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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 10923
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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My cat is gagging as if he wants to be sick although

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My cat is gagging as if he wants to be sick although no vomit appears.He has had this complaint for3 days.He saw our vet on wednesday who examined him and could not find any lump or restriction in his throat.
She prescribed an anti inflamatory spray.His condition seems to have worsened this evening,
can you advise best course of action.
***** *****.
Hello Ken, I'm Dr. Deb. I recently came online and see that your question about Sooty hasn't been answered. I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response, but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.I do have a few additional questions to ask about him first if you don't mind: 1. I'd appreciate it if you'd view the following video and tell me if this is similar to what Sooty is doing: 2. Is he showing other signs such as disinterest in food or lethargy?3. Did your vet take any x-rays?4. Did he send Sooty home with any medications (other than the spray) or give him any injections when he was at the office? Since it looks as if you are currently offline, there may be a delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you and I may be offline at the time you respond. But I'll get back to you as soon as I can since I'm on the computer some part of every day.Thanks for your patience. Deb
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes Dr Deb,Sooty does show a similar gagging condition to the cats in the video,not as pronounced as some of the cats.

He is not showing disinterest in food or particular lethargy.

The vet did not take any x-rays nor prescribe any other medications or give him an injection.


Ken:Thanks for the answers to my questions although I'm sorry that I was off my computer when you did so.I'm appreciative of your rating but hope to provide much more information for you so that I deserve it. That's good that Sooty is still eating and isn't lethargic; I actually would have been surprised if he had been.If Sooty's gagging/coughing episodes are similar to the ones in the video, then it sounds as if he may have developed Feline Asthma which is similar to this condition in a human in that there is inflammation in the lungs which is triggered by something in the environment such as pollens, smoke, aerosol sprays, etc. This condition is typically diagnosed in cats younger than 15 although I have seen it in older ones as well especially if you've moved recently or if there's construction in your home or if there's new landscaping in the area (something new in his environment in other words).Feline Asthma can often be a difficult diagnosis to make. Chest x-rays might be suggestive as would blood work (eosinophils might be elevated but they aren't in every case). I often diagnose this condition based on a cat's response to steroids. If they are 100% better within less than 24 hours, then this is the diagnosis in my opinion until proven otherwise. It may seem like a crude way to diagnose this condition, but if I rule out other possible reasons for the signs first (see below) then I don't worry about side effects from steroids since cats tolerate this drug better than any species I know.I'll sometimes also prescribe Doxycycline (5 mg/kg twice a day) to rule out other problems such as bordetella or mycoplasma infections. This drug has the added benefit of anti-inflammatory properties which can help cats who are suffering from Asthma. Other possible explanations for his behavior, especially if he's coughing more than trying to vomit (and sometimes it's hard to tell the difference).1. Lung worm which is a parasite that is most often diagnosed with a fecal sample This condition would be less likely in an inside cat. One effective treatment would be panacur (Fenbendazole).2. Heartworm disease although I don't believe that this is a problem in the UK so I won't go into any more detail about it. I wanted to include it, however, to be complete.3. Heart disease. These cats usually have other signs in addition to coughing/gagging such as weight loss or exercise intolerance. Stress might trigger a worsening of the condition. A chest x-ray can be useful in determining if there is an enlarged heart or fluid in the chest but ultrasound is usually needed to determine the exact diagnosis. Medication can then be prescribed. 4. Upper respiratory infections are at the bottom of this list for a reason.These cats are usually sneezing and have discharge from the eyes and/or nose.Stress can trigger an episode if a chronic condition and acute ones can be seen if the cats go outside If this were my case, I would:1. Take a chest x-ray2. Evaluate a fecal sample 3. Consider ultrasound if the heart needs further evaluation.4. Treat with steroids (after running blood work to ensure that my patient isn't a diabetic) and monitor response. In some cases if for whatever reason an x-ray is not done, I'll treat with steroids anyway. If they improve,the condition was asthma or inflammation. If they don't, then something else is going on and further testing needs to be done. The benefit is worth the small risks involved in any possible side effects.My only caution is that I try to rule out an upper respiratory infection as best I can; steroids will reduce the immune system and make this condition worse. It's not life threateningly worse, but the symptoms are more intense. I hope this helps and provides additional conditions and options to discuss with your vet. Cats with asthma rarely improve on their own and often do worsen which may be why he's worse. Again, my apologies for the delayed reply. Deb
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Dr Deb,

I will take Sooty to the Vet as soon as possible and ask them to investigate

according to your recommendations.

Many thanks,


Ken; You're more than welcome although I'm sorry that I was off my computer when you responded back.And, thanks for the rating as well; it's greatly appreciated. I hope that you'll keep me posted about Sooty after your vet visit; I'd very much like to know what they think may be going on with him. Even though you've rated, we can continue to communicate about this issue at no additional charge to you. Best of luck with him. Deb