A nebulizer uses a suspension of fine vaporized liquid droplets--otherwise known as aerosol--to administer fluids, oxygen and liquid medication directly to the respiratory system. Just as in humans, dogs and other animals, nebulizer treatments in cats are used to treat chronic asthma, pneumonia and any other condition which requires direct application of medicine to the lungs and airways.
Nebulizer designs fall into one of two broad categories: models with masks and enclosed, misting models. The former is more direct but also more invasive, while the latter is easier but takes more time. Because dosage is difficult to determine, it is recommended that the administration of medicine via nebulizers be performed by a professional, though home units used to treat chronic conditions can be used by non-professionals. Moreover, pre-measured medications can also be administered at home on a regular basis.
Nebuilizers are primarily used to decongest mucous in cases of pneumonia and chronic asthma. They are often used to administer steroids, antibiotics and other medications. Some animals prefer one style of nebulizer to another, and may be more relaxed during treatment if such accommodations are made. In alternative medicine, they are also used to administer herbal treatments with substances such as tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil. Due to their versatility, they can be used administer a wide range of medications and treat a wide range of conditions.
While useful for helping regulate an animal's hydration levels, nebulizers have minimal effect on dehydrated animals.
Always consult a veterinarian before administering any new medication via a nebulizer at home. In particular, the prolonged use of steroids and antibiotics is not recommended. While quite easy to use, it's best to receive instructions on how to use a nebulizer at home from a trained professional.
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