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Lump on chest & trouble breathing

November 13th, 2009, 01:36 PM
Here we go again....

So, I think I already mentioned it on here before, but Timmy's tori cat mom Maddie has always had a bit of trouble breathing. She would just seem to get out of breath, start wheezing and retch forward. It would be like a cat hacking up a hairball, minus the hairball part and a little scarier.

So, since Timmy passed away last week I've been on high alert. Maddie has a bit of an attitude (wonder where Timmy got his from......) so we generally go our separate ways. She much prefers my mother over me. But now I'm freaking out over EVERYTHING, including my cat having a booger in his eye :rolleyes: But Maddie's breathing problems are weird. Yesterday I decided to do my own exam of her and see if I can spot anything weird.

And I did. She has a strange lump/bulge on her chest. At first I thought it was just a lump of a fat roll (she's chubby), but I pressed around a bit more and it was very abnormal feeling. I brought her to see Timmy's vet today and sure enough he could feel it too. He said it feels like a hernia (my first thought) but that's not a normal spot for one.

I'm unsure what to think. My main concern now is a diaphragmatic hernia. I wasn't sure if you could physically feel one of those just by touching the cat though, or if that would be strictly internal :shrug:

The next step is a chest x-ray. I hate to say it but this feels like Timmy all over again. I'm not sure what to do and I can never get the cat to go into one of those coughing fits when anyone else is around (just like Timmy). And I never have a camera handy when she goes into one!

There is something weird with this cat, and until we can get an x-ray I don't even know where to start. And if it is something bad, I don't have a clue what to do. I really don't want to go through what I went through with Timothy :sad:

Does anyone else happen to have a cat who like, coughs? Maybe the 'lump' on her chest isn't even related and she just coughs? :o I really don't even know anymore.

November 13th, 2009, 04:23 PM
Ahhh crap, Kathryn. :sad: No I don't have any experience with any heart or hernia issues, so I can't offer any advice. Your vet is an :angel: for giving you so much help. :grouphug:

November 13th, 2009, 05:17 PM
im not sure what to think at this point. i was hoping it was justfat but it feels like a mass. its not round like a tumor but a flat and long bulge. thats why i think its a hernia. it is located starting at the bottom of her ribcage and mostly radiating up towards her neck. its not huge but now that ive found it its very noticiable. i hope the vet hospital that did the free xrays for timmy will let me come back... lol i can bring them another devil cat to deal with....

November 13th, 2009, 05:24 PM
I don't blame you for being concerned. Oksana has these sort of coughing/sneezing fits sometimes. The vet says it's a reverse sneeze. It sounds like she's trying to hack up a hairball. But she doesn't have any lump on her chest. I think getting your girl x-ray'd is a good idea.

You and your kitties have been through so much. :grouphug:

November 14th, 2009, 01:09 PM
Hope the Xray shows up what you're dealing with here, as I have no idea. :fingerscr for Maddie & you. :goodvibes:

November 15th, 2009, 02:11 PM
I don't know if it helps at all but Oscar has always been wheezy and has always had a propensity for getting short of breath (regardless of exertion). The weird little hairball like coughs are extraordinarily familiar as well. Now Oscar has no lump but we've been fighting the other symptoms you mention for the last year. He's currently on a whole swath of medications for asthma and allergy-related breathing problems.

Aside from the asthma medications (which your vet can certainly prescribe if they're necessary), I can make the following suggestions which helped Oscar. Most of these suggestions came from this board and the holistic vet who sees my other cats (she wouldn't work with Oscar because she doesn't like to work with animals who are on traditional medications and she felt it would be extremely unwise to take Oscar off those meds).

1. Get a high quality HEPA filter. This helped Oscar and one of my other cats although her symptoms were never anything compared to Oscar's.

2. Go grain-free. According to my vet (and it was backed up here), a lot of animals have allergies to grain and this presents with breathing problems.

3. Spirit Essences sells a product called Easy-breather ( I can't say whether or not it works or will help yet since I've only just ordered it. :rolleyes:

Oscar, between his standard meds (of which there are two pills and two inhalers daily) and the steps above, is doing great. He still wheezes on occasion but his breathing is much, much clearer and has been for a couple of months now.

I hope this helps. With any luck, the lump is just a fatty deposit and the breathing problems can be controlled. :thumbs up:grouphug::highfive:

November 16th, 2009, 08:59 AM
Wow, thanks rjesak! As weird as it is, since I brought Maddie to see the dr. she has not coughed! Atleast not that I have heard. It's very weird. I am still concerned about the lump though. I can still feel it and even though it could be nothing, I still would like to get an x-ray to reassure myself.

Maddie is my foster cat, so before she's out of my hands by whoever ends up adopting her (whenever that FINALLY happens.. LOL!) I want to make sure she is in good health. I can't knowingly adopt out a cat with issues like that without making an effort to find out what's going on.

We've all been joking she's allergic to cats :rolleyes: but hopefully I can get her in for an x-ray this week and get her checked out. I really hope this is nothing serious and perhaps she does just have allergies....

November 16th, 2009, 09:32 AM
Best of luck with the lump - I'd get it x-rayed too if it were on one of my cats! Hopefully it's nothing!:thumbs up:pray::grouphug:

November 16th, 2009, 04:42 PM
Can't remember whether you said vet had Maddie checked for a heart problem? This could certainly cause breathing problems and coughing.

November 19th, 2009, 02:41 PM
catlover- No signs of any heart problems :shrug:

We got her x-rays done yesterday... had Timmy's vet check them out today. He does not see anything significant. I'll try and get a picture up of them at a later time. They are kinda funny x-rays only because she is SOOO darn fat (12.5lb!) that you can just see how chunky she is on the x-ray. Oh, and the fatness is not related to the breathing troubles :o Promise! She's been doing this even since she was a skinny little momma cat.

Here are videos of her fits-

These aren't even severe fits compared to some of the other ones she has. They last about a minute or two in most cases.

Any suggestions or ideas welcome :D I emailed these videos to the vet so he can see I'm not totally making this up :p

November 19th, 2009, 05:03 PM
Hmmm, it does look rather similar to this video of Fritz having an asthma attack:

November 19th, 2009, 06:23 PM
Wow... my cat did that for years off and on. I never thought much of it because it wasn't a constant issue and seemed to me to just be her clearing her throat. She never had any other symptoms and lived to the ripe old age of 16 before full blown renal failure set in. Hmmmm... makes you wonder...

November 19th, 2009, 06:30 PM
It could be just a thing some cats do. My families have always had cats and I have quite a few cats now myself.. I just have no experience with any kind of breathing problems like this. It's just hard to see a cat that falls over from being out of breath.

At this point I'm quite paranoid about EVERYTHING... not suprsingly after the luck I've had lately. I haven't even mentioned half the bad animal related luck I've had within the last few weeks. ugh.

November 19th, 2009, 08:06 PM
It could be just a thing some cats do. My families have always had cats and I have quite a few cats now myself.. I just have no experience with any kind of breathing problems like this. It's just hard to see a cat that falls over from being out of breath.

At this point I'm quite paranoid about EVERYTHING... not suprsingly after the luck I've had lately. I haven't even mentioned half the bad animal related luck I've had within the last few weeks. ugh.

When it rains, it pours...

I totally understand being a nervous momma after a major health issue. My pittie caught parvo when he was about 5 months old and since recovering, I watch him like a hawk. He had heavy breathing a few weeks ago and I freaked thinking he had heartworm. One frantic call to the vet later I found out that heartworm doesn't exist in my area. The only way he could get it is if he went out of state recently... phew!

That being said, extra vigilence is soooo important. We caught Mansa's parvo very early because I noticed he just wasn't right. When you can't coax a dog off the couch for a chicken nugget, something is wrong. Dear Hubby suggested waiting for a couple of days to keep an eye on him. I insisted on getting him to the vet (we were sooooo poor at the time) and because of that we caught it early enough to treat fairly easily. Still required a 5 day hospital stay, but he's still with us. woohoo!

Don't be afraid to be a nervous mom. Worst case, you find out nothing is wrong.

November 19th, 2009, 10:48 PM
I looked at your videos, and it does look like an asthma attack. What does your vet think it is? Do hope you can get some answers.

Videos of asthmatic cats:

November 23rd, 2009, 07:35 AM
That's very much like what Oscar does. Sometimes he just sits around and wheezes and sometimes he seems very short of breath for very little reason and then other times he does this coughing/gasping thing. He's currently on a number of meds: Terbutaline, Accolate, a Prednizone inhaler, and an Albuterol Inhaler. He has very few coughing fits although the shorness of breath and wheezing still scare me when they occur.

OTOH, yesterday I burned bacon and filled the house with smoke. I did have to give Oscar his inhaler but he seemed fine after that.

It's so terrifying and one of the scary things about asthma is that there's no such thing as just making the cat comfortable (if a cat is in pain, you can give him pain medication while you figure out how to fix the problem). With asthma, you have to fix the asthma for the cat to be comfortable and that's much easier said than done.

I told the vet that I could live if he just dropped dead but I can't live with watching him not breathe to death. It's horrible and it's been one of the most stressful things I've ever dealt with. He seems to be over the hump but I'm still ridiculously overprotective and worried. I'm constantly watching him breathing so I can tell if he's short-winded and my ears are always perked for wheezing.

I hope you and your vet can get the breathing straightened out - I was on the verge of tears for months until we got him stable. I know how terrible it is to watch and you just feel so helpless...

Talk to your vet about Accolate - I think that's what helped Oscar turn the corner from constant breathing problems to the control the problem when it occurs phase we're in now.

Best of luck to you and kitty!

November 24th, 2009, 03:02 PM
Thanks everyone.

The vet believes it may be asthma. He said usually it doesn't present just randomly like this. He wants to me to get her an inhaler and see if that helps. I don't have the money right now though and i doubt the shelter will pay for it.

I'll have to order one asap. Now I've got to try and adopt out an asthmatic cat :frustrated: not to mention she's an overweight cranky adult torti cat which will make trying to find her a home even more fun

November 24th, 2009, 03:19 PM
Now I've got to try and adopt out an asthmatic cat :frustrated: not to mention she's an overweight cranky adult torti cat which will make trying to find her a home even more fun

What does she eat? Diet could be a factor in both the asthma and weight issue.

November 24th, 2009, 05:03 PM
I've been using Healthwise by Innova for dry food since it's cost efficient and a fairly good food.... does have grains but my other cats have been doing very well on it. I recently switched to Fromm Duck a la Veg though. I'm going to try and go half and half since the Fromm is expensive but a bit higher in protein and I don't want them to get bored with their food.

I still feed wet food everynight for dinner. I've been doing the same thing of using Innova Evo wet food as my 'base' wet food and I get a can of a flavoured food such as Merrick and mix a new flavour of wet food into the Evo every night to keep things interesting. They do well on the Evo and I find it very affordable to mix it with other wet foods to give my cats a variety.

I can't really make everyone happy though. Grain free gives atleast half my cats diarrhea, I can't do just wet cause Socks and Kasey refuse to eat wet food 90% of the time :rolleyes: and I've yet to find a way to do raw food to feed all the cats without breaking the bank and being able to properly store the amount of food I would need. They of course don't like the raw dehydrated foods because I tried to switch to those.

I try my best to keep all the kitties happy. When you've got so many it's hard. I'm sure we can all feel what I am talking about though :p

Any ideas are appreciated. Maybe there is a supplement that could help? :confused:

Darn kitties! I am cursed you see!!!