Breathing Issues in Cats

We often get questions from our clients about how to tell if your cat is breathing alright or not. On this blog, I have attached two videos of my cats having trouble breathing (dyspnea) for two different reasons.

Cats can have issues breathing due to many problems. Most commonly, we see young cats with asthma, any age cat with anemia, and older cats with fluid around their lungs. As you watch these videos you can see that they are quite similar. Look at the abdomen. You will notice when they breathe in and out, it is with the abdomen. This is not normal. And you can see that both cats are at rest. If you look at their gums, you might notice that they do not look the same pink color they should, but look either pale or slightly blue/purple.

Rocco, sitting on the blanket, was having trouble breathing because he was very anemic (low red blood cell count) (click link to see video). His gums were pale. He was weak and lethargic. Sadly, I said goodbye to Rocco the day after I took this video.

Norman Rat Baits, the tabby on the floor, was dyspneic due to asthma (click link to see video). He was only slightly lethargic, still eating, and acting relatively normal. Norman would also occasionally cough, and when his breathing got worse, would open his mouth and breathe like a panting dog. Norman is doing great with his asthma treatments and is back to being his usual crazy self.

When cats are coughing secondary to asthma it looks like they are trying to get a hairball. Here’s a good video of a cat coughing because he has asthma (click link to see video).

Jennifer Kim, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)Jennifer Kim, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)
Dr. Kim grew up in New York and received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. After spending two years at the National Cancer Institute performing cancer genetic research, she attended veterinary school at Tufts University, graduating in 2003. Dr. Kim completed a rotating internship at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan, New York and then an oncology internship at Cornell University. She initially began at NorthStar VETS as an emergency clinician in 2005 and returned in January 2010 to treat oncology patients after completing a residency in medical oncology at Michigan State University.

The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your family veterinarian’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own veterinarian to determine what is right for your pet. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice via this blog. The information contained in this online site and emails is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your veterinarian. We do not recommend the self-management of your pet’s health problems.

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