Fruit Valley Veterinary Clinic

Breathing Problems in Cats

Cats are prone to a variety of illnesses that can affect their breathing. Especially younger ones may develop respiratory infection like rhinotracheitis, calicivirus or lungworm. These cats may have nasal discharge, runny eyes and cough or sneeze. While vaccination can reduce the risk of contracting the most common upper respiratory infections, antibiotics may be helpful in treating presumed secondary bacterial infections if the cat or kitten is having trouble breathing or eating. Antibiotics are rarely helpful when the nasal discharge is clear and the cat or kitten is eating OK. Hygiene, hydration and nursing care are essential for these cats to recover well, especially kittens. They often cannot smell their food, so putting small amounts in their mouth, or warming it up can help them eat better. Do not try this in a cat that has trouble breathing - or it might choke. Please call for an appointment especially if the cat is not eating or drinking. A humidifier may be beneficial. Avoid strong fragrances, perfumes, smoke, dust, molds, etc. Make sure you can breath in the air without irritation at cat level over the litter box.

Labored breathing: Cats that are breathing noticeably more rapidly or deeply than normal while at rest may have a serious illness. If the cat acts depressed or exhausted while breathing abnormally (especially if they seem unable or unwilling to eat and drink), then you should seek veterinary care promptly. Cats can have asthma, heartworm, heart failure, pleural effusion or other serious problems and may need radiographs or ultrasound for diagnosis in order to design treatment.