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Doc James
Doc James, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 1728
Experience:  10 years small animal veterinarian, acupuncturist
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Our cat began making funny breathing sounds about a week ago.

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Our cat began making funny breathing sounds about a week ago. Actually occassionally made some funny sounds longer than that but sporadic. About four days ago became more regular, and two days ago started making noises inhaling, like having difficulty breathing. Also noticed his eyesight seemed funny, like he would not see food in his dish and his eyes would sometimes seemed cloudy. He was diagnosed diabetic in the spring and though maybe related to eyesight. Today his nose has started to run, mucous tinged with blood I think. He seems to feel okay but has lost his appetite some. Actually will have food in his dish and go to food cabinet and scratch for food. Plan to take him to the vet tomorrow, as it is Sunday and vet is closed. I'm wondering about FIP? Or might there be something less deadly that he has?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Doc James replied 8 years ago.
When you said that he was diagnosed with diabetes, have you started treatment, or changed his diet?

What you are saying about his behaviour sounds like it could be diabetic related. There is a disease called diabetic ketoacidosis, which affects almost every part of their body. It affects eyesight, mentation, and other things.

FIP is less likely. Often they can infected early in life, but those that get the disease tend to get the "wet" form, and this often kills them in the first year or so of life. There is another form, but it is almost impossible to diagnose, and is certainly possible, but less likely.

This may also be allergy related, or herpes related. Almost all cats have herpes, which is not transmissible to humans, but can affect their nasal passages, eyes, and breathing. Allergies can also do this, and can exacerbate herpes. Or, this could be feline asthma or pneumonia.

Anything that affects their nasal passages or breathing is going to affect appetite. Whatever food you get, try heating it for a few seconds in the microwave. The warmth might penetrate the nasal passages more, and stimulate appetite.

But, please see your vet tomorrow. This could be very serious.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Yes, he is being treated for diabetes, with lantis 4.5 units 2X/day. His diet we did not change. He has always been a big eater, so in order to keep his weight down have had to strictly adhere to amount of food he is fed (1/3 cup 2X daily dry).

Does diabetic ketoacidosis come on suddenly?

Do you think I should take him to the emergency vet today, or will it be okay to wait until tomorrow morning?

He seems to have lost his appetitie completely. I went and got some canned food and he won't eat that. I will try heating it. But I'm not sure I should give him his insulin shot this evening as he is supposed to have food with it.

Thanks very much,


Expert:  Doc James replied 8 years ago.
Diet is the key to managing diabetes. Lantus is a great product for this, but it is pretty well understood that until they are on a diet specific for diabetes, that you won't be able to properly manage the disease.

I'm attaching a link for DKA

As you can see, it can come on very quickly, and can be life-threatening. If he is not eating, and is diabetic, I'd recommend getting him to a vet today. They can do a simple blood sugar and check his urine for ketones. If that is not the case, it might be a quick easy fix. But, if it is DKA, he might not make it until morning. Please be safe.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Hi James,

I wanted to let you know what happened with my cat. I wound up taking him to the Emergency clinic. It turned out he had very low blood sugar--twenty something--and was very dehydrated. After getting on IV fluids he bounced back and was able to eat last night. His blood sugar gradually went up over today to around 180 something. They've advised no insulin for 48 hours. The bloody mucous from his nose--apparently since it appeared to be only from one nostril they are thinking maybe a tumor or polyp. They did say that the congestion was entirely in his nose, not his lungs.They put him on antibiotic although all bloodwork was normal and no fever. I brought him home and he is eating, looks good and he actually seems to be breathing better, too. I don't know whether you have an opinion on what else might have caused the bloody mucous. It's going to be very expensive to do diagnostic work and my inclination may be to not do it, given it will cost so much and then if it's a tumor am I going to do further treatment. I don't want to sound harsh but he is going on 13, and even though he is a wonderful cat it's a dilemma. Anyway, I wonder if you have any other ideas? It even occurred to me that the bloody mucous could be a result of dehydration but I don't know if that makes any sense. (and that doesn't explain the funny congested breathing)And thank you for the link on the diabetes. I will go on and research about the diet. I wonder why my vet did not suggest a diabetic diet. I did not realize you had replied to me until now, I don't know how I missed it but I apologize that I am only accepting to pay you now. Thanks so much,