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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19746
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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I have a 20 year old cat that weighs almost 7 pounds with

Customer Question

hi there.
I have a 20 year old cat that weighs almost 7 pounds with kidney disease.He has been breathing very heavily and seems weak. A few days ago he could only walk about 5ft before having to stop and lay down.He did have an X-ray and his heart is fine with no fluid build up, but there is a section of one of his lungs that could be either infection or pneumonia. The doctors at the vets said it doesn't look like cancer. My cat has also had bouts of asthma before, but he was a very low dose of prednisolone--.5ml for a bit but had been recently weaned off and then he started these symptoms. The vet put him on antibiotics and said to begin the .5ml daily of prednisolone. Just started the antibiotics and steroid this Friday afternoon. All last night though, my cat is breathing shallow, quick breaths (his mouth is NOT open, though), so I was hoping maybe the medication needs some time to kick in? Also, can I try giving him more prednisolone to help the breathing? Ugh!! Thanks in advance!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, just fyi, the vet says it is common for the cat with kidney disease to eventually become anemic, but they do not think he is anemic to the extent to cause these symptoms.
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 1 year ago.

Hello. Thanks for the question.

There are a couple things that could lead to rapid breathing. It could all be related to the congestion in the lung lobe. That could be pneumonia, heart disease or cancer. unfortunately, they can all look very similar and it can be tough to differentiate. I find body temperature to help a lot- it is usually low with heart disease, high with pneumonia or normal to high-normal with lung cancer. Normal is 100-102. You could take a rectal temperature with a digital thermometer to give you a better idea.

The anemia can also contribute to the breathing. The lower the red cell count, the less oxygen they are able to move around the body. They have to breath more quickly to make up for that anemia.

If the temp is < 100, then I would lean toward heart and get him rechecked. In that case, he would need to go on a diuretic to move the fluid. If it's > 103, then I would give it more time with the antibiotics. If it's 100-102, then I would think cancer or asthma and try another dose of Pred to see if it helps.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much. I appreciate your reply. I'm going to get the digital thermometer. :)
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 1 year ago.

You're welcome.

Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Gary

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