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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19778
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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My older cat 14 years old may have a collasped lung or fuild. I took

Customer Question

My older cat 14 years old may have a collasped lung or fuild. I took to the vet and they told me I need to see a Specialist. She is eating and drinking just peeing and pooping out of the litter, she will not sleep in her usual spots and little coughing. She has had asthma for 6 years. She was treated with shots. What kind of treatment can be done for her and can she live with it.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr Gary. I've been practicing veterinary medicine since 2007. I look forward to helping with your questions/ concerns.
I'm sorry to hear about your cat. It sounds like she needs some x-rays taken to know what's going on. That will tell whether she collapsed a lung lobe and has air around the lungs (ie pneumothorax), or if she developed fluid in the chest (ie pleural effusion).
If it's a collapsed lobe, we tap the chest to get the lungs to re-inflate. If it's fluid, we tap the fluid to allow the lungs to re-inflate and then determine if the fluid is due to secondary heart failure or cancer in the chest. That can be difficult to determine, so an ultrasound of the heart (Echocardiogram) is done to make the distinction.
The long term survival depends on the cause. It's not good with heart disease or cancer. If this is a collapsed right middle lung lobe, which is common with asthma, then she can live with that and adapt over time.
If you want an extra set of eyes to look at the x-rays, I'd be happy to take a look at them for you. You can attach them to this thread, or post them online and copy/ paste the link.
I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Please see attached xray taken. I'm still waiting on the specialist.
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for attaching those.
That is pleural effusion. It's fluid in the chest cavity around the lungs. That is a good amount of pleural effusion, where she should have her chest tapped. This is done pretty routinely at many vet clinics, especially ER vets. If you have a 24 hour ER vet in your area, you could run her there to be tapped.
The cause could be heart disease or cancer. Sometimes we'll get an idea by the look of the fluid or the cells in the fluid. Sometimes we just don't know until we ultrasound the heart- that is how we truly rule out heart disease.
I do like to re-shoot x-rays after tapping the chest. We can see the lungs better once they re-expand. We can also evaluate the heart better once the fluid is gone.
So, in short- I'd tap the chest, re-shoot x-rays, look at the fluid under the microscope and then determine whether it's heart disease or cancer or some other cause. Refer to a cardiologist when available.
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 2 years ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Gary