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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30288
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My cat coughs almost non stop and her breathing is labored.

Customer Question

My cat coughs almost non stop and her breathing is labored. My vet tells me she has fluid around her heart but has not been able to rectify her problem. I fear she is getting worse. Can you help me?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Cats have coughing problems all the time but it is worrying. The Expert will know what you should do. What is the cat's name and age?
Customer: Molly - she is 8 or 9 years old.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Molly?
Customer: Her daily habits are changing. Very little energy, does not eat much and spends a lot of time under my bed.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 months ago.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Molly. "Fluid around the heart" needs to be clarified. In other words, is there fluid between Molly's heart and the pericardium - the thin lining surrounding the heart? This would be a pericardial effusion. Is there fluid in the lungfields? This can occur with left-sided heart failure and asthma. Is there free fluid in the thoracic (chest) cavity? This can occur with heart failure, neoplasia (cancer), infection, and disorders of the lymphatic vessels. It's essential to clarify what that fluid implies because treatment will vary predicated upon the cause. This is done with thoracic X-rays and if the heart is responsible, an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) should be performed to better understand what has befallen Molly's heart. For now, it's essential that Molly be prescribed a diuretic such as furosemide (Lasix) which will assist her in ridding excess fluid in her chest whatever the cause of that fluid may be. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you. I will call my vet and see if she will prescribe a diuretic. Molly is almost impossible to get to the vet and I'm afraid the stress of forcing her into the carrier could be too much considering her current condition.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 months ago.

You're quite welcome. Yes, a diuretic can be life-saving and may be the only therapy Molly requires. 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.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 months ago.

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

Dr. Michael Salkin