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Rebecca, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 17090
Experience:  Veterinarian for more than 30 years
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Hi there Ive asked here before about my 9 mo Burmese, Minko,

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Hi there
I've asked here before about my 9 mo Burmese, Minko, and today I have an urgent question. Right from when we got him from the breeder, we noticed he was a noisy breather - you could just usually hear his breath going in and out. The breeder said his mum and grandfather both make these little hoarse noises in their throat, so we shouldn't worry about that. But as he got a bit older, his breathing got worse. He really snorts and snores at times, and there's quite a whistling noise. It *sounds* as though it's coming more from his nose and throat than his chest, but hard to say for sure. His breathing rate was ok and he never panted or looked like he was trying to get more air in. His eyes are clear, and he's never had nasal discharge etc
We took him to the vet a couple of months ago. They did some xrays and scoping. The xray showed a small shadow which they thought could be anything from a chest infection to pneumonia to a lung tumour The vet gave Minko antibiotics to see if that would help, and when we took him back for the next round of xrays, they told us his chest looked and sounded much clearer, that he was healthy, happy and fine and needed no further investigation. His breathing noises hadn't improved at all, but the vet said this was perhaps just the way he was. We were very relieved.
However in the past couple of weeks his breathing seems to be worse. It's noisier than ever, although he still seems in good health, chasing birds and eating lots. But yesterday, he was asleep on his back, all stretched out, and wheezing as he breathed, and I could see his abdomen rising and falling quite a bit. And then just now, he was washing himself, looked up, and took a few quick breaths through his open mouth. That's the first time I've seen him do that. Is it an emergency situation? It's Sunday so it would be an emergency vet visit if so. He's curled up asleep in his bed now, snoring a bit but looks ok otherwise.
I am sorry to hear Minko's breathing problem has gotten worse.

My name isXXXXX am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help.

I do worry about a cat who has to open his mouth to breathe. I am also concerned if he is using his abdominal muscles to breath, which is what may be happening when you see when you describe his abdomen rising and falling quite a bit.

Are his gums a normal pink color, or do they look pale at all?

I sure wish I could listen to him with a stethoscope!

If he is resting, if his gums are pink, if he is eating and drinking normally, he might be OK to be checked tomorrow. But, if his gums look pale and he is not eating like normal, or he does any more open mouth breathing, I would get him checked today.

Please let me know what else I can answer or help with.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. His gums are pink and healthy looking. He's sleeping at the moment and looks to be breathing normally right now, can't hear any noise and his abdomen doesn'tseem to be rising and falling. What could this be? My vet has mentioned asthma in the past, but they felt they wouldn't treat it yet. He's had two lots of xrays and quite thorough investigations in the past two months, it's odd they haven't worked anything out.

Usually if a cat is open mouth breathing, or doing abdominal breathing, I worry about asthma, or fluid in the lungs.

If he is comfortable, and his gums are pink, he should be OK until you can contact your vet.

Let me know if I can answer anything else.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. Two months ago the vet said the small shadow on the lung could potentially be some fluid, but then told us whatever it was appeared to have cleared after the antibiotics. She did think he was a bit 'chesty' and might be potentially asthmatic but her advice at the time was to watch and wait. I have taken some film of his breathing over the last few days (of course he never made the sounds when we took him to the vet) so maybe that will help them to see it. Poor Minko! Obviously asthma is serious but at least that could be manageable - I'm scared thinking it's something really awful, like FIP.

I did not think of FIP! He is young, so it has to be on the list. However, usually FIP cats are sick cats: weight loss, pale gums, not eating.

I sure hope that is not his problem.


Rebecca and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

We know he has antibodies to FCoV as the vet did blood tests as part of this investigation. He eats a lot though and is probably a bit overweight if anything. Also very lively and healthy-looking. So hopefully it is not that. What a worry! I'll phone our vet in the morning, obviously assuming he doesn't decline.

If he is overweight, he probably does not have FIP.

As you probably have been told, FIP is a complicated disease. It is caused by a corona virus (FCoV), but there are more than one corona viruses that infect cats, but exposure to any of them will cause a positive titer. Most of them cause mild limited gastrointestinal disease.

The corona virus that causes FIP is indistinguishable from the others. And, in most cats, that one is not going to make them sick either. It is only certain young susceptible cats where the right corona virus, under the right circumstances, mutates into the FIP virus. We have no test for that, and no way to know which cats are susceptible.

If he is overweight and eating, I would not be too worried about FIP. FIP can cause a lot of symptoms that vary from cat to cat, but a fever is one thing you see in most of them. If he is a normal temp, he probably does not have FIP.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He has just woken and climbed up the curtain! So I guess he must be feeling alright. Thanks for the info about FIP - that does put my mind at rest. I'm thinking as you said that asthma must really be a possibility. We'll get him to the vet tomorrow. Thanks for your help.

You are welcome! Let me know if I can help with anything else.

I will be checking back, to see how he is doing.

Kindly rate my answer, but only if all your questions have been answered.

Thank you for the great rating!

How is Minko today?