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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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Our cat has suddenly developed trouble breathing, barely

Customer Question

Our cat has suddenly developed trouble breathing, barely opens his eyes, is t
Lethargic & coughs. This came on within 24 hours. He's a young, indoor, usually very active neutered male who's extremely social now sleeps & wheezes all day & night
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr B replied 10 months ago.

HI this is DRB and I would be happy to help you with this. Unfortunately, this sounds like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy to me. your kitty is a yound male and if this were asthma she should be responding. If this is what I believe it is you really need to take your cat to ER tonight as thisis very very serious. If you can get him there they may be bale to save him. I do hope this helps you. There is no home treatment for this heart disease......sorry.....Sincerely, DRB

Let me know if you have additional questions.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Is this a heart problem if his eye is swollen
Expert:  Dr B replied 10 months ago.

If his eye is truly swollen and this is clinically important your vet should have seen that today. Heart disease in young male cats can be silent. Either way, if his eye is truly swollen and his breathing is difficult there is no good disease that has these clinical signs other than asthma. And this is not asthma. Hence the recommendation to go to ER tonight.

Let me know if you have additional questions. DRB

Expert:  Dr B replied 10 months ago.

Please let me know if you need additional help. I am here if you need me.....do you have any other concerns or questions?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
This is the cat owner now. It's actually been 48 hours since the symptoms started. The second night he didn't seem to eat or drink through the night. At the vet the doc diagnosed it as possible asthma and gave a prednisolone shot and appetite stimulant. He ate some when we got home then I had to got to work for about 5 hours. When I got home he seemed a little better, moving around but still weak. His meow is very weak sounding.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The eyes aren't actually swollen he just squints or shuts them.
Expert:  Dr B replied 10 months ago.

Hi this is DRB, I am here. I did not think his eyes were swollen.....does he have open mouth breathing?

Expert:  Dr B replied 10 months ago.

Cats will squint and shut their eyes when they are not feeling well...

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The X-ray showed inflamed bronchial tubes or whateve
Expert:  Dr B replied 10 months ago.

but no improvement in breathing in 48 hours after steroid shot? And is he still open mouth breathing or having difficulty breathing?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Steroid shot was this morning.
Expert:  Dr B replied 10 months ago.

Ok, is your cat still having problems currently with breathing?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
He open mouth breathes normally when petted usually
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
but seems like it's from the mouth or throat. The doc didn't hear anything with the lungs with her scope
Expert:  Dr B replied 10 months ago.

I am going to opt out of this question and allow another professional to help you.Sincerely, DRB

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Another professional on here?
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 10 months ago.

Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with dogs and cats.

I do have to agree with Dr. B that if your kitty is exhibiting open mouth breathing, then that is definitely worth emergency care. This is especially true if he's had a steroid shot this morning and isn't seeming better by now. If he seems to be improving, then it could be asthma that is in the process of getting better from the steroid shot. However, it can be difficult to differentiate heart disease from asthma on a physical exam - so if he's not improving with the steroid treatment, he could potentially continue to get worse and be in a life threatening situation. Both asthma and heart disease can present with no abnormal sounds in the lungs. Frequently even chest X-rays are normal. What is needed to diagnose heart disease is an ultrasound of the heart, and what is needed to diagnose asthma is a sample of fluid from inside the lung tissue. Since both of these diagnostics are costly, frequently a vet will do a trial of therapy to see how the kitty responds. If I really think a cat is asthmatic, I often will try a course of steroids to see if it helps them out. However, if the kitty is open mouth breathing, I usually keep them in the hospital in an oxygen cage and get some chest X-rays to sort out why they are so sick and to support them with oxygen therapy until they begin to improve.

Please let me know what he's up to now and what questions I can answer for you.

~Dr. Sara

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