Pet Tips

Breathing problems in cats – Pet tip 186

When we think of our pet cats getting ill, we very often think that their bodies will fight off whatever is ailing them and occasionally this is true. There are plenty of feline illnesses or conditions however that require priority attention. Just like with humans, breathing or respiratory problems can be extremely serious and require immediate veterinary care. When airways are sufficiently blocked or restricted, they need to be unblocked quickly. Irreversible damage or death are likely results if we wait too long to seek medical help for cats with serious breathing problems.

Respiratory or breathing problems in cats can occur at many different levels of seriousness and each level requires an appropriate response. Excessive and repeated sneezing for example is a respiratory condition that of course needs to be checked out rather quickly (especially if there is nasal discharge). Frequently this excessive sneezing is the result of a cat flu virus which is serious but it is obviously not on the same level as a cat that is straining to breathe or gasping for air.

When it comes to serious breathing problems which involve a cat straining to breathe, there are many different possible causes which can include; pneumonia, tumours, allergies, obstructions to the airways, heatstroke, and physical trauma to part of the cat’s respiratory system etc. The moment that you notice your cat is having trouble breathing or is panting quickly and it is not the result of physical exercise, you need to contact your vet ASAP and bring it in for an emergency checkup. If this happens on a weekend or at night, take your cat to an emergency veterinary clinic and you should have that location prepared in advance.

These days, another possible respiratory ailment that seems to be affecting many more people and pets is asthma. As we well know asthma is extremely serious and is often accompanied by wheezing or gasping for air. The causes of asthma are many but 2 common ones occur when the cat inhales irritants that hang out in the environment or as a result of an untreated infection. This may well leave the cat straining to breathe and cats at this level of distress will often try to breathe in additional air through their mouths. Cats almost never breathe in air through their mouths which is yet another indication of the seriousness of the problem.

Treatments for these problems are as numerous as the causes of the problems themselves. In the case of infections or asthmas, the treatment might well be as simple as antibiotics or steroids. In the case of allergic reactions, discovering what the cat is allergic to is obviously critical. Whatever the causes and the treatments are though, the outcome will likely be better the faster you bring the cat to the veterinarian.

3 Responses to this Article, So Far

  1. Avatar Charlie McInally says:

    My older female cat had extreme b reathing difficulties and wheezing to the point I thought she would die in front of me. The vet drained fluid off her chest (twice now) and she is on heart tablets. A second cat of mine is ow starting to develop the same symptoms really deep bad chesty cough and breathing problems. Seems like fluid on the lungs is starting in him. This looks to me to be a contagious set of symptoms as they are exactly the same. He is younger fit and normally healthy.

    Can anyone suggest what this can be caused by?

  2. Avatar patty says:

    What a informative site!
    My poor siamese Janus has had a cough(awful cough) for about 3 years.It appeared after being in a cattery but I don’t know if being there was the cause.
    However he has had many tests..blood..x-ray injected steroids.. inhaled steroids ventalin via an expensive plastic spacer.Nothing stops the coughing,which is so distressing for him and for me.
    He has a tablet a day of ForeKor which although not stopping the cough does seem to help.
    e has a good appetite,enjoys going out although tires more easily.He is 12yrs and has a very healthy companion cat also 12 who is a lovely moggy.
    I love Janus.I’m not rich but I would so wish that he didn’t cough;it is so wearing for him.
    Will cat cough mixture help? He hasn’t got asthma and his heart didn’t appear to have any problems.I am at my wits end.Other than the cough he loves life.Thanks for reading and helping.

  3. Avatar Dian L. Pribonic says:

    Oh Patty, I don’t have an answer for you but I am so sorry about Janus. I just noticed that this was written in 2011 so I pray that your medical problems with Janus have been remedied. The kitten I have now who is in respiratory distress is a feral kitten that the mother moved her first litter into my broken down garage that would be better explained as a shed. This little boy is from her second litter and is only 6 wks old and is having a terrible time. I have brought him in the house hoping to get him well. This is so very hard and painful for me to see this little one so ill. So with that said, my heart goes out to you and your close companion Janus. God Bless you both. Respectfully, Dian

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