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Shortness of breath?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well, I've had a bunch of postings recently about Abby, the kitty I rescued from Chicago Animal Care and Control. She is finally all better and ready for adoption, and I am taking her to her new home on Tuesday afternoon.

The only thing is, Abby seems to have sudden unexplained shortness of breath when she is stressed out or excited, or when she exerts herself just a little bit. It doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen fairly regularly when she is excited, stressed (in her carrier in the car), or chasing her toy. Sometimes, if I am twirling the feather toy around on the stick, she will just suddenly do this gasping for a few seconds and then stop as if nothing happened.

I am used to seeing this in cats that are a) really hot; or b) really over exercised. But in Abby's case, it is neither.

Has anyone seen this before? She does not cough and there is no fluid or phlegm of any kind. It is just shortness of breath and hard breathing with her mouth open. I will post a video or some clips.

In the meantime, help! I will ask the vet but I know that will mean a bunch more tests and I don't know what will turn out. If there is a better way to describe what is happening to the vet, let me know.

I just want Abby to get on the home stretch to her forever loving parents and good health!
post #2 of 12
Shortness of breath and open mouth breathing for no reason is not normal and can indicate a serious health issue. We can't diagnose her for you. She needs to see the Vet the sooner the better!

I think you're doing a good job of describing the symptoms. Tell the Vet exactly what you've told us. And yes he's probably going to do a bunch of tests. But its better than adopting her out to a family that is looking forward to a long relationship with a cat only to find out she's sick.
post #3 of 12
Oh, poor Abby. Could she be asthmatic?
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Here is her video

It is not that she has had a lot of exertion, she just comes out with this breathing out of nowhere and then it stops just as quickly. If anyone has seen this before, let me know.

To clarify the vet area, hmmmm, well I certainly did not ask anyone on this forum to diagnose the cat for me, at least no more than any other poster in this forum. I want to focus on the problem to where they are not doing unnecessary tests. Sad to say, that does happen and it has happened and it is not X or Y vet in particular.

As for seeing the vet in general, she has been there a few times a week for many weeks running and her last visit was this past Thursday.

With her last illnesses, they already did a full blood panel, many x-rays and a host of other things, so hopefully that will rule out quite a bit right there.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
cheylink, asthma- that is what I am worried about. I don't have any experience with asthma though, so I don't know what the symptoms are. She is not at all congested but just seems to have these flashes of open mouthed breathing when excited, stressed, or exerted, but not every single time, and it seems to stop just as suddenly as it starts.

When I first saw it, she was chasing the string toy. I stopped right away, thinking it might be that she had not yet fully recovered from her last illness and was still weak or not up to normal strength.

But unlike most cats that run out of breath, she did not stay panting. She just suddenly stopped and was not at all out of breath and started jumping around again. I didn't know what to think.
post #6 of 12
That is not Asthma.
I have a cat with severe asthma.
I hope a vet can figure out what is wrint with the cat.
post #7 of 12
She may be simply feeling her new healthy/safe, loving home and over exerting herself expressing her freedom. If she quickly recovers from this sudden panting, I wouldn't panic.
post #8 of 12
My female snow bengal does the same thing. She opens her mouth to breath after playing or when she gets really excited. I noticed this when I first got her and figured it out by pure luck and misfortune.

One of the vets did an xray of her ribcage area to check her heart and found that her heart and rib cage were abnormally shaped. This was a genetic defect passed down by the cats that made her. I can't recall the name of it exactly but it's where the rib cage is too narrow and causes the heart to be misshaped.

Most cats do not live beyond a few weeks if they have this but my cat is around 7 years old and is just fine. There was a surgery of some sort at a university in Indianapolis that could help this but it looked more stressful and painful than helpful. I was told to try and apply pressure to her rib cage to try and form it better when she was younger. This didn't help much... she still gasps for air and needs to take a break when my other cat plays with her, but overall she is a happy cat and is living a full life.
post #9 of 12
I remember now - it was called pectus excavatum. I wasn't able to find a real good Web site to provide you but here is a book that has a page on it:

I noticed on another Web site that another bengal like mine had it as well. Maybe it's more common for bengals - not sure.

I suggest that if you see your cat open mouth breathing to let him/her take a second to catch their breath before resume playing. The video you showed seemed a lot more extreme than my cat - my cat will actually stop playing and lay down for a second if it gets too bad.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
That is what is strange, she doesn't lie down when breathing like that, altho sometimes she will for a few seconds. Other times she does for a bit longer, but never very long.

I wanted to make a video for the vet, otherwise I would not have let them continue playing with her. I figured when we get to the vet, she will be her usual cautious/unhappy self and may not want to play.

Also it is not always when she is playing or moving around a lot, but that is the only way I am able to get her do to it (so I can film it).

My husband also noticed that sometimes if he just waves the toy around she will breathe that way- presumably out of excitement - without having moved or jumped around at all.

Anyhow I am scheduling her appointment today, for next week very likely. She is at her new home- they do know about her condition b/c they fostered her for a week while I was out of town (which is how they came to adopt her LOL). And they are very careful with her.

If anyone else has seen this before, please do post your thoughts!
post #11 of 12
My Tomas used to breathe hard and pant if allowed to play with wand toys too long. His was simply excitement and reduced by shorter play times.

I'm wondering, though, could Abby have something wrong with her heart? Has that been checked and ruled out, yet?

I have health problems that cause tachycardia and some other arrhythmias - one of the most noticeable side effects for me is when it's acting up I hyperventilate and can't catch my breath. So it's not always a respiratory problem that can affect breathing.
post #12 of 12

I have been caring for a pretty young cat and she lives outside of my house. I've taken her to my vet for check up and the vet told me that she's been fixed and he gave her the usual shots. One day I noticed that she was very lethargic and wasn't eating and she felt very warm. I took her to my vet again and she had a fever of 105. I told my vet that she needs to stay there so that they can give her the meds and keep her comfortable there instead of being outside, but Kitkat didn't like being caged up. I visited her everyday and brought her the favorite foods she likes to eat. She was there for 5 days and she had 4 more days of antibiotic to take daily. After being released from the vets on the 3rd day, I noticed that she was breathing heavily after chasing one of the cats outside. She's not herself since her illness and I really don't know why she had that fever. The vet took some blood work and nothing bad came out of it. I am worried that she may have a heart condition and/or asthma. I've been letting her in my house for an hour or two while my inside cats get locked up in their room. I want to keep an eye on her and keep her in my house, but I'm afraid she'll get more upset fighting my other cats. I cannot afford to get more testing on her and someone suppose to adopt her, but at the same time, I don't want her going to her house knowing she's not well. I feel really bad for your baby as you know I am feeling the same way. I love cats and I cannot stand doing nothing especially when they need help and they cannot speak out what's going on with them - I wished they can, I need HELP too.

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