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Noisy Breathing in Cats

Treatment

 

Keep your cat cool, quiet, and calm. Anxiety, exertion, and pain can lead to increased movement of air into and out of the lungs, potentially worsening the airflow. Low levels of oxygen in the blood and tissues, and decreased movement of air into and out of the lungs occur with prolonged, severe blockage to airflow; supplemental oxygen is not always critical for sustaining patients with partial airway collapse. In addition closely monitor the effects of sedatives that have been prescribed, as sedatives are known for relaxing the upper airway muscles and worsening the blockage to airflow. Be prepared for emergency treatment if complete obstruction occurs.

 

Extreme airway blockage or obstruction may require an emergency intubation (that is, passage of an endotracheal tube through the mouth and into the windpipe [trachea] to allow oxygen to reach the lungs). If obstruction prevents intubation, an emergency tracheotomy (a surgical opening into the windpipe [trachea]) or passage of a tracheal catheter to administer oxygen) may be the only available means for sustaining life. However, a tracheal catheter can sustain oxygenation only briefly while a more permanent solution is sought. Surgery may be required if a biopsy has indicated a mass in the airways.

 

Prevention

 

Avoid strenuous exercise, high ambient temperatures, and extreme excitement. Your veterinarian will advise you on the correct level of exercise to encourage in your dog.

 

Living and Management

 

Your cat's breathing rate and effort will need to be monitored closely. Complete blockage or obstruction could occur after an apparently stable patient is taken home or if continual observation is not feasible. Even with surgical treatment, some degree of obstruction may remain for 7 to 10 days due to postoperative swelling. Care will need to be taken during this time to protect your cat from complications due to labored breathing. 

 

After surgery, your cat may feel sore and will need proper rest in a quiet place, away from other pets and active children. You might consider cage rest for a short time, until your cat can safely move about again without overexertion. Your veterinarian will also prescribe a short course of pain killers until your cat has fully recovered, along with a mild course of antibiotics, to prevent any opportunistic bacteria from attacking your cat. Medications will need to be given precisely as directed, at the proper dosage and frequency. Keep in mind that over dosage of pain medications is one of the most preventable causes for death in household pets.

 

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