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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 27425
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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I have a large part Maine Coon cat who is 12 years old.

Customer Question

I have a large part Maine Coon cat who is 12 years old. We've noticed heavy breathing for months now if not longer but it doesn't seem to last long. I noticed yesterday the heavy breathing was more than usual and doesn't seem to be stopping. He acts normal otherwise, still eats. Today I can't tell if he's purring while breathing or if his breathing is making a noise. I've been reading so many things it's scaring me how it could be bad.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is the matter with the Maine?
Customer: I entered all of his symptoms above
JA: Where does the Maine seem to hurt?
Customer: He's not hurt, he's breathing heavy.
JA: OK. No obvious pain. What is the Maine's name?
Customer: My R Mr. Kitty
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Mr.?
Customer: He's overweight
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with your cat. Can clarify "heavy breathing" for me, please? Are you seeing his abdomen contract when he breaths (an "abdominal push")? Is his respiratory rate elevated over 30 breaths/minute while asleep or at rest?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I can see his sides and chest move. He was only purring earlier, no noise now.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I'm counting his breathing now.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

Thank you. I'll wait to hear what it is.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Counted 38 breaths in a minute
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

His respiratory rate is elevated and compounded with seeing his abdominal musculature move while breathing, suggests respiratory compromise. I would be more comfortable knowing that his vet carefully auscultates (listens to) and X-rays your cat's thorax (chest). Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Would you recommend an emergency vet visit? I planned on taking him to our regular vet anyway. I know you can't tell for sure, just concerned if I should take him immediately. He's acting normal otherwise.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

He doesn't sound like an ER patient but I'd like him attended to by his regular vet at your earliest convenience. Watch his respiratory rate. It's a good indicator of how stressed his breathing can become. Check his gum and tongue color. They should remain nicely pink - not whitish (anemia) or bluish/greyish (cyanosis/lack of oxygen to his tissues).

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
OK thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

You're welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.