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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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My 14yo male cat is having a very hard time breathing. It

Customer Question

My 14yo male cat is having a very hard time breathing. It sounds like he's snoring, but its just the blockage or air. He has FIV, an overactive thyroid and stomatitis, and recently had a large nasal tumor. I think that the tumor is coming back and blocking is nasal passageway. What can i do for him to help him breathe.
He takes medication for his thyroid 2x per day and just started taking Metacam today for the next couple of days to hopefully help the swelling and conjestion.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I feel like my vet has done all they can for my cat, and I need your help. My 13yo cat was diagnosed with FIV a few years ago, hypothyroidism last year, and this year had a large tumor on his head/nasal area. He is taking Methamazole for his thyroid, which is keeping levels under control and his recent geriatric blood work came back perfect. His tumor was so bad on his head that when it moved down his face, it caused him to lose vision in his right eye by pressing it in and pushing the conjunctiva out. As it moved, it also caused a large abscess on the top of his head. He scratched his head and i was able to express any and all bacteria that was trapped under his skin. I then became a WA with doterra, started applying Frankincense to his head and eye area and the tumor shrunk to nothing. He even got his vision back in his eye, which was something the vet didn't think could happen. That was a huge victory for us, as he went through a spell of not eating for 5 days and was at death's door. He gained back weight and was doing fine.
His right nostril always drained a yellowy red mucous/puss, but i was ok with that as it was coming out and not trapped. I have continued to apply frankincense to his head and tips of ears daily.A few weeks ago, I noticed that his eye area was swelling. Before I knew it, his right eye, inner tear duct, was draining what was once coming from his nose. That was okay too...another hurdle, but one I could manage. Until a week ago when he started breathing audibly. And only 2 days ago has his breathing noises increased to what they were when the tumor was large. It sounds like a snoring man, and when he eats, he slurps because he's trying to get air in as well. At some points it sounds as if he's gurgling, but i have to way of telling him to cough it up, or sneeze it out. His appetite has also decreased by approximately 3/4 of how much he used to eat (post tumor, pre new breathing issues).
I took him to the vets yesterday and she gave him an injection of antibiotics, said we could put saline up his nose but that's risky because we dont know where or what kind of blockage he has.
Is there ANYTHING you can recommend I use or do for him? I have had a warm air vaporizer on while he is in my room, and i also diffuse Breathe, Lavendar, Cedarwood, and Frankincense for him.
Please, any help would be much appreciated.Sorry. I forgot to add,
Simba is a male DSH with the loveliest dispositon i have ever had in a cat. He is caring, gentle and kind.
I usually feed him favourite seafood flavour of friskies wet cat food, mixed 50/50 with Science Diet Gastrointestinal Fibre Response i get from the vets. The dry food is expanded in boiled water, then mashed in with the wet food and water added. He gets as much as he wants, and until recently, that was 1.5-2 cans of wet food (mixed equally with the dry mixture) per day.
He weighed 4.91kg on July 27th, and weighed 4.62kg yesterday.
I spoon fed him just under a 1/2 can of Recovery canned food from the vets earlier this morning, and he hasn't shown an appetite for more. I assume, the struggle to breathe wins out over the want to eat.
He went through a period where he wasn't eating properly, had bad diarrhea and constipation. That is over with and he had been having normal bowel movements up until this morning when he went to have a bowel movement, and only a small amount came out. I assume that is because of his reduction in food consumption. He urinated an hour ago, and that was normal.
Any help would be much appreciated
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 2 years ago.

Hi there - I'm Dr. Sara. I just logged in and started working my way through the questions and I'd like to apologize for your wait!

I thank you very much for the thorough history and write up on your boy Simba. It definitely sounds like you've had significant ups and downs with him over the last few months.

Facial and nasal tumors can be so very frustrating for owners and vets too. They tend to be very aggressive and don't respond well to treatment. At the same time, the kitties usually continue to thrive in every way except for when the tumor begins to interfere with eating or breathing. Based on everything you've described to me so far, I don't know that I can think of anything more that could be helpful. In fact, as I read your post I was mentally crossing off all of my suggestions as I see that you've already considered saline drops and tried humidifying his environment as well as tried some diffusion.

Unfortunately, if he is truly having difficulty eating and is labored with his breathing, it may be time to consider humane euthanasia. These types of tumors often leave us with little other choice because they themselves don't cause the pet to pass away, rather they deprive the pet of nutrition or air.

Please keep in mind that my suggestions are based on your description of the situation combined with my education and experience. The most important advice is the advice coming from the vet who has examined him most recently.

Simba is a very lucky cat to have you taking such good care of him, and I'm sorry that I don't have more suggestions to aid in his recovery. Please do let me know if I can be of further assistance.

~Dr. Sara

Expert:  Doc Sara replied 2 years ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Doc Sara