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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10067
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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My cat is losing weight, not eating and having trouble

Customer Question

my cat is losing weight, not eating and having trouble breathing. He keeps acting like he needs to get out a hairball.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. John replied 3 months ago.

Hello. Thanks for writing in. My name is***** and I would be happy to help you. I am not set up to do phone calls but would be happy to answer any questions you do have online. If you get a request for a phone call, it is from the website and not myself. In order to give an informative and concise answer, it may take a few minutes before I respond back to you, so don't be alarmed if you don't hear back immediately if you have responded back to me within 10 minutes of my response. I do have a couple more questions, though, to see if I can better assess your situation.

How long has this been going on for?

About how much weight has he lost?

When was the last time he ate?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
It has been going on for about 7-10 days. He has lost about 3 pounds and he is a big cat. He ate a few treats this morning. I gave him some catnip also and he laid in that and liked at some of it. He did drink a little water this morning. Otherwise, he just lays and sleeps. His nose is dry and a little warm.
Expert:  Dr. John replied 3 months ago.

Thanks for the information. The trouble breathing sounds like it may be the bigger concern at this point because the weight loss may have been from not eating well enough. The problem with the not eating, though, is that when a cat starts to burn their fat stores, their liver cannot handle the metabolism of a lot of fat and ends up shutting down, which can create more severe problems. This can happen in as little as 3 days of anorexia. The breathing has me concerned about a few things. Feline asthma is a common cause, but you can get similar symptoms with other things that cause lung inflammation, such as heart worm disease (even indoor only cats can get heart worms, especially in endemic areas) and lung worms. Heart problems (especially congestive heart failure) and lung tumors can cause breathing problems as well. If you notice that when he breathes, his lungs expand and abdomen contract and vice versa, the problem most likely is happening outside the lungs in the chest cavity. That usually means fluid buildup from right sided heart failure, infection, a mass in the chest cavity or a problem with lymphatic drainage. Trouble breathing is usually a serious concern in cats because that is the first organ to fail when they go into shock. I would highly recommend getting him to your vet ASAP to get an exam, blood work and potential x-rays of the chest. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. Hope this helps.

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