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Why Is My Cat Breathing Heavy & What Can I Do?

Why Is My Cat Breathing Heavy & What Can I Do?

Heavy breathing and panting in cats are typically unusual and may be signs of a health concern. Here, our Oceanside vets discuss heavy breathing in cats, what you can do, and when to see a vet.

Heavy Breathing Cats

There are situations when it is normal for your cat to be panting however, sometimes it could be a sign of a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary care.

If you see your cat breathing heavily, start assessing the situation following the criteria listed below.

Bring your kitty in for veterinary treatment if their heavy breathing is out of the ordinary or if it's been happening for a long time period.

Normal Panting in Cats

Sometimes panting is normal for cats. Think about what your cat was experiencing or doing right before you noticed the panting.

 Like dogs, cats can pant when they are overheated, stressed, anxious, or after exercising. This kind of panting should resolve once the cat calms down, cools down, or rests.

Although, this type of panting in cats is significantly rarer than it is in dogs. So if you aren't completely sure why your cat is panting, visit your veterinarian.

Abnormal Panting in Cats

If your cat isn’t stressed, too warm, or tired from exercise, heavy or labored breathing can be a sign of a serious medical problem. Bring your kitty in for an exam to ensure everything is alright

In severe cases, emergency veterinary care could be required.

Possible Causes of Heavy Breathing in Cats

Listed below are some possible health concerns that could be causing your cat to breathe heavily.

Asthma

Asthma can also be a reason for cats panting, wheezing, and coughing, it can also increase their respiratory rate.  Asthma is treatable in cats and often requires medications called corticosteroids or bronchodilators.

Congestive Heart Failure

When fluid builds up in and around the lungs, it can cause deep, rapid breathing, coughing, and panting. Treatment might include draining the fluid, as well as medications to dilate blood vessels, get rid of excess fluid, and make the heart contract more forcefully.

Heartworm

Heartworm in cats can cause breathing difficulties. Treatment for heartworm includes supportive care with corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and oxygen therapy in more serious cases. Since heartworm disease can be fatal for cats, it's essential to keep your kitty on monthly heartworm preventatives.

Respiratory Infection

Respiratory infections can make it very hard for cats to breathe, causing heavy breathing. Respiratory infections are usually viral, but when a secondary bacterial infection develops, antibiotics might be needed for treatment. Humidifiers and steam may help loosen mucus and make nasal breathing easier as your cat gets better.

Other Conditions

Trauma, anemia, neurologic disorders, abdominal enlargement, and chronic pain can also cause cats to pant or exhibit heavy breathing.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition.

Has your cat been experiencing heavy breathing? Contact our Oceanside vets immediately to have your feline friend examined and treated.

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Oceanside Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our compassionate vets can provide the cats and dogs of Oceanside with the quality healthcare they deserve. Contact us today to schedule your pet's first appointment.

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