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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 17936
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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my old siamese cat has raspy breathing and wont lie down, seems

Customer Question

my old siamese cat has raspy breathing and wont lie down, seems to want to sit all day and night long, very unusual, is he having difficulty breathing
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Jerry has raspy breathing and is refusing to lie down. Cats in severe respiratory distress often won't lie down because that places pressure on their chest making it even more difficult to breathe and exchange oxygen. As you have noticed these poor little ones may literally fall asleep on their feet.
A normal cat has a resting respiratory rate of about 10 to 15 breaths per minute (one breath is considered the in and out motion of his chest). If he has a rate faster then 30 to 40 breaths per minute, especially if you are noticing him using his abdominal muscles to breathe, then he is in trouble.
I tell owners that if you can notice that he is breathing abnormally then I am concerned, since breathing is usually almost un-noticable in normal cats.
If he doesn't have a nasal discharge and isn't sneezing then his difficulty breathing is likely related to a problem in his chest or secondary to anemia (decreased numbers of red blood cells).
Problems in his chest leading to an increased respiratory include primary heart disease (including cardiomyopathy and heartworm), lung disease including asthma, bacterial, viral, parasitic (lungworm) or fungal infections, a mass(es) in the chest including lymphoma, heart based tumors or carcinomas, or fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion) due to a mass, bleeding, chylothorax or an infection.
Anemia can be secondary to poor red blood cell production, either due to kidney disease as the kidneys make a hormone to stimulate production, or primary bone marrow disease, or anemia can be due to bleeding or destruction of red cells due to a tumor, blood parasite or autoimmune disease (body attacks its own red blood cells and destroys them).
If your fellow's tongue and gum color are a nice bubblegum pink them he is in better shape then if his gum and tongue color is blue or gray, these would signify he is real trouble and this is a true emergency.
The conditions I listed above are serious and I would highly recommend that your fellow see a veterinarian promptly to have an examination and further testing done based upon his examination. He likely needs radiographs of his chest to evaluate his heart and lungs to start and then further diagnostics based upon those findings. That may include testing for heartworm and lungworms, aspirating fluid for examination if there is fluid present around his lungs, or blood titers for fungal infections.
In the meantime keep him quiet so he can breathe as easily as possible.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.