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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28570
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Just noticed this morning very labored breathing and she

Customer Question

Just noticed this morning very labored breathing and she seems to be pulling hard to get in air. She is 5 years old or so, and is an outdoor/indoor long hair cat who has always snored, but this is different.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the cat's name?
Customer: Elsie
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Elsie?
Customer: She had a decent poop this AM, but hasn't had her normal appetite during today, and is now just resting.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Elsie gets hairballs, and seems to throw them up normally, I don't think this is hairball. She eats mice and chipmunks, would she be able to throw up a caught bone in her throat eventually? Even still. it doesn't seem like an obstruction. She is really pulling hard with her diaphragm to get enough air.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Elsie. You've described an "abdominal push" indicating severe pulmonary compromise often caused by a thoracic effusion - a collection of fluid in the thoracic cavity which is preventing full expansion of Elsie's lungs. She's in trouble and needs the attention of an on-call vet at your earliest convenience. X-rays of her chest are essential at this time.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
OK, I appreciate your quick reply. Is there a safe period to wait to see if this will resolve itself? Tomorrow is the earliest I could possibly take her in, and if it is safe to wait longer, I'd like to know since I'm not sure about spending for x-rays. Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

Not really. When these cats get to this point they can die peracutely (suddenly) due to anoxia - lack of oxygen to their tissues. I understand your logistical constraints, however.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks Michael, I appreciate your answers. She's resting in a cool spot right now, seems comfortable, and I'm keeping an eye on her. We'll see. Best, David
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

You're quite welcome. I'll think good thoughts for Elsie. 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.