Although most of us do it effortlessly, breathing is an essential component to life and any condition that restricts breath or makes it difficult for us to breathe can be very distressing. The same is true for our cats, and there are several factors that can affect your cat’s ability to breathe easily so that their lungs can deliver oxygen to all of the vital parts of the body.

Types of Feline Breathing Problems, Symptoms, and Causes

There are three categories of breathing problems in cats. Each has its own causes and symptoms.
Dyspnea (Difficulty Breathing)
Dyspnea can be caused by diseases associated with the nose, throat, windpipe, lungs, the pleural space, the chest wall, and diseases that cause bloating of the abdomen.
Symptoms include:
Tachypnea (Rapid Breathing)
Rapid breathing can be caused by things like a low oxygen level (hypoxia), anemia, asthma, fluid in the lungs or chest due to heart failure, tumors, or bleeding in the lungs.
Symptoms include:
Panting occurs for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, such as after strenuous exercise, panting is a completely normal and healthy way for your pet to cool down.
Other times, panting is a sign of a problem and should be addressed right away. In these cases, panting might be caused by pain, medications, fever, or heatstroke.
Symptoms include:

Treatment for Breathing Problems in Cats

Treatment for a cat’s breathing problems depends greatly on the type of problem occurring and the diagnosis of the underlying cause. Regardless, a breathing problem is a medical emergency and will usually require the hospitalization of your pet.
We’ll administer oxygen and medications (based on your cat’s diagnosis) to address the underlying cause of the symptoms. Depending on the specific condition, your cat might require lifelong activity restriction and medication to address the breathing problem.

What to Do If Your Cat's Breathing Changes

Breathing problems in cats are serious and should be considered an emergency. If your cat exhibits any symptoms of breathing problems or if you notice changes in their breathing, we strongly encourage you to contact TangleWilde Veterinary Clinic and seek emergency veterinary care right away.