001), lung auscultation findings (p = 0.002), and general condition and appetite (p = 0.045). The BWBP parameter Penh, an indicator of bronchoconstriction, improved significantly under initial therapy between day 0 and 14 (p = 0.009). A significant correlation between Penh and the severity of auscultation findings was seen on day 0 (r = 0.40; p = 0.013).

The study supports the role of Penh as a non-invasive parameter for monitoring initial treatment response in cats with FLAD. Further studies are needed to address whether other BWBP parameters might be suitable for non-invasive therapy monitoring of FLAD. Clinical evaluation is always essential in cats with FLAD to evaluate treatment response.

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