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Ask Dr. Jo Your Own Question

Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 2467
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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, my cat is hyperventilating and doesn't go to the toilet...

Customer Question

Hi,
my cat is hyperventilating and doesn't go to the toilet... she is a 5 year old cat who just gave birth to a litter 1 week ago. I am not sure what to do with her.
Thanks,
Seb
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Dr. Jo :

Hello,

Dr. Jo :

I'm Dr. Jo and I'm here to discuss your question about your cat.

Dr. Jo :

I'm so sorry she's having trouble, but glad you're looking for the information you need.

Dr. Jo :

You may join the conversation by typing in what you want to say, then clicking REPLY.

Dr. Jo :

That way we can chat back and forth until you're satisfied with the information I've provided.

Dr. Jo :

You are very correct to be worried about her. These are serious symptoms.

Dr. Jo :

I'm quite concerned this could be an emergency, especially since she so recently had kittens.

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

Thanks

Dr. Jo :

It's possible this could be a condition called hypocalcemia.

Dr. Jo :

Some people call it puerperal tetany.

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

OK, what is it best to do?

Dr. Jo :

She really, really needs to be seen by a vet on an emergency basis. That's what I'd want if she were my patient.

Dr. Jo :

Peurperal tetany is life threatening, and immediate treatment is necessary.

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

OH ok! thanks I will seek help from the vet nearby.

Dr. Jo :

I can't say for certain that's what it is in her case, but I'm worried about the possibility.

Dr. Jo :

Wonderful! I'm so glad you'll be able to get her the help she needs. These are very alarming symptoms.

Dr. Jo :

Do the kittens seem to be doing well?

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

she is with her kittens now and purring. yes kittens are fine and feeding right now

Dr. Jo :

Good. They need a healthy momma.

Dr. Jo :

The root cause of peurperal tetany is nursing. It depletes the calcium supply, leaving the mom quite ill.

Dr. Jo :

So she is not hyperventilating right now?

Dr. Jo :

If she is completely normal at times, I would NOT expect this to be peurperal tetany. That's a big relief, if so.

Dr. Jo :

With that in mind, I need to let you know that cats can pant just like a dog when they are super stressed out.

Dr. Jo :

That would be very temporary, however, just a few minutes, then back to normal once the situation settles down.

Dr. Jo :

So, it's also possible this is not a terribly serious concern.

Dr. Jo :

That would be good news.

Dr. Jo :

In regards ***** ***** use of the litterbox, if she is eating and drinking, she has to be producing waste of some sort. It could be possible that she's cleaning it up herself as she cleans and cares for the kittens.

Dr. Jo :

Are you still there?

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

yes sorry was calling the vet!

Dr. Jo :

Good. Whew. I was worried for a moment.

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

we are looking after her. she is purring now and feeding her kittens.

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

We will take her to the vet

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

she seems ok as normal now... but better to check!

Dr. Jo :

Good plan, yes.

Dr. Jo :

If the worst thing that can happen is you take her in and find out she is doing okay, that's a good problem to have.

Dr. Jo :

Do you have any additional questions for me at this time?

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

no thank you that is helpful!

Dr. Jo :

Remember, if you come up with other questions later, you can return to this page and post them at no additional charge.

Dr. Jo :

I'll be notified of your reply via email and will do my best to help.

Dr. Jo :

This is likely to be a busy and exciting time in your household.

Dr. Jo :

How many kittens does she have?

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

ok thank you again. she

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

she has 2

Dr. Jo :

Beautiful.

Dr. Jo :

As a side note, the small litter size also makes peuperal tetany less likely.

Dr. Jo :

Because she doesn't have to produce as much milk.

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

oh thats good!

Dr. Jo :

Is this her first litter?

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

yes

Dr. Jo :

That helps support the idea that she could have been panting as a result of stress.

Dr. Jo :

Has she been eating and drinking okay?

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

ok could constipation be a cause? she hasn't been to the toilets much...

Dr. Jo :

Constipation can occur after delivery, yes.

Dr. Jo :

She eats less for a day or two, loses fluid with delivery and nursing, and constipation can result.

Dr. Jo :

Constipation usually fixes itself, however, once she returns to normal eating and drinking.

Dr. Jo :

Sometimes there are problems with a kitten remaining inside, too. So it's good you're having her checked out.

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

she seems to eat and drink ok, at least in last few days

Dr. Jo :

Good. That's a huge relief.

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

thats what my vet said on the phone too. it's reassuring!

Dr. Jo :

Overall, my level of concern is significantly lower now. As long as she is no longer panting and continues to eat and drink okay, the chances are good that everything is going to be okay.

Dr. Jo :

She's not panting now, right?

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

no she's not but still miaowing

Dr. Jo :

Well, I'm somewhat reassured by that because it takes a good oxygen supply to meow! :-)

Dr. Jo :

Do you have a thermometer you could use to check her temperature rectally?

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

that's right! we are talking to her. hmm no we haven't

Dr. Jo :

No worries. It can be a useful tool for screening. Many patients with tetany will have a fever over 103F.

Dr. Jo :

I'll be hopeful that she'll settle down and get some rest soon. Cats with tetany remain agitated.

Dr. Jo :

Is there anything else I can help you with today

Dr. Jo :

?

JACUSTOMER-h0asyxy6- :

no thanks again

Dr. Jo :

It's my pleasure.

Dr. Jo :

I'll be thinking of your new little litter and your momma cat. What's her name?

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

What happens now?

If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
I'm just checking in to see how things are going with your momma cat. I'm hopeful she continued to settle down and is acting more normally. Please take a moment to send me an update if you can, and remember I here if you have additional questions. Just type them in below and click REPLY; there is no additional charge to you.
Thank you.

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