Breathing problems

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by squarepeg, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. squarepeg

    squarepeg New Member

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    Oct 22, 2017
    My 10-year-old neutered male was diagnosed in May with diabetes. He was started on 1.5 units of ProZinc, and was changed to 2.0 units about a month ago because his numbers weren't where the vet wanted them when he was checked again. Everything was going okay.

    I noticed Friday night that his breathing seemed different, and he was making a quiet grunting sound occasionally. Something between a grunt and a snort. Tonight, two days later, the noise is happening more often and more noticeably, and his breathing is much heavier and faster. Something is definitely not right, although he is still eating (he loves his food), walking, meowing at me, and purring when I pet him. He just seems more lethargic, and the labored breathing is scaring me.

    His vet diagnosed him in May with a heart murmur as well. She said it was a 4 out of 6, but also said it may get worse at the office than when he's at home. She mentioned tests, but I opted to wait because of the price of the testing, and because she said it could probably go a while longer without too much worry.

    I am going to call first thing in the morning to see if they can get my cat in tomorrow. If not, I will take him somewhere else. I am extremely worried and losing sleep tonight as I've never seen him breathe like this, though he has always been a light grunter/snorter in his sleep. Three months ago, we had to euthanize our oldest cat (13) when the vet discovered a large tumor and he was clearly suffering. I am so afraid tonight that I am going to hear some bad news tomorrow, or that something will happen to him during the night, even though he seems stable right now except for that heavy breathing. It's so hard when you don't know what's wrong and you can't make it better for them. Very worried tonight and just looking for any experience or advice with this type of breathing in diabetic cats. :(
     
  2. JeffJ

    JeffJ Well-Known Member

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    Jul 7, 2016
    Well, this is not usually the sign of a diabetic problem. Unless the cat is having a hypo - and there are various issues.

    Are you testing blood glucose at home with a tester? Highly recommended. That ensures you are not overdosing insulin to your kitteh. Insulin levels can fluctuate. See recent threads on this.
     
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  3. Sharon14

    Sharon14 Well-Known Member

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    Aug 16, 2015
    I don’t know about the breathing, but wanted to send prayers for a good vet visit.
     
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  4. Waheeda

    Waheeda Member

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    Apr 11, 2017
    Does he look like he’s panting? Open mouthed breathing? I wouldn’t wait till tomorrow if I were you. My cat had a heart murmur too and one day we noticed he was breathing faster. Sent him to the vet and he was given oxygen therapy. Found out he has heart failure. I don’t want to scare you cause your cat may not be having that but if you can see the Vet as soon as possible would be less worrisome.
     
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  5. Lillie

    Lillie Member

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    Mar 10, 2017
    Open mouth breathing and panting is definitely cause for concern if this is what he is doing. I would see a vet as soon as you can today.
     
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  6. squarepeg

    squarepeg New Member

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    Oct 22, 2017
    Thank you for the replies. I have not been testing him at home, only because the vet never told me to do it. I will ask her today, as long as she does not discover anything major.

    He is not breathing through his mouth or panting. It's just quicker, heavier breathing with that quiet grunting noise. I can see his sides moving up and down more than they usually do. This morning, he came out to eat a little, then went under the bed again, which is where he spent a lot of his time yesterday. He is just not himself, and I'm scared. I am waiting for the vet to open in a few minutes. I will update later when I know something. I am praying his usual vet can see him today so that I don't have to go searching for another one.
     
  7. JeffJ

    JeffJ Well-Known Member

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    Jul 7, 2016
    Just great, another vet recommending against home testing. For what reason? If your child had diabetes, would you test before dosing...to avoid a hypo? I'm pretty sure you would. Cats and dogs are no different.

    The blood glucose testers are cheap. The strips are $0.25 - $0.60 each. The test is also simple. I highly recommend it, as do others on the forum. I would have overdosed Leo multiple times by how (2.5 years later), if I had not been testing him.

    Let us know how the vet visit goes, it sounds pretty serious.
     
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  8. Lillie

    Lillie Member

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    Mar 10, 2017
    I hope everything is ok. Maybe some feline asthma?
     
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  9. squarepeg

    squarepeg New Member

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    Oct 22, 2017
    I was able to get him an appointment at a different vet's office. His usual could not see him today, but they are faxing over all their records to another place they recommended. Thanks for the kind words, and yes, I am worried that it is serious. Hoping and praying it is asthma or allergies or something like that, but I do not have a great feeling.
     
  10. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 3, 2016
    We have some cats that snore harmlessly and we've had much worse. Not panting or mouth-breathing is a big bonus for now. Hope all goes well at the vet and that both of you can keep stress levels down. Crossed fingers and toes!
    :bighug::bighug::bighug:
     
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  11. JeffJ

    JeffJ Well-Known Member

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    Jul 7, 2016
    Dickson is also correct. Many cats have breathing issues that are not serious. Leo has had breathing issues since he was a kitten and now he is 12.5 years old.
     
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  12. squarepeg

    squarepeg New Member

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    Oct 22, 2017
    Just got home, and my cat is still with me. I was so afraid I'd be leaving without him this time. When I left work to get him for his appointment, he looked and sounded so much worse.

    They took a lot of blood work and three x-rays. The new vet could not hear a heart murmur, and said sometimes they disappear on their own. She did say that he has a slightly enlarged heart on the x-ray, though. The x-rays showed no cancer or masses. What she did find was that his white blood cell count was sky high, and his lungs looked bad. She diagnosed him with severe bacterial pneumonia. She gave him a steroids shot, and put him on two antibiotics. He's lying on the living room floor now, still breathing badly and totally lethargic, but the vet believes he will be okay. He's going for a recheck on Friday.

    She's also ordering him a new diabetic diet. I have to get it on Friday when I go for the recheck. She said his blood glucose is still too high, but unrelated to what's happening right now. I will talk to her about the monitor when I go on Friday. She did mention that he needs to be checked more often than my usual vet has been doing.

    Anyway, he's not out of the woods yet, but he's home and has had his medications. I don't know how he picked up this bug, but it knocked him down fast. I will update on his recovery. Thank you for the words of support and suggestions. :bighug: I am sure I will be on the site more often as he gets better and we get back to trying to control his blood glucose in a better way.
     
  13. Woodsywife

    Woodsywife Well-Known Member

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    Sep 6, 2015
    Did they give you any kind of inhaler to use for him? Refer you to a cardiologist? Since they gave a steroid shot and his glucose is high, think about checking for ketones. You can pick up urine dip sticks in any pharmacy. Monitor them closely. Anything past trace needs immediate vet intervention.
     
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  14. JeffJ

    JeffJ Well-Known Member

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    Jul 7, 2016
    That is really good news. I hope the anti-biotics do their job. Glad to hear there were no cancer or masses.:)

    Really, home testing is the way to go. If you have time, there are "stickies" with info at the start of the different insulin subforums, including the Prozinc subforum.

    There is nothing "prescription" in the prescription cat foods from vets. Basically you want a wet cat food that is low in carbs. I feed our cats Fancy Feast Classic. There are 8 or 10 kinds and it is all low carb. They seem to love chicken the best.
    .
     
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  15. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 3, 2016
    It can be frustrating having an incomplete picture of life. Examples; I have had a heart murmur all my life but some doctors can't hear it. Always played sports and no problem. Noah has an enlarged heart and he's still here. Let's just deal with the pneumonia for now. Are there other pets in the house? How's the air quality? All the crap we breathe settles to the floor eventually where our kitties live. Try not to let him sleep on anything with microfibers or anything that came out of a washing machine with a scented detergent or scented dryer sheet. Keep things as neutral as possible.
    The last thing you need now is for us to nag you about home testing but it is essential and probably more so now. Whatever your vet says remember, for now it's just a test.
    Okay, the above post by Woodsywife. I write in generalizations but when you read advice very specific to your situation that use words like " immediate vet intervention" it's coming from someone who's either been there and/or knows their stuff. No one here just guesses and we're all there with you. Sound good so far?
     
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  16. squarepeg

    squarepeg New Member

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    Oct 22, 2017
    That's how I'm trying to see it right now. Yes, he has an enlarged heart and diabetes, but his struggle to breathe is the top priority right now. I steamed up the bathroom and let him sit in it for ten minutes while I performed coupage on him a little while ago. Last night, he was breathing 48 breaths per minute. Tonight, he's at 33. When he walked out of the bathroom, his tail was up and he looked perkier. He's not eating, but he drank a good amount of water earlier. And now he's sleeping.

    When I go back on Friday, provided everything is better with this pneumonia, I will ask about home testing and also see what the next step is for his heart issue. This cat has been my best friend and little shadow for nearly ten years, and I want to keep him with me as long as possible. He looks like a furrier version of the cat in my avatar.

    No, they did not give me any kind of inhaler, but I will call in the morning to see if there is something they can prescribe. Anything to make his life easier right now. Thanks for the tip on the Prozinc subforum, too.
     
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  17. Waheeda

    Waheeda Member

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    Apr 11, 2017
    Glad to hear he’s much better. I’ve had experienced with breathing problems in 2 of my cats. Unfortunately, we lost one and I blamed it on the lousy Vet. I’ve learnt to be extra careful when I sense them breathing fast. Hometesting is the best for your Cat. Regardless what your Vet says, I do advise that u do it.
     
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  18. squarepeg

    squarepeg New Member

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    Oct 22, 2017
    Sorry to tell you all that my cat is gone.

    He seemed better last night. I felt okay leaving him alone when I went to work. He still wouldn't eat, but he was moving around and drinking water and looked about the same as when I went to bed. When I got home, I couldn't find him, but finally saw him curled up in the back of an empty shelf. He was so still and quiet that I thought he was dead, but I touched him and he looked at me. I picked him up to move him, and he lost his bladder all over me. And he could barely move.

    I called the vet right away. I had already talked to them earlier in the morning when I asked about the inhaler, but the tech told me they don't give them anymore because most cats won't tolerate them. When I talked to them this time, the vet got on the phone and said that she had planned to call me in the evening to advise that I take my cat to a specialist tomorrow if he wasn't feeling better because another vet in the practice looked at the x-rays this afternoon and suspected heart failure along with the pneumonia. The other vet thought that she could see pretty significant thinning of the heart walls. She faxed all of my info to the emergency vet, where I took my cat as soon as I hung up with her.

    They took him immediately because of his labored breathing. The vet came to talk to me about an hour later, and said that yes, she believed his heart was failing, but that she suspected he had cancer and not a bacterial infection. She said his chest was full of fluid. She felt that cancer was causing the white blood cell count my other vet saw, not pneumonia. They wanted $3,000 to keep him and run tests overnight. I lost it. There is no way we could afford that right now, even though I wanted to do what I could for him. I briefly considered just paying it anyway, but I asked her to please be totally honest with me about his prognosis. She said that his heart would make it difficult to fight any lung problem, whether truly bacterial pneumonia or some type of cancer. She said that euthanasia would be a kind choice because fighting heart problems, lung problems, and diabetes all at once would be hard on him. And I could see that. He looked horrible, and sounded like he was choking when he meowed. I chose euthanasia. It was harder still because my husband works three hours away during the week, and he could not be with me. I kissed my cat's head and petted him until it was over.

    This is my third experience with euthanasia, but this time, I really struggled with guilt. I couldn't make up my mind. I just wished I had the money to get him fully tested so that I could be sure. But I know she was right that it might not have done a thing for him to improve. When they brought him to me to say goodbye, he was crying and grunting and finally urinated all over me again as I held him. I knew I had to do it. He urinated three full times in just about three hours, so that could not have been a good sign either.

    I'm pretty wrecked tonight. I just did not expect this after a little bit of hope came yesterday. But my original gut feeling on Sunday was that it was his heart. I just had a bad feeling about that breathing, but went to bed thinking he would be okay last night. Before I took him to the emergency vet this afternoon, I tried to put a little bit of tuna in his mouth, and he spit it out. It was his favorite thing in the world, and he didn't want it. I'm just sitting here at the table not knowing what to do or if I will even be able to get through the workday tomorrow.

    Anyway, I appreciate the advice and support you gave me here. Thank you. There is a huge void in our house and in my heart tonight. This is one of my favorite pictures of him. It's poor quality, but I just love his face in it. He was the most loving creature I ever knew. His name was Creepy because my husband used to say he looked creepy when he was a kitten, like a bat. The name stuck.
    creepy1.jpg
     
  19. Waheeda

    Waheeda Member

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    Apr 11, 2017
    I’m so very sorry for your loss. It’s heartbreaking when we lost our babies. Based on your post earlier, I had a feeling it was heart failure causing fluid build up in the lungs.
    Do take care of yourself. :bighug:
     
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  20. Tuxedo Mom

    Tuxedo Mom Well-Known Member

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    Dec 2, 2014
    I am so so sorry to hear that your kitty has crossed the Bridge. Sometimes no matter what we do and how hard we try it is kinder to let our kitties go. Ultimately it is all about the quality of life and the greatest gift of love is letting them go so that they are not suffering. My heart go out to you. Hold close the special memories to give you strength and comfort at this sad sad time.

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. Sharon14

    Sharon14 Well-Known Member

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    Aug 16, 2015
    I’m so very sorry for your loss:bighug: Fly Free Sweet Creepy, Land Softly, you are truly loved:rb_icon:
     
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  22. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

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    Aug 17, 2016
    I’m so sorry you had to let your kitty go. You did what you felt was best for him so try not to let the guilt take over. :rb_icon:cat_wings>o:bighug::bighug:
     
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  23. Lillie

    Lillie Member

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    Mar 10, 2017
    Saddened to hear about your kitty. It's so hard no matter what the circumstances are when they have to leave us. :bighug::bighug:
     
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  24. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 3, 2016
    Hope this sounds right. The money would not have mattered. We did this once and any dignity Jasper had was gone. Please promise us you'll be good to yourself. From all you've written and all the replies you got it's obvious you all lived in a house of love. You did everything you could.
    The grass is soft and cool across the bridge. Maybe your baby will see Nigel, we miss him too.
    cat_wings>o :bighug: :bighug: :bighug:
     
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  25. squarepeg

    squarepeg New Member

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    Oct 22, 2017
    Thanks, everyone. I took a sick day today to have some time alone. My alarm went off this morning, and I was in tears five minutes later. There was no way I could work today. I've loved all my pets dearly, but Creepy was always my "baby." We just had a special bond. He will never be replaced.

    Noah & me, yes, I hope Nigel and Creepy are relaxing together in the cool grass today.
     
  26. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 3, 2016
    Don't close your account. :(
     
  27. JeffJ

    JeffJ Well-Known Member

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    Jul 7, 2016
    May your sweetie fly freely to the Bridge and wait for you there. You had a wonderful time together, and you were the best cat Mom he could have. It's hard when they get sick, and we can't fix it. Even last minute emergency money doesn't always do it. I hope you will cherish his memories for years to come.
     

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