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Drowning (Near Drowning) in Cats



Clear any airway obstructions and give mouth-to-muzzle resuscitation on the site of the accident. Professional medical treatment will need to follow immediately. Your cat will need to be treated on an emergency inpatient basis, with oxygen supplementation given at the hospital. If your cat has severe hypoxemia, hypercapnia, or imminent respiratory fatigue, a ventilator may be required for respiratory assistance.


Gravitational drainage or abdominal thrusts (i.e., the Heimlich maneuver) are not recommended in the absence of an airway obstruction owing to the high risk of regurgitation and subsequent aspiration of stomach contents. Fluid therapy and acid-base/electrolyte management are crucial for bringing the fluid balance back to normal levels. If your cat is hypothermic, your veterinarian will gradually rewarm the cat's body with blankets over a two- to three-hour period of time. Prolonged parenteral (intravenous) nutrition may be required if your cat is suffering from severe brain or lung injury.


Living and Management


Generally, cats will not have a good prognosis if they are comatose when brought to the veterinary clinic, have severely acidotic blood (pH less than 7.0), or if they require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or mechanical ventilation. Cats that are conscious upon arrival at the clinic will have a good prognosis, as long as no further complications ensue.



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