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petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7381
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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My cat is breathing heavily. His mouth is open slightly and

Customer Question

Hi. My cat is breathing heavily. His mouth is open slightly and sides at moving when he breathes.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  petdrz replied 10 months ago.

Hello. Welcome to JustAnswer. I am Dr Z. I'm reviewing your question now, and will post back with a reply ASAP.

Expert:  petdrz replied 10 months ago.

Thanks for trusting me to help you and Watson today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 30 years of experience and would be happy work with you.

Can you tell me how long he has been like this?

Has he been eating and drinking today?

Is he moving about or is he just laying around?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
We just noticed it. We were away for the holdiday and he and his brother cat had a pet sitter. He seemed fine last nights. Today he kept to himself which isn't like him. I went to give him dinner and he was making a sad meow. I noticed his breathing. So within the last 12 hours. I just gave him his bowl of wet food and he did eat it. Well, at least licked the gravy all out. Right now he is laying under the Christmas tree.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
We built a fire last night in the fireplace and it got smoky. The flu wasn't open enough. But we have since aired the house out.
All of our other animals seem fine. Watson just seems low energy.
Expert:  petdrz replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for the prompt reply. His symptoms are very concerning and should be considered an emergency. Open mouth breathing along with an increased respiratory rate can be suggestive of either pulmonary disease or cardiac disease. In a cat of his age, asthma has to be on the list, and it is possible that he smoky air last night flared it up. Here is more information about astma in cats. LINK HERE

The other possibility of cardiac disease has to be considered. In that case, the most common form would be hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. These cats will develop distress due to poor circulation and also often times fluid build up around their lungs which does not allow them to expand their lungs and oxygenate well. Here is a link with more info about that LINK HERE

Expert:  petdrz replied 10 months ago.

I would definitely urge you to seek ER veterinary intervention tonight so that a diagnosis can be made and treatment can be administered. Take care to try and keep him calm as in either of these scenarios, they can be very fragile patients and stress can exacerbate further respiratory distress.

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you.

My posted replies are for general education only and not meant as a diagnosis. Only after a thorough veterinary examination can a diagnosis for your pet be made and specific treatments be advised or medications be prescribed.

Dr Z

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
He has not breathed through his mouth more than once or twice. (And trust me I've been watching him like a hawk). It's more the sides of him rising and falling. He finished all his dinner. He just came out from under the tree to get petted by us.
Unfortunately, there is no vet care available where we are on a Sunday night. I will take him tomorrow. Anything at all we can do for him tonight?
Expert:  petdrz replied 10 months ago.

There is really nothing that you can do at home other than to keep him calm and unstressed. It is certainly a good sign that he has eaten normally tonight. I would be more suspicious of possible pulmonary disease (asthma) versus cardiac disease from what you have described, but it certainly warrants evaluation. Good luck with him and please keep me posted as to how things progress.