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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 11632
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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Hiya my cat had problems breathing and was off his food. The

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Hiya my cat had problems breathing and was off his food. The vet said he had a sore throat kept him in over night and let him home yesterday with antibiotics. We was better yesterday but is back off his food again today and wheezy. Any ideas how I can help him.

Hello Natalie, I'm Dr. Deb and I'll do my best to help you today.

I'm sorry for this concern for Chewy but I do have a few questions to ask about him first, if you don't mind:

1. Did your vet provide you with a diagnosis? An upper respiratory infection perhaps?
2. Can you be more specific when you say Chewy was have problems breathing? Sneezing, coughing, open-mouth breathing, for example?
3. What antibiotics is he taking?

There may be a slight delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you. Thanks for your patience. Deb

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hiya, no the vet didn't give a diagnosis just said he was responding to antibiotics had eaten and was miaowing again ( although I haven't heard anything other then him wheezing since Thursday night when I first noticed he was off his food and looking lethargic).
He was wheezing very heavily Thursday breathing with his mouth open and gagging. He also had a very dry nose and his eyes were all glazed over. He has started to wheeze again with his mouth open but not as badly and this had stopped last night.
He has been given 10 Clavaseptin pal tabs 50mg one to be take every 12 hours started Friday night.

Thanks for the additional information.

The antibiotics are what I'd have dispensed if I suspected an upper respiratory infection or Feline Flu which is why I'm assuming your vet dispensed them for you to give at home.
I don't like it when a cat open-mouths breaths, but if he's showing improvement with this symptom, then the antibiotics must be helping.

Wheezing and open mouth breathing as you describe can also be secondary to asthma; however, these cats typically won't respond to antibiotics (they need steroids) so this is less likely to be his issue. Heart disease can also cause open mouth breathing and lethargy but, again, is not usually responsive to antibiotics.

I suspect that he has Feline Flu which often gets worse before it gets better. But I do have a few additional suggestions for you which may help:

1. Nasal decongestant drops can be helpful although many cats don’t like them very much as you can imagine. The medicated ones should only be used for three days in a row, with one drop in each nostril; otherwise what’s known as a rebound effect may occur
a. Pediatric otrivin=0.05% xylometazoline

b. “Little Noses" Decongestant Nose Drops with phenylephrine hydrochloride
c. Afrin (oxymetazoline)

d. "Little Noses" Saline Spray/Drops non medicated which can be used more than three days in a row.

3. You can place him in a bathroom with hot water running so that the steam can loosen up secretions or place him in a room with a dehumidifier to moisten the air.


4. Antihistamines can help some cats but I might be hesitant to use them in this case because they can cause sedation. We won't know if he's getting worse or if he's only having a side effect to the drugs. But ones which are safe include:

Diphenhydramine at a dose of 1/2 of a 25 mg tablet given twice daily or

Chlorpheniramine at a dose of 2-4 mgtwice a day or

Loratadine (Claritin)at a dose of 2.5-5 mg twice a day


It is important to ensure that the formulations used contain ONLY the antihistamine and are not combination products (e.g. Claritin-D contains pseudoephedrine, which could cause very significant adverse effects in a cats.


5.Force feeding is sometimes necessary in these cats if they aren’t eating.You can mix canned food (or human baby food but avoid onion and garlic formulations) with a lot of water in a blender and use an eye dropper or syringe to squirt some of this liquid into the mouth.

I hope this helps and that you see improvement soon. Deb

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks so much. Chewy also has a sister who this evening has also come over lethargic and is now also wheezing. Could this infection be contagious? It's strange that they are both showing the same symptoms. Natalie

You're more than welcome.

The fact that Chew's sister is also now showing symptoms pretty much confirms (for me, anyway), that you're dealing with a contagious condition...most likely the Feline Flu as I previously mentioned.

I suspect that her sister may be running a mild fever which is why she's lethargic; an elevated temperature is common with this condition.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks will I need to take her to the vet for antibiotics too or will it go away on its own (if I also use some of your advise above). What is a rough timescale how long it may last?

My pleasure:)

Some upper respiratory infections will simply run their course (usually about 10-14 days or a little less) especially if there is not a secondary bacterial component involved.
One way to tell if this is the case is to monitor the color of any nasal or eye discharge which might develop. If it's green or yellow in color, then I'll usually dispense antibiotics.

Since most of these infections are viruses (very similar in a human), antibiotics won't shorten the course of the disease if that's all that's going on. But more often than not, there is a bacterial component as well.

You could see how Chewy's sister does over the course of the next few days after you try some of my suggestions. If she appears to be stable and doesn't worsen, then you may not need to have her seen.


Dr. Deb and 3 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you

Thanks for the rating; it's greatly appreciated.

Please keep me posted about your cats, if you have a chance; I'd like to know how they fare.

Even though you've rated, we can still continue to communicate at no additional charge to you. Regards, Deb

Kindly ignore the request for additional information.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks so much Deb, you have put my mind at rest I was so worried about them both. I will certainly let you know how they get on. Natalie
I'm glad that I could help provide reassurance and I'll look forward to chatting with you in a few days about your girls:) Deb