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Dr. John
Dr. John, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 16165
Experience:  Over 18 years of clinical veterinary experience
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My cat has difficulty breathing. He is like coughing/choking

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My cat has difficulty breathing. He is like coughing/choking for about 15 seconds mouth closed. He has had URI recently
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Does this strange breathing happen all the time or only sometimes? When did it start?
Customer: Past 6 days or so. I took him to a vet 3 days ago, gave an antibiotic but he's still unwell
JA: And what's the cat's name and age?
Customer: Chrissy. He's 5. Has felv
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know about Chrissy?
Customer: Had upper respiratory infection 4 months ago, was treated twice with antibiotics, but seems to not have cleared up properly he had heavy fast breathing, sounds congested, gulping swallowing

Hello! Thanks for writing into JustAnswer. My name is***** and I am a veterinarian with 20 years of experience. I will do my best to answer all your questions today. I do need some additional information, though, to see if I can better assess your situation. It may take me a few minutes to respond back, so please be patient.

I am sorry to hear that Chrissy is having a problem with coughing still.  Is he eating and drinking well?

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
He was eating ok until today he will not eat.
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
He still does the coughing, his mouth is closed when he does it and he crouches low to floor

Thanks for the information.  Did your vet get any x-rays of the chest when he was there 3 days ago?

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Prefer text please

I do as well.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
No xrays as he has felv and to xray sedation would be needed which can be more risky. Vet said if antibiotics do not work she would xray next week
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Vet said also when she sounded him that she could not hear his heart so well on left side. Possibly fluid...
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Also last week he lost his voice when he meowed, silence but his voice returned later thT day. That happened a few times

Thanks for the information.  I agree with that.  If the antibiotics are not working, there could be something more serious going on in the lungs or heart.  My concern would be pneumonia.  That could be bacterial, viral, or fungal.  The antibiotic he is on may not help with the specific infection he has.  Even if there is a risk with sedation, there is even a bigger risk of not getting him on the right medication if he has pneumonia  You can try a cool-air humidifier to see if that dries him out, but I would recommend getting x-rays sooner than later with what you are describing.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
OK thanks. He has been getting eye infections last few months also, but cleared up. I thought on pneumonia. As he does go outside. Do you recommend to keep him in now, and can pneumonia be treated

You are welcome.  I would definitely keep him in now.  If he has pneumonia, it can be treated, depending on the type of pneumonia.  With him having FELV, though, it can be more difficult because his immune system is compromised.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Is there anything else I can do to help him? Would it be best to take him back yo vet by Fri this week or wait until antibiotic is finished?

Sorry for the delay.  I would try to get him in sooner than Friday if possible.  I wouldn't wait until the antibiotic is finished.  I would have expected it to help some at this point.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
OK thank you

You are very welcome! Do you have any other questions about this, or do you need further clarification about anything?

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
That's all for now. Thanks

You are welcome.  I am glad I was able to answer your questions. Please respond back here if you have any other questions about this situation. If I am not online, I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you would like to ask me another question in the future, you can add me as a favorite Expert. You'll have the option to do that on your "My Questions" page if you choose to rate our interaction or you can request me by name if you wish, again my name is*****

Dr. John and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Hi again Dr John, regarding Chrissy - today he is a little improved, not much but only did the coughing once and ate ok. I noticed when standing his left side a slight buldge or slightly swollen.. am not sure, have included a photo. His left side feels slightly firmer than right. Would this indicate fluid, or an organ condition or is it normal enough? He doesn't seem to feel pain when I press or feel him
Customer: replied 14 days ago.

Hello again.  I did not receive a photo.  Even with a photo, it would be impossible to say for sure without an exam.  If one side seems more distended than the other then a tumor would be more likely.  That is assuming you are talking about the abdomen, though.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Oh no.. sorry I couldn't attach photo for some reason. Upper abdomen, just after his front pWs, on left side. Very slight
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Would that be lungs/heart/ ?

That would probably be more his thorax where the heart and lungs are.  it is difficult to see that expanding because the rib cage doesn't usually expand that much.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
OK, would anything cause slight distension there, fluid? The vet just sounded him last visit, didn't feel him really.
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
It could be his abdomen ... he has had chronic vomiting past 2 years and eats a special gastrointestinal food prescribed

You may see slight distention from fluid or a mass in the chest cavity.  If his abdomen was distended, you would see it in his abdomen and not where you are describing it.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
OK is fluid treatable? Or a mass? Sorry for the questions I'm hesitant to sedate him for an xray as he's my world and wouldn't want to lose him from sedation, or neglect his health. It's tough to know what to do

I just depends on what is causing it.  Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't.  I would say a mass is far less treatable  I understand your concern about sedation.  I can be a catch 22, though.  Sometimes, we need to do procedures that may risk their health, but if we do nothing, they will definitely not make it.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
OK thank you

You are very welcome.