Dyspnea is often found in cats with diseases of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It is characterized by a violation of the strength and rhythm of respiratory movements. As the cells progress, they do not receive enough oxygen, which leads to severe functional and, later, organic disorders. Allocate shortness of breath with impaired inspiration (inspiratory), exhalation (expiratory) and mixed.
Cat Dyspnea Causes
- Diseases leading to insufficient blood flow to the lungs and impaired oxygenation: diseases of the heart, vessels of the pulmonary trunk, lower respiratory tract (pneumonia, bronchitis), metabolic disorders.
- Compression of the airways, which interferes with the normal passage of air: tumors of the lungs and mediastinum, trauma, obstruction (edema, foreign bodies), underdevelopment (hypoplasia) of the larynx, trachea, bronchi, overgrowth of the thyroid gland, chest lymph nodes, helminth infestations.
- The accumulation of pathological agents in the pleural cavity or lung tissue: hemothorax (hemorrhage), pneumothorax (air retention between the pleura sheets), hydro-, chylo-, pyothorax (pus effusion), pulmonary edema.
- The accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites), in which the space for lowering the diaphragm decreases, as a result of which the volume of inspiration decreases and the exhalation is accelerated.
- Neurological pathology. Most often associated with damage to the respiratory center of the brain, resulting in impaired regulation of inspiration and exhalation.
- Systemic fungal diseases (mycoses).
- Anemia of different origin. A deficiency or pathological form of red blood cells makes it impossible to transport enough oxygen.
- Induction of drugs (sleeping pills, steroids).
- Pulmonary embolism. Acute ischemia leads to the cessation of gas exchange in the area of the lung.
- Uremia (occurs mainly in chronic renal failure).
- Bronchial asthma.
Shortness of breath that appears in a cat often indicates a serious condition and the need for an urgent visit to a veterinarian.
Symptoms of shortness of breath in cats
With the development of acute pathology, external symptoms appear within a few hours. The chronic course of the underlying disease causes shortness of breath as the hemodynamic, gas exchange, and perfusion characteristics of the lungs change.
Usually, changes begin with an increase in respiratory rate (over 35 respiratory movements per minute). Characteristic of cats is the symptom of "dog breath" when the animal breathes with its mouth open. Excitement joins, contractions of the abdominal muscles to help the act of breathing, over time, panic increases.
If the cause of the pathological condition is accumulation of fluid or bronchial asthma, wheezing can be heard, sometimes at a distance (distance). The cyanotic color of the visible mucous membranes and skin integument is rapidly increasing, some parts of the oral cavity turn pale.
Shortness of breath treatment
Therapeutic measures depend on the cause that caused shortness of breath. Increasing respiratory failure requires urgent initiation of therapy before an accurate diagnosis is made to stabilize the patient's condition. The animal is placed in an oxygen chamber to improve oxygenation. According to indications, pleurocentesis is performed (removal of accumulation of fluid or air from the pleural cavity).
Prescribing drugs that remove swelling and remove excess fluid from the body. Cardiac glycosides, bronchodilators are introduced. If the cause of shortness of breath is a bacterial infection, then broad-spectrum antibiotics are used.
If the measures taken do not eliminate respiratory failure, tracheal intubation is indicated with further connection to the ventilator.
Upon returning the cat home, you must carefully adhere to the recommendations of the veterinarian, avoid stress, control appetite and activity. This will help prevent relapse of the disease, as well as increase the quality and longevity of the animal.
With this read:
Heart failure is a serious pathology in which the heart for a number of reasons is not able to deliver the necessary amount of blood to organs and tissues. As a result, the body suffers from a deficiency of oxygen and nutrient substrates.
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart is not able to provide sufficient blood flow intensity. As a result, organs and tissues suffer from oxygen starvation and nutrient deficiency.
One of the most common heart diseases in cats is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. With this pathology, the myocardial wall thickens, the volume of the heart chambers decreases, and heart failure gradually develops.
In cats, heart diseases, both congenital and acquired, are quite common. Their characteristic feature is constant progression, the onset is usually missed due to nonspecificity or lack of visible symptoms. Since a violation of the pumping function leads to a deterioration in the work of other organs
Dilated (dilated) cardiomyopathy is a disease characterized by impaired pumping function and myocardial contractility. It is accompanied by the expansion of the chambers of the heart, thinning of the walls of the ventricles of the heart, rhythm disturbances and congestive processes in the body.
How cats breathe
The cat's respiratory system is not much different from the human. First, air through the nostrils and pharynx enters the larynx, then it passes through the trachea and bronchi, and only then into the lungs. When you exhale, the remainder of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide leave the body with the help of all the same organs.
Normally, adult cats and cats take about thirty breaths in a minute. Babies-kittens usually have about fifty breaths-exhalations per minute. If the animal is healthy, its breathing is almost inaudible to the human ear, and the pectoral muscles evenly and smoothly then lower, then rise again.
When heavy breathing is normal
It is incorrect to say that if a cat is breathing heavily, then any ailment is to blame. So, our pets usually breathe heavily in the following cases:
- Fatigue after active games or a long run,
Aggression towards another unfriendly cat nearby
Fear (the animal may be afraid, for example, of the noise of a new vacuum cleaner, the roar of a shot, a trip to a car, etc.),
Estrus period and sexual hunting,
Pregnancy and lambing (and even after giving birth, the cat can breathe heavily while feeding kittens),
Stay in a stuffy and hot room,
Panting as a sign of illness
Changing the breath itself is not considered a disease. It is rather a sign of some serious ailment. So, the severity of breathing can develop in a pet for the following reasons:
- Foreign object in the airways - very often, when the cat began to breathe heavily, the fault was a pebble, twig or bone that got stuck in the respiratory organs. If something gets into the nasal passages, the cat will begin to sneeze heavily, transparent snot will flow from her nose, her eyes will begin to watery, and breathing problems may occur. When a foreign object landed in the throat, the cat has very strong hypersalivation in addition to heavy breathing, the unfortunate animal can gag, swallow with difficulty, breathe with open mouth,
Infectious and non-infectious diseases of the respiratory system - with rhinotracheitis, calcivirosis, pneumonia, bronchitis, laryngitis, rhinitis, tracheitis, asthma and other ailments of the respiratory organs, cats breathe heavily with whistling or wheezing, body temperature rises, animals often catch air with their mouth open, sneezing. In infectious diseases, there may be yellow-green discharge from the cat’s nose and eyes, diarrhea and vomiting may develop, and sores may appear on the tongue. Almost always, respiratory diseases adversely affect the animal’s appetite and interest in games,
Pulmonary edema - a similar ailment in which the cat’s breathing becomes heavy can cause many causes: liver and kidney diseases, allergies and anaphylactic shock, injuries, heart diseases. With pulmonary edema, the cat can lie blankly, breathing heavily with his stomach and gasping for breath with his mouth open, and if you lean your ear against her chest, you can easily hear noises and gurgles. Murlyka does not eat, does not respond to the call of the owner, the mucous membranes of the animal become very pale,
Pulmonary helminths - if the cat lies and breathes heavily most of the time, refuses food, she has a dry cough and severe shortness of breath even with minimal exertion, parasitic worms that have chosen the lungs can be blamed,
Heart failure - with heart problems, the animal develops severe shortness of breath, the cat breathes heavily, coughs, its mucous surfaces turn pale up to a slight blue. In some situations, foam begins to flow from the nose and mouth,
Poisoning - if the purr accidentally swallows, for example, alkali or acid, it will probably have breathing problems, hypersalivation, convulsions, diarrhea and vomiting, pulse disturbances, trembling will begin
Oncology - sometimes in animals there is cancer of the respiratory system (for example, the larynx or lungs, etc.). With neoplasms, the cat breathes heavily and opens its mouth, often coughs (dry or with purulent-bloody sputum), wheezes, often and hard to swallow saliva. The animal’s voice can become distorted with the development of the tumor. In addition, the purr eats little, loses weight, it can sometimes rise in temperature,
Anemia - pallor of the mucous membranes, rapid or decreased heart rate, heavy breathing, apathy and refusal to eat can symbolize that there are not enough red blood cells and hemoglobin in the blood,
Injuries to the spine, ribs, pectoral muscles, lungs - with such problems, cats try not to use the chest during breathing while breathing in their stomachs. Pronounced shortness of breath, pain. Hematomas and even open wounds, abrasions can be found on the skin. The cat’s pulse can be quicker,
Hypoxia - with oxygen deficiency, which can develop, for example, against the background of heart disease or severe overwork, cats begin to breathe heavily, they can suffer from nausea (up to vomiting), motor coordination is impaired,
Obesity - Very often cats with excess weight breathe heavily even after minimal physical exertion. The symptoms of obesity, as they say, are obvious: the body weight of the animal is above normal, and the figure is more like a ball on its legs,
What to do if the cat is breathing heavily
So, there are a lot of reasons that can lead to respiratory problems in cats. What to do if the cat is breathing heavily: self-medicate or rather go with the pet to the veterinarian?
First you need to analyze whether hard breathing is caused by harmless reasons (for example, a long hunt for a sparrow in the heat or the fear of a car siren). If the breathing changes are understandable and short-lived, there is no cause for concern. However, it is better to hurry to the doctor if:
- The cat sticks out its tongue and breathes heavily for several hours or even a day,
During a visit to the clinic, the owner of the cat, which suddenly began to breathe hard, it is important to tell the doctor about all the alarming symptoms. To make a diagnosis, a veterinarian can appoint an animal to undergo a series of tests and studies (usually an X-ray, ultrasound, ECG, endoscopy of the nasopharynx, blood sampling, etc. are required). Treatment can be prescribed after an exact determination of the cause of respiratory disorders.
Dyspnea as a normal physiological reaction
Shortness of breath is a symptom of suffocation and oxygen starvation of the brain. There are no harmless reasons for this deviation, but there are acceptable physiological reactions that are the key to survival in nature. Shortness of breath can be considered an acceptable reaction of the body if the animal:
- Experiencing stress - in dangerous situations, cats often open their mouths and stick out their tongues a little. In a short period of time, the hypothalamus and the thyroid gland of the animal produce a large amount of hormones. For a timely reaction of the nervous and muscle systems, hormones must be quickly incorporated into all cells of the body. Opening the mouth and teaching breathing, the cat stimulates the heart rate, as a result - the speed of blood circulation.
- Injured - severe pain provokes shock and atrophy of nerve endings - a natural protective reaction, as a result of which, it is difficult for a cat to breathe through its nose.
- Overheated - Frequent, jerky breathing, one of the ways to quickly cool the body. Cats do not have sweat glands like humans, so an animal’s body cannot compensate for temperature contrast gradually. Simply put - a cat exhales hot air and inhales chilled, thereby “cools” from the inside.
- Experiencing severe physical exertion - oversaturating the body with oxygen, the animal provokes the central nervous system to produce additional portions of hormones. This helps animals survive in extreme situations - long hikes in search of food, escape from large predators, tiresome hunt for large prey. If a cat has shortness of breath after a game, the first reason to be ruled out is overweight. Obesity is a disease for a cat, shortness of breath is a consequence of an illness.
In nature, feline obesity does not happen, however, the diet of a pet is completely controlled by a loving owner. Owners sometimes love their murks so much that without noticing, they feed them. The cat’s stomach is proportional to its brush; a single serving of food should not exceed the volume of the stomach by more than 2 times. When buying a “delicious” cat, pampering with an additive, think about how you would look if you would eat a cake or a hamburger the size of a full pillow once a week, or even every day.
Common diseases associated with shortness of breath
Veterinary medicine and diagnostics are full-fledged sciences, it is impossible for them to learn by reading an article, even having unlearned at a university, young specialists have been practicing for 5-6 years before becoming an independent doctor. Bringing a fluffy ball to the house, every animal-loving person becomes a parent, veterinarian, diagnostician, trainer and zoo psychologist. The owner of the cat should distinguish a scratch from an abscess and a "harmless" shortness of breath from a serious symptom, be able to provide help on their own and understand when a doctor can no longer be dispensed with.
HCMP - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - A very wide in all understandings ailment and the most common heart disease of cats. It manifests itself as a thickening of the walls of the ventricles of the heart, as a result of impaired blood circulation and oxygen saturation of the blood.The disease can be congenital and acquired, in the second case, the acute form manifests itself in old age.
The inheritance risk group is the Sphinx, May-kun, British, Scottish, American breeds, ragdolls, and Norwegian forest.
The disease is very difficult in the initial diagnosis, the main symptoms are inactivity, drowsiness, avoidance of physical exertion. Even hyperresponsible owners can perceive such a condition of the pet as normal, attribute the lethargy to a calm character. In the acute form, HCMP causes rapid pulmonary edema and animal death.
Important! Cats do not have dry heart cough like dogs, so its absence is not a favorable factor. A stifled wheezing similar to a heart cough appears in the too late stages of the disease.
The only chance for a complete cure for heart disease is sluggish forms of the disease, the intuition of the owner and timely diagnosis. Pay attention to how the animal is heading to the bowl - running or walking, skip feeding and repeat the procedure again. Make the animal “take an active part”. If, after running or playing, a cat that does not have excess weight opens its mouth and sticks out its tongue - these are heart problems, but which ones are difficult to identify.
At the slightest suspicion of heart failure, do an ultrasound scan and exclude HCM, and then a “standard vet dial” - examination, blood tests, urine tests, hormones, tests for muscle parasites, x-rays.
Recently anesthetized can seriously hit the heart. A cat breathing through its mouth after surgery definitely requires increased attention. The cause of shortness of breath after surgery can be - heart failure, fever, disorders of the central nervous system, blood clots, impaired gas exchange.
Respiratory system disease - Elementary runny nose or asthma can cause shortness of breath. You also need to examine the lungs and diaphragm. Obvious signs of breathing problems can be called cyanosis of the mucous membranes and wheezing during breathing. When filling the lungs with oxygen, blood, pus - fever, swelling, suffocation, complete apathy, impotence, fainting.
Poisoning, including carbon monoxide - shortness of breath is accompanied by vomiting, cyanosis, loss of coordination, refusal to eat, dehydration, lowering body temperature.
Progressive anemia - dangerously low blood hemoglobin content. A clear sign is the metallic smell of saliva, sometimes, the unnatural smell of urine, cold ears, weakness. The cat often "frowns" with its mouth, sleeps a lot, freezes.
Be responsible - diseases that cause shortness of breath cannot be cured at home. The first and most important step in diagnosing the causes of shortness of breath is to ensure complete rest. If the animal suffocates in the complete absence of irritants, it is not possible to cope independently with the identification of the reasons.
Causes of rapid breathing
Frequent breathing in an animal may appear due to pathological and physiological causes. If we are talking about hot weather or the postpartum period, the cat’s condition is justified: her body is undergoing a stressful situation. Over time, breathing stabilizes, so you just have to wait a while and help the pet as far as possible. But often, frequent breathing can mean that the animal has any pathologies and diseases. In this case, you should contact your veterinarian soon.
Cat with ascites
Rapid breathing in a cat may indicate the presence of pathology. It is worth paying attention to other symptoms in order to say with certainty exactly what disease the animal has. It is recommended that you contact your veterinarian first if the kitten begins to breathe frequently.
To rapid breathing are related:
- blood diseases
- pathology of the heart, lungs,
- an increase in the size of internal organs due to the presence of certain pathologies,
- increased abdominal pressure.
For your information! Under the lung disease can be considered a foreign organ in the respiratory tract, trachea or bronchi. But often the cat’s breathing quickens due to a narrowing of the airways due to spasm or the presence of tumors. There may also be problems with lung expansion.
If breathing problems occur, which are accompanied by additional symptoms, it is necessary to keep the cat under constant supervision so that you can evaluate its condition. It is not necessary to make a diagnosis and start treatment on your own, since in this way you can harm the pet.
Panting can be with a cat mom who just walked around. The body of the animal is experiencing stress at this moment, since childbirth is a difficult process. Do not be afraid of shortness of breath in a cat at this moment, because soon the breath should stabilize.
A pet can breathe and stick out its tongue quickly due to overheating. They do not have a large number of sweat glands, like a person has, so they are forced to open their mouths to cool. Also, rapid breathing in an active cat appears after exercise. In this case, dilated pupils can also be observed.
Cat's cyanotic mucous membranes
If the cat often breathes after surgery (even if it was castration or sterilization), then you should not panic right away: the animal goes through the recovery process from medications. If gradually the depth and frequency of breathing begin to return to normal, then it is worth completely putting off the alarm.
However, there are times when this process is exacerbated. It is necessary to check the gums, lips and nose of the animal. If they have acquired a bluish tint, you should immediately contact a veterinarian, since such symptoms are a complication of the respiratory or cardiovascular system.
During experiences, cats also begin to breathe heavily. It is necessary to see how the animal looks in this case: it presses its ears and looks scared, hides or attacks in a stressful situation, the sick animal does not behave like that.
Note! Animals can also dream, therefore, if the pet began to breathe often while doing this, do not worry. Not everyone can sleep without dreams, and everyone will respond to what is happening in their dreams.
If the cat begins to breathe heavily with his stomach, then this means that not enough oxygen enters the lungs, which is why the body is in a stressful situation. There are many reasons for the occurrence of such a phenomenon, but an accurate diagnosis can only be made after other related symptoms have been studied.
Among the infectious and inflammatory diseases of the respiratory system in cats, the most common occurrences are:
In this case, the animal’s body tries to fight the infection, the immune system is activated. As a result, mucus begins to liberate abundantly, which contains a large number of white blood cells. This phenomenon can be considered normal, but blocked airways prevent the cat from breathing normally, which is why the pet breathes in the stomach.
Cat's cough is accompanied by nasal discharge and fever
If the animal is sick, it can often be seen with an open mouth. Then the cat begins to cough, discharge from the nose appears, and an unpleasant aroma comes from the mouth. Against the background of such symptoms, a constant high body temperature should also be noted.
Often infections can manifest themselves differently: a cat has bad stools, vomiting, and ulcers appear in its mouth. Ailments of the respiratory system can cause the animal to wheeze, whistle and sneeze.
Inflammation of the lungs can often be confused with a common cold, but there are certain symptoms that will not make a mistake. Pneumonia is characterized by the following symptoms:
- general weakness: a cat can simply refuse to play with the owner, lie in its favorite place and sleep most of the time,
- increased thirst against a background of decreased appetite,
- dry nose along with discharge of a clear or yellowish color,
- increased secretion of the lacrimal and salivary glands.
When the cat just got sick, he begins to appear noises and wheezing in his breath. Then pneumonia begins to be characterized by a dry cough, which, as the disease develops, turns into wet. If there are suspicions that this disease is developing in a pet, it is worth checking the shade of the mucous membranes: with pneumonia, they become cyanotic. Also, the animal’s hair becomes less well-groomed, it lies unevenly and does not shine.
X-ray of a cat with pneumonia
There are frequent cases when an animal develops cancer of the lungs or larynx. Neoplasms in the larynx of the animal interfere with the flow of air, which makes the cat uncomfortable.
In this case, you may notice symptoms such as coughing, panting with ajar mouth, hoarseness, frequent secretion of saliva. The cough can be either dry or with secretions of blood and pus. As the disease develops, the voice of the pet changes. Against the background of cancer, the cat begins to lose weight, her temperature rises.
Note! If such a condition in a cat lasts a long period of time, this greatly affects the overall health of the animal. Most often, the development of chronic hypoxia can be expected. Additional diseases appear, as the body weakens due to a lack of oxygen.
Pulmonary edema is a condition in which fluid accumulates in the lungs and alveoli. This can not be considered an independent disease, since edema is only a symptom of other pathologies. Together with him, a cat may suffer from:
- wheezing whistles
- rapid breathing
- foam from the nose and mouth,
- decreased activity
- pallor and bluish tinge on the mucous membranes.
If a combination of several signs of pathology is noticed, it is recommended to contact a veterinary clinic so that qualified assistance is provided to the animal.
X-ray of a cat with pulmonary edema
Pneumothorax and hydrothorax
These diseases are the most terrible for a pet. These pathologies result from injury. There are closed, open and valve pneumothorax. The latter represents the greatest danger to the animal, since air can enter the body, but does not leave it.
Important! Pneumothorax is characterized by the presence of a vacuum around the lungs, hydrothorax - fluid. These pathologies do not appear as an independent disease. They develop against a background of heart failure, anemia, kidney disease, and liver.
X-ray of a cat with pneumothorax
In the presence of these diseases, lymph congestion occurs in the veins, the functionality of the heart muscle decreases, which can subsequently result in death. Urgently need to see a doctor, because the disease can progress in a month.
Serious injury greatly reduces the viability of the pet, as infections can enter the body through the wound. Also, due to the influx of a large amount of air into the chest, the organs are cooled, which leads to a decrease in the size of the lungs.
Obesity is also not the norm for felines. If the cat too often seeks to stick out its tongue and begin to frantically inhale air after minimal physical exertion, it is worth considering its weight. Often, these pets look like a ball on their legs.
With heart failure in the animal, shortness of breath appears, the cat begins to cough, breathing heavily in the stomach. In most cases, you can notice how the mucous membranes of the pet turn pale and acquire a bluish tint. Less foam begins to go from the mouth and nose. Such symptoms appear immediately after physical activity, pass after a while.
How to help a pet
If the cat is in a state strange for the owner: it breathes heavily, walks sluggish enough, sticks out its tongue, then it is worth helping it. When it comes to a pregnant cat, which began to breathe often enough, then you should not take any action, since this is just a symptom of an early birth.
Note! The frightened cat, who has rapid breathing, also does not need excessive care, since this condition is caused solely by stress. If the animal is exhausted from the heat, it is worth helping him, it is necessary to take the pet out to a cooler room, pour fresh water.
When it becomes clear that the cat was choking on something, then she needs emergency assistance from her owner. It is necessary to spread the jaw with the index finger and thumb and use a pair of tweezers to remove the foreign object. You can help the cat in another way: you need to take the pet by its hind legs, while pressing the belly in the area of the diaphragm. Movement should push an object that prevents the animal from breathing normally.
If a kitten has breathing problems after vaccination, this indicates an allergic reaction to the components of the drug. It is required to provide the pet with instant specialized assistance, which is caused by antishock therapy.
It is recommended to leave the animal in the clinic for a while, so that when this reaction appears within a few hours after the vaccination procedure, assistance is provided without delay.
When to go to the vet
A trip to the veterinarian is required without fail if the cause of the rapid breathing cannot be identified at home. At the same time, it is worthwhile to pay attention to other symptoms that may prompt the doctor to make a faster diagnosis, since he will listen to the owner of the animal to make up the whole picture.
Pay attention to:
- rapid pulse,
- wheezing in the chest
- redness of the mucous membranes,
- lack of appetite,
- discharge from the mouth and nose.
Important! In this difficult issue, the speed of seeking specialized help is important, since the effectiveness and speed of treatment can depend on this. Procrastination can cost a pet life.
A pet cannot independently tell what is bothering him, so it is recommended to carefully monitor the condition of cats in order to detect the presence of the disease in time. If there is a combination of several symptoms, it is recommended to seek the help of a veterinarian.
Features of cat breathing
The cat’s breathing process is not fundamentally different from other mammals, including humans. When the animal breathes, air is drawn in by the nose, enters the larynx, and from it through the trachea is sent to the lungs. Further, oxygen is picked up by the blood and spreads to all organs of the body. "Waste" goes back along the same path:
When calm, the cat breathes about 30 times per minute, that is, every two seconds. The norm is the number of breaths from 20 to 40. For kittens, this indicator is slightly different and can reach 50 times.
Rapid breathing in adult cats is observed when they are frightened, agitated, or angry with something. For example, when traveling in transport, meeting a dog or during active games. You can also notice that the pet often breathes and his stomach heaves while the cat is very hot.
Another reason for the deviation is the prenatal state of the female or estrus. All these situations can be considered a variant of the norm. Very little time passes, the cat calms down and breathes again as usual. However, sometimes we are talking about deviations.
What is shortness of breath?
Dyspnea (dyspnea) - violation of the frequency and depth of breathing, accompanied by a feeling of lack of air. This is one of the most common types of breathing problems. When short of breath, the animal tries to reduce its activity.
Cats with shortness of breath at first breathe heavily, fanning the wings of the nose, and then begin to breathe through the dogs, with their mouths open. With increased dyspnea, deep ribs begin to move, and in the most severe cases, the abdominal muscles are also connected, driving air through the lungs.
Dogs can often breathe with their mouth open and without the development of shortness of breath. This happens because through the tongue, more precisely as a result of evaporation of saliva from the tongue, the dog's body is cooled. In cats, this mechanism does not work, so any breathing with an open mouth in a cat is already a sign of shortness of breath.
To understand that a dog develops shortness of breath, pay attention to the movements of its chest. In the “cooling mode” the dog’s breathing is quite superficial, the movements of the chest are subtle. In case of shortness of breath, the dog breathes deeply and often, chest movements are strongly expressed, and, in addition, “abdominal” breathing with contractions of the abdominal muscles is observed.
Pathologies associated with respiratory failure
If the cat breathes with its sides and stomach, it means that it lacks oxygen. For some reason, not enough air enters the lungs, the body begins to “panic” and tries to make up for the deficiency. The animal breathes deeply and often. Tries to capture more air.
In medicine, this phenomenon is called abdominal breathing. It can be one of the symptoms of various diseases. The most common.
- Damage to the oral mucosa. If the cat’s mouth has ulcers, fistulas, etc., it can simply hurt the animal to breathe. This process ceases to be natural. It brings discomfort, and the body tends to “breathe for future use”, swallowing more air at a time. However, this does not help. Breathing goes astray, on the contrary, its frequency rises.
- Infectious and inflammatory diseases of the respiratory system. It can be rhinitis, tracheitis, bronchitis, pneumonia or a common ARI, which is characteristic not only of people, but also of cats. Fighting infection, the immune system secretes mucus with a large number of white blood cells. This is a completely normal occurrence, but the airways become obstructed and it is difficult for air to get to the lungs. Feeling his lack, the cat breathes deeply and often with his stomach. The accompanying symptoms of infectious and inflammatory diseases are cough, nasal discharge, halitosis, and fever.
- Laryngitis, bronchial asthma, allergies. With them, superficial breathing is very often observed. It is accompanied by a dry paroxysmal cough. If a severe form of asthma occurs, the cat may suffocate.
- Tumors and hernias in the airways. Any neoplasms in the larynx, trachea, lungs are a serious obstacle to air. Naturally, the cat feels its lack, breathes heavily and often, the stomach heaves. If the situation does not last a day, two, or even a week, chronic hypoxia develops. An organism that constantly lacks oxygen weakens, system malfunctions begin, and additional diseases start. A cat suffering from oncology or having a hernia can be easily distinguished from a healthy animal. She is not only breathing heavily with her stomach, but also lethargic, eating poorly, and her face is deficient in body weight.
- Rib fractures. With such injuries, the lungs are pinched by fragments and cannot function normally. Therefore, the cat breathes often, and her stomach walks with a shaker. Suspect a fracture allows the inadequate response of the pet to touch, explained by pain. A cat can take unnatural poses, sleep constantly on only one side, etc.
- Cardiovascular diseases. Also one of the fairly common reasons. Especially in certain cat breeds (British, Maine Coon), which have a genetic predisposition to heart pathologies. In addition to the fact that the cat breathes in the stomach often and deeply with such dysfunctions, there are other symptoms. Among them - wheezing in the chest, blueness of the oral mucosa, pallor of the skin, lethargy of the animal. During a severe attack, breathing may stop, and then the cat needs emergency care.
- Foreign body in the airways. Situations when a cat choked on a bone or a solid piece of food are very common. In most cases, animals manage to cough and push out a foreign object. However, sometimes it penetrates deep enough and blocks access to air. Because of this, the cat breathes deeply and often. In this case, she also needs the help of a person.
Find out what triggered the deviation, it is necessary. Otherwise, it will be impossible to prescribe an adequate treatment. Sometimes there is no time to understand the causes of abnormal breathing for a long time, because you need to immediately save the animal.
How to provide first aid?
If there is reason to suspect that the cat choked and therefore breathes often, you need to open its jaws as wide as possible and, keeping the mouth open, try to pull out the foreign body with your fingers or tweezers. It happens that such an action is unsuccessful, due to too deep penetration of an extraneous object into the larynx.
In such cases, the cat is lifted by its hind legs and held upside down. At the same time, the stomach is compressed, pressing on the diaphragm with sharp shocks. Most likely the foreign body will jump out, and the pet will be able to breathe normally.
The cat needs emergency care even if the change in breathing is associated with a heart attack, which can be determined by the accompanying symptoms:
- cyanosis of the mucosa,
- pallor of the skin,
- rapid or vice versa slow pulse.
You should act as quickly as possible, without waiting for a critical condition. When the diagnosis of the animal is already known, they are injected with the medication prescribed by the doctor and taken out to fresh air. If the condition is so serious that the pet has stopped breathing, you need to take basic resuscitation measures:
- lay the cat on a flat surface, fixing his body so that the spine is straightened from neck to tail,
- clean the mouth of mucus,
- hold the mouth with one hand and curl the other with a tube through which to breathe directly into the nose of the nursery about once every two to three seconds (in the case of kittens, the respiratory rate is halved),
- give an indirect heart massage if the pulse is not palpable.
In most cases, the cat after stopping breathing can be saved within 10-15 minutes. When a resuscitated animal begins to breathe normally, it is imperative to take it to a veterinary clinic.
Reasons for urgent appeal to the doctor
In itself, often breathing in a cat is not always a cause for panic. As noted above, the animal could be frightened, angry, tired during outdoor games, etc.
Various chronic or infectious diseases, which the owner is aware of, can cause such a symptom, then the cat is simply treated with the methods previously prescribed by the doctor. However, there are concomitant signs when a pet needs to be taken to the clinic urgently:
- increased or too weak heart rate,
- discoloration of mucous membranes (red, blue, white shades),
- strong wheezing or gurgling in the chest,
- fluid liberated from the mouth or nasal passages.
Also, you can not hesitate if these symptoms are absent, but the owner does not even suggest, because of which his cat can often breathe in the stomach. The sooner the doctor makes a diagnosis, the higher the chances of a favorable outcome.
What examinations will be required?
To understand what caused the cat’s frequent breathing, the veterinarian will ask the owner in detail about when and under what circumstances the symptom appeared, that the animal was eating the day before, could it be poisoned, etc. Next, he will conduct a visual examination with palpation and, most likely, will send it for analysis.
In most cases, you have to donate blood, undergo an ultrasound diagnosis. X-rays are sometimes required. These methods will help to find out why the cat breathes often, and to prescribe adequate treatment.
When you look at how much a stomach rises in a pet and how often it gasps for air, it becomes really scary. After all, respiratory failure is a direct threat to life. However, you should not panic, although you can’t lose time either - you won’t get it back. If the condition worsens sharply, it will be more difficult to help the cat
You should show the animal to the doctor as soon as possible and find out why it is not breathing properly. In the vast majority of cases, the diseases are not fatal and respond well to treatment
Types of shortness of breath
Dyspnea can be physiological and pathological.
Physiological dyspnea - breathing, designed to restore oxygen levels during high physical exertion or during stress, when an increase in the level of metabolic processes requires an increased level of oxygen supply.
Physiological dyspnea is often observed in dogs and cats of brachycephalic breeds and in very active animals in hot weather. If the activity of the animal remains at the usual level, and shortness of breath stops quickly, then there is no reason for concern.
Pathological shortness of breath - this is a condition when the animal lacks oxygen in a calm state or with little physical exertion. At this point, at a reflex level, the dog or cat feels a "lack of air" and tries to breathe more actively. This is due to the fact that some parts of the respiratory system do not work to the full extent of their capabilities (respiratory dyspnea) The reasons can be different: spasms of the airways, narrow nasal passages, pulmonary edema. But not only problems in the respiratory system can cause shortness of breath.
Heart failure can also cause shortness of breath (heart dyspnea) If the heart is not able to “pump” the necessary amount of blood through the lungs, the brain feels a lack of oxygen and gives a signal to the respiratory system - “breathe more actively!” But this does not lead to the desired result, the signal to increase breathing comes again, the load on the pectoral muscles cells and the heart muscle increases, oxygen consumption by the muscles increases, and the pathological circle closes.
Other causes of shortness of breath include anemia, endocrine disorders (obesity, diabetes mellitus, thyrotoxicosis), toxic disorders (renal and hepatic insufficiency) - these are hematogenous dyspneaneoplasms of the brain and spinal cord (central dyspnea) and a number of other diseases that reduce the level of oxygen in the blood, increase its consumption or cause pathological signals about a lack of oxygen in the brain. The main thing is that for the development of shortness of breath, the patient must reflexively feel "lack of air".
You can also distinguish dyspnea inspiratory, expiratory and mixed.
Respiratory dyspnea or shortness of breath on inspiration, develops when there is a problem in the flow of air into the lungs. Such problems can be narrowness of the nasal canals, spasms of the airways, too long or edematous palatine curtain, swelling of the larynx, collapse of the trachea.
Expiratory dyspnea or shortness of breath on exhalation is much less common. Its causes may be pulmonary emphysema, asthmatic conditions, sputum accumulation in bronchitis. In the case of this shortness of breath, there is a problem with the removal of air from the lungs and its replacement with a new one, rich in oxygen.
Mixed dyspnea occurs when it is difficult for the patient to inhale and exhale. This occurs with severe diseases of the lungs, pleura and heart failure.
You can significantly help the veterinarian if you carefully observe the pet and note in which cases he has shortness of breath, how it is accompanied, how quickly it passes and how your breathing is disturbed.
How to distinguish physiological shortness of breath from pathological?
First of all, by the color of the mucous membranes.
With physiological dyspnea, the color of the mucous membranes, as a rule, either does not change, or becomes more intensely pink and even red. Even if the mucous membranes for a short time became cyanotic, then within a few minutes their color is restored.
With pathological dyspnea, the mucous membranes turn blue in the case of the respiratory nature of dyspnea or turn pale in the case of the cardiac or hematogenous nature of this pathological condition. Sometimes the origin of oxygen deficiency of the blood and, accordingly, shortness of breath, can be mixed. Then the mucous membranes with the development of oxygen deficiency become pale cyanotic or even gray.
If your pet has physiological shortness of breath caused by physical exertion, active play, transportation or visiting a veterinary clinic, then nothing bad happens. Just let him catch his breath. Within a few tens of minutes, you will notice how the rhythm and depth of breathing of your four is restored.
If you notice that the mucous membranes of your pet turn blue or pale, and time works to strengthen this condition, you should immediately consult a doctor!
First aid for pathological dyspnea
Pathological shortness of breath is a very dangerous condition.
Pathological dyspnea can be compensated and decompensated.
If the cause of dyspnea is understandable and associated with stress, and the dyspnea itself is compensated, the pet should be given the opportunity to calm down, relax and rest. If there is such an opportunity, it is advisable to provide an influx of fresh air into the room where the pet is located.
As a rule, with a lack of oxygen, the pet experiences panic, so your calm and attention will help the pet to tune in the right way and also calm down. In the event that this is not contraindicated, you can use sedatives that your veterinarian has recommended for your pet, for example, Valocordin (Corvalol, Valoserdin) or Stop-stress.
If everything is in order, then after a couple of tens of minutes the mucous membranes of your cat or dog will again turn pink, and shortness of breath will cease. If the condition does not improve, or, conversely, the condition worsens, urgently deliver the pet to a veterinary clinic. Perhaps he will need oxygen and other resuscitation measures.
If the dyspnea is decompensated - the mucous membranes are pale bluish or almost black, the condition worsens with every minute, the cause clearly does not correspond to the severity of the condition, the pet experiences increasing panic or falls into a state of prostration, then do not expect anything, but hurry up and quickly deliver the pet to the veterinary clinic, - His brain and heart experience severe oxygen starvation.
In dogs, decompensated dyspnea occurs in severe dilated cardiomyopathy (DCMP), in laryngeal edema, and in severe forms of tracheal collapse.
Decompensated shortness of breath in cats is often found in pulmonary edema in animals with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCMP). Such a cat, from a little stress or just on a hot day, first begins to breathe like a dog, then stops responding to external stimuli, and after a while can lose consciousness and die from suffocation. Help to such an animal can only be complex. In the treatment of pulmonary edema, furosemide, oxygen inhalation, and drugs that regulate impaired heart function are used.
If a cat, for no apparent reason and obvious load, suddenly began to breathe like a dog, if her mucous membranes are pale bluish in color and she is getting worse - urgently see a doctor! She may have pulmonary edema.
What to do if the pet regularly has shortness of breath?
The most important thing is to accurately determine its type and cause. Only a veterinarian can do this.
Perhaps, to make a diagnosis, your pet will need to conduct a series of examinations: blood tests, x-rays of the trachea and lungs, echocardiography ...
The main thing is that after diagnosis, you will know exactly how and how to help your pet with shortness of breath, how to remove this terrible attack, this feeling of lack of air, which is scary for any living creature.
It happens that the cause of dyspnea can be corrected surgically, but it happens that therapeutic treatment can support the pet’s body when it develops severe violations of the activity of certain vital organs, for example, the heart.
The owners of my supervised patients often call me with a question about what “like this” breathing of his pet means. A few questions make it clear that anxiety is unnecessary or what is needed. urgently deliver the animal to a veterinary clinic - stop pulmonary edema, pump out fluid from the pleural cavity or treat another, no less serious disease.
With the help of the owner, it is easy for a qualified doctor to determine the degree of danger to the patient’s life even at a distance. True, it’s often not enough to help “just phone or skype tips”. But it happens that the doctor did not get through, or such a doctor is simply not on the list of your nearest contacts. This is where the advice from the Vet-dot.rf project will help you.
Knowledge of the physiology and pathology of shortness of breath can save us, the owners of pets, from unnecessary excitement and the cost of veterinary diagnostic procedures. And, at the same time, this knowledge is able to save a pet when a disaster quietly and quietly sneaks into the life of our furry pet.
In any case, forewarned means armed. Therefore, the most important thing that a loving owner should do for his pet suffering from shortness of breath is to show it to a qualified veterinarian in time and conduct the necessary examinations.
If your pet suffers from shortness of breath - do not wait for the heat of summer, conduct a survey of the pet and determine the cause of shortness of breath. The doctor's recommendations will help you successfully overcome the summer heat without loss.