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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 26177
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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My kitten is resting but breathing so rapidly I can hardly

Customer Question

My kitten is resting but breathing so rapidly I can hardly keep up counting to check breaths per minute
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's about 100 breaths per minute
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

If Cici's respiratory rate exceeds 40 breaths/minute at rest she could be in trouble. 100 breaths/minute is very worrisome. Please check her gum and tongue color for me. They should be nicely pink - not whitish (anemia) or bluish/greyish (hypoxia/lack of oxygen to her tissues).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They are pink
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank goodness. If that rapid rate persists for more than 10 minutes it's not due to excitement or pain but, instead, respiratory compromise. I would consider a congenital (present at birth) heart defect and/or a thoracic effusion (accumulation of fluid in her chest cavity) which is preventing full expansion of Cici's lungfields. Cici will need prompt attention from her vet who needs to carefully auscultate (listen to) Cici's chest and then X-ray it. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She will take several very rapid breaths in succession and then a big breath and then repeat the rapid breath
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. This isn't normal breathing for a cat at rest. Her respiratory rate at her age shouldn't exceed 40 breaths/minute.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is this an emergency? Should I take her to my vet now or should I observe longer. She is actually asleep.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

If her respiratory rate continues to be so elevated when she's asleep, please consider it an emergency and have her vet attend to her at your earliest convenience.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Could it be a reaction to my clothes? I got them out from the cleaners yesterday? Maybe the odor from the cleaning fluid they use?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I don't know of any mechanism for the odor of the cleaning fluid to cause such a symptom. You could certainly see how her respiratory rate changes when she's in a different room from you, however.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks. She was a stray...Ben vet checked 1 week ago and cleared. Would this be possibly viral?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Yes, for example the FIP virus can cause a thoracic effusion. You're quite welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update - even after rating - at a time of your choosing.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She's had her first round of shotd. Would they prevent FIP?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

No, we rarely vaccinate against FIP because kittens are usually exposed to the coronavirus that transmutes into the FIP virus before a vaccine can be given. It's not completely protective in any event.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She's sleeping and going through rounds of slower breathing and very rapid breathing. Should I take her now?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I would, yes. Better safe than sorry.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
this is defiantly not anything in the realm of possibly normal and needs immediate attention right? I have to leave work to take her so I want to make sure .
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I regret that I'm much too far from you to be any more specific than I've been. Her elevated respiratory rate can be life-threatening. The best scenario I can imagine is that she's transiently febrile but because I can't confirm that, it would be prudent to have her looked at by her vet.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

You're quite welcome.

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