When your pet suffers an asthma attack, it is due to inflammation and spasm of the airways as well as excessive production of mucus. This leads to difficulty in breathing. Besides coughing, your pet may also develop wheezing, a whistling sound produced by air traveling through narrowed airways. This sound is usually loudest as your pet exhales. In a severe asthma attack, respiratory distress may occur. Dogs and cats of any age can get asthma, but it occurs more commonly in cats and in young or middle-aged pets. Asthma is particularly common in Siamese and Himalayan cat breeds. During an episode of asthma you may notice your pets breathing is shallow, rapid and labored. You may also notice that your cat or dog has to put a lot of effort into inhaling and exhaling and you may see the abdomen moving in and out quite dramatically. In less severe cases, the only symptom of asthma can be a chronic cough. Triggers for asthma in pets may include tobacco smoke, pollution, dust from litter trays, stress and cold air. Just like humans, pets may also be sensitive to certain foods, as well as food additives like preservatives and colorants. As in humans, a strong immune system can play a vital role in helping to control pets symptoms of asthma and to strengthen the body's defenses against environmental triggers. Herbal and homeopathic asthma treatment can be extremely effective in pets. Depending on the severity of the asthma, they can reduce or even eliminate the need for the synthetic drugs.