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Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) in Cats

3 min read



Despite recent advances, ARDS remains one of the most difficult and challenging problems to treat in veterinary practice.


Once your cat has been diagnosed with this syndrome it will be given emergency treatment; supplemental oxygen therapy is started immediately to minimize the respiratory distress. Patients that do not respond well to the oxygen therapy, and that continue to have severe breathing problems, may need ventilator support. For this reason, your cat will most likely need to be kept in an intensive care unit, where nursing staff can monitor the condition very closely until your cat is out of the danger zone and its condition has stabilized. Regular readings of temperature, pulse, respiration rate, and blood pressure will be taken by nursing staff. Along with emergency treatment, the underlying cause muse be established and treated in order to prevent further complications.


Medications that may be used to treat your cat include antibiotics, pain killers, fluid therapy, and corticosteroids. Patients on ventilator support may also require regular physiotherapy sessions and frequent position changes to prevent complications related to ventilator support. These patients are kept in strict cage confinement until they have fully recovered.


Living and Management


ARDS is a very serious problem requiring constant support from your side for treatment, and for management and care after the initial period of discovery. If the underlying disease is not resolved, the same episode of respiratory distress may follow. Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s guidelines for proper care and treatment. These patients usually need time, rest, and good nutrition in order to gain full recovery, but don’t confine your cat to a stuffy or hot place. Follow the diet and management recommendations made by your veterinarian.



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