Hello Dr Salkin, no, I'm very happy to speak with you - I didn't respond to our previous chat as I wasn't sure you were online. Sorry for the confusion with the name - it is indeed the same cat, but we have changed his name (long and boring story to do with my husband!!) I couldn't remember whether he was still Sushi the last time I talked to you.
The interesting thing is the vet, when she listened to his chest with the stethoscope, DID think his chest sounded better. She only gave 1mg of prednisolone and said she wouldn't expect a dramatic improvement on that (trying to treat conservatively). I must say that while he had that course of treatment I did think that although the wheezing was as bad when he did it, it perhaps wasn't as frequent. But hard to call, really. I understand now there's no 100% test for asthma and that symptoms can emerge in different ways.
I need to check whether the vet did any tests like that. I may have mentioned before they took a swab of some 'gunk' (the vet's words) which came out when they removed the tube. She said it was high in macrophages (?) They didn't do a bronchial wash because they were fairly sure of their diagnosis by then. At the time, they didn't advise treatment, but I noticed him breathe with an open mouth for a few seconds a couple of weeks ago so we took him back and that was when he was put on the prednisolone. I suppose my big worry is that it's something more serious, like lymphoma, although he is otherwise healthy. Also, while I don't want him over-medicated, I don't want to leave the asthma if it should really be treated. I do trust the vet, I am just a little confused as he doesn't seem to have the classic asthma symptoms. Next time we go I will ask about the PCR testing, thank you.