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Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30035
Experience:  UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
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My outdoor cat in the last day or so started heavy breathing

Customer Question

My outdoor cat in the last day or so started heavy breathing and has a loss of appetite. Very lethargic too!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Andy replied 2 years ago.
Welcome! My name is***** am a UC Davis graduate, and currently, a Medical Director of a veterinary hospital.
I am sorry to hear about this concern for Raphael.
The heavy breathing is an immediate red flag for me. Disregarding everything else said, cats should never have heavy or labored breathing. So, that immediately warrants an ER vet visit. Problems could include heart disease, lung problems, nausea, anemia (low blood count), bad infection, or pain.
Now, with the concurrent loss of appetite and lethargy, we truly know this needs more aggressive evaluation and that a wait and see would be detrimental.
I wish we had a easy over the counter resolution, but I am confident you already knew that wouldn't be possible. Basic testing should include a blood test and maybe some chest x-rays. It depends a bit on the physical examination findings.
If not eating and there is nausea you could give some pepcid a.c. to help the stomach. Although not easy to give cats pills, you can give a ¼ tablet of Pepcid A.C. 10mg antacid up to every 12 hours.
Good Luck!
Dr. Andy
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There isn't any nausea that I can see. I can't afford an ER visit but hate the thought of him being in any pain.
Expert:  Dr. Andy replied 2 years ago.
I wish I could do more.
There is nothing I can suggest, safely, over the counter for possible pain for cats.
Drugs like aspirin, aleve, tylenol and ibuprofen can be toxic in low amounts and cause very bad gastrointestinal problems.
Even if you can't afford tons of tests, its still worth the ER vet assessment so they can at least start the medication needed for comfort.
Dr. Andy
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok, to the ER he goes...thank you!
Expert:  Dr. Andy replied 2 years ago.
You are very welcome.
I will pray for a fast recovery.
Dr. Andy
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Unfortunately they suspect he is in heart failure. He has been euthanized😞
Expert:  Dr. Andy replied 2 years ago.
I am very sorry for your loss.
You and your family have my deepest sympathy and support.
If anyone in the family needs any additional assistance, here are some resources that can be helpful:
Petloss support resources:
Pet Loss Hotlines
Rainbowbridge Grief Support
Dr. Andy