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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24412
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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Night before last, I noticed that my 10 month old cat,

Customer Question

Night before last, I noticed that my 10 month old cat, Gollum, was breathing very fast while laying next to me on the sofa. Yesterday his behavior was very different all day; he didn't sleep on the bed with me, didn't follow me around the house, not interested in his favorite toy, no interest in his favorite treats, didn't snuggle up next to me on sofa, didn't come running when I filled dry food dish. Each time I checked on him, he was sitting in a position I call a cat loaf, with his elbows sticking out to the sides and still breathing rapidly. He slept from 9pm to about 5am. I checked on him every hour and rapid breathing continued. This morning he ate some dry food, used litter box to pee and his breathing has slowed a bit. No sign of diarrhea, he purred when I pet him, which is a normal thing he didn't do yesterday. He is 100% indoor cat, has had all his shots, was neutered February 18th and seemed to recover and was acting normal up to Saturday night. There are no chewed up plants, no chemicals or poisons he could get to. The only odd thing I noticed was his 2 foot tall cat tower he likes to sharpen his claws on was tipped over. Since he ate, drank and used litter box and his breathing has slowed down, should I just watch him for the next 24 hours or should I be rushing to vet clinic right away?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

I'm concerned about his breathing. I need you to do two things for me:

1) Check his gum and tongue color. They should be nicely pink - not whitish (anemia) or bluish/greyish (cyanosis/hypoxia/lack of oxygen to his tissues).

2) Check his respiratory rate at rest. He should be taking less than 40 breaths per minute at rest.

Let me know what you find, please.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
His breathing is almost 80 breaths per minute. His tongue, gums and roof of his mouth is slightly less pink than my other cat's.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

Gollum needs to see his vet at your earliest convenience. That respiratory rate will exhaust him. It indicates respiratory compromise often due to a thoracic effusion (collection of fluid in the chest cavity), primary lung disease (asthma, e.g.), or cardiac disease (cardiomyopathy/heart muscle disease). Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin