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What is Bacterial Pneumonia?

Bacterial pneumonia causes great distress to the feline and is often a life-threatening condition to kittens or mature felines. If you notice your cat is breathing heavily, has a green nasal discharge, or has a blue color to her mouth, she is mostly likely suffering from a type of pneumonia. 

Bacterial pneumonia in cats is the term used to describe an inflammation in the lungs and respiratory system, caused by a bacterial infection. When a cat contracts bacterial pneumonia, the alveoli that are connected to the bronchi fill with fluid and infection. As more and more alveoli become filled with infectious fluid, the alveoli cannot remove carbon dioxide from the blood, or replace the contaminated blood with oxygenated blood. The level of circulating oxygenated blood is decreased and the feline’s body compensates for the low oxygen level by breathing rapidly. 

Bacterial Pneumonia Average Cost

From 358 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,800

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Bacterial Pneumonia in Cats

Bacterial pneumonia in cats is first noted by a moist cough and difficult breathing. As the condition worsens, your cat may also develop a fever, have a greenish discharge from the nose, refuse to eat, and begin losing weight. Additional symptoms of bacterial pneumonia in cats include: 

  • Rapid breathing 
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Lethargy 
  • An unkempt hair coat
  • Weight loss
  • Anorexia
  • Cyanosis, or blue tinged mucous membranes
  • Rattling cough or lung sounds
  • Green or yellowish discharge from the nose
  • Fever
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Causes of Bacterial Pneumonia in Cats

Bacterial pneumonia in cats is caused by a variety of different bacteria including; Bordetella, Staphylococcus, Pasteurella multocida, Yersiniapestis, Chlamydiae or Streptococcus. Your cat can become infected with bacterial pneumonia from a contaminated food or water bowl, sharing close quarters with an infected cat, or as a secondary result to a viral infection. 

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Diagnosis of Bacterial Pneumonia in Cats

Diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia in cats begins with a review of your cat’s medical history, an exchange of notes between the owner and the doctor, followed by a physical examination. The vet is likely to listen to your cat’s lungs through the use of a stethoscope, which may reveal a harsh breathing tone. The doctor may then ask for a routine blood test to be done on the cat including a biochemistry profile and complete blood cell count. A high number of white blood cells is the common result in bacterial pneumonia, as the cat’s immunity produces these cells to fight the bacteria. If the results from the blood test do not show a high number of white blood cells, the exams will give the doctor a baseline for your cat’s health, proceeding to the following diagnostic tests:

  • Blood-Gas Evaluation: measurement of circulating oxygenated blood. 
  • Chest x-ray
  • Tracheal wash: an exam used to collect cells from the trachea with bacterial traces.
  • Lung aspiration: a collection of cells from within the lungs using fine needle aspiration.  
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Treatment of Bacterial Pneumonia in Cats

Treatment of bacterial pneumonia in cats begins with stabilizing the patient. A patient may need stabilization treatment if the feline is having a difficult time breathing, rapid breathing, or cyanosis. Oxygen therapy or a nebulizer may be used to return the feline’s breath back to a normal bpm (breath per minute). If the feline is severely dehydrated, your veterinarian may also provide intravenous fluid therapy before directly treating the cause of the pneumonia. 

Once the cat has become stable, your veterinarian is likely to treat bacterial pneumonia in cats with an aggressive, broad-spectrum antibiotic. The exact form of antibiotic depends on the type of bacteria your cat is infected with, so discuss the best treatment option with your veterinarian. Your cat will likely be hospitalized or be restricted to a cage at home.

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Recovery of Bacterial Pneumonia in Cats

Following discharge of the feline patient, the veterinarian may ask you to complete a follow-up visit, at which chest x-rays may be taken. The follow-up exam could be anywhere between 2-3 weeks after hospitalization and should be done as instructed to ensure the pneumonia is cured. All prescribed medications should be administered and at-home care should be carried out as directed by your veterinarian.

The prognosis for a cat with bacterial pneumonia depends on the age of the feline and his/her overall health before contracting pneumonia. If the feline is of a mature age or is still an infant, the bacterial infection could cause problems for that feline later in life. Likewise, if the feline is already sick or is of old age, bacterial pneumonia can take longer to cure or could be fatal to the feline. The prognosis for bacterial pneumonia in your cat can improve if the infection is detected early and treated by a licensed veterinary professional. 

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Bacterial Pneumonia Average Cost

From 358 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,800

Average Cost

$800

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Bacterial Pneumonia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Jackie Chan

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Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Sneezing
Eye Discharge
Nasal Clear Drainage
Possible Lethargy
Nasal Clear Discharge

My cat has been sneezing for the past 4 or 5 days. I suspected URI, but there was no discharge. Yesterday, there was discharge from his eyes and nose. Last night, he vomited 3 times but hes not acting too lethargic. He's also rather obese (21lbs but on a diet!) and doesn't do much activity wise anyways. He still has an appetite. Being that it's the weekend, I'm hoping to put this off till Monday (tomorrow) to see the vet, but not if this is sounding more serious than a URI? Though I know a URI is nothing to sit on.

July 22, 2018

Jackie Chan's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

If Jackie Chan isn’t showing any signs of respiratory distress or any other urgent symptom you could probably wait until Monday morning to see your Veterinarian; make sure to regularly wipe away any discharge from the eyes and around the nose with a warm damp cloth and ensure that he is drinking. If there are any signs of breathing difficulty you should visit an Emergency Veterinarian immediately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 23, 2018

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Grace

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Local mix

dog-age-icon

4 Months

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hi doctor My cat having pneumonia and also wet fip . That is what vet diagnosis about My Cat.age about like 4 month. History is stray before now about 18 day after am rescue. 1. What treatment vet can help to reduce congested breath? 2. Same time she ia having fip wet. It look so suffering. 3. How about fip wet? Any other treatment.

July 16, 2018

Grace's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Prognosis for wet FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) is grave with any treatment being purely supportive and symptomatic; any other infection (bacterial, fungal, parasitic) would need to be treated separately but the wet FIP would be the main obstacle to tackle. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 16, 2018

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Pinky

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Persian

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Lethargy

My family and I went on vacation for a week and came back to our 12 year old Persian cat very skinny, not eating, and matted hair. She has all the symptoms of bacterial pneumonia as far as discharge from the nose, around the mouth, and a wet cough. She seems to be breathing okay and doesn’t have a fever, started eating a few bites of food here and there, still drinking water on a normal basis and using the litter box. We can’t really afford to take her to the vet in our area, but we don’t want anything to happen to her. Is there anything we can do at home to help her?

July 3, 2018

Pinky's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

Without knowing what is going on with Pinky, I can't really recommend any treatments for her, as there may have systemic problems and may need treatment or medication. Making sure that she is eating and drinking is most likely all that you can do from home. I hope that she is okay.

July 4, 2018

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Bhalu

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Indian

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing,Clear Nasal Discharge,Moutbreathing

My cat is suffering from severe cold,stopped eating,breathing heavily with mouth open.There is no doctor nearby and I don't know how to treat it although I am giving Sach cv suspension,Omnacortil solution and the minic drop.Can these cure my 10 yr old cat or should I give something else?

June 28, 2018

Bhalu's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I really don't have any way to determine what might be going on with Bhallu or how to treat her without seeing her. She sounds severely ill, and if there is any way that you can get veterinary care for her, it would be a good idea.

June 28, 2018

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Tom

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Persian long haits

dog-age-icon

8 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

I think my cat is having pneumonia coz he is breathing heavily and taking rapid breath..and now he us having a chit chit voice while he is breathing..and also panting and some times drooling..what should I do coz I don't have any veterinary help around me.pls help me for getti ng him back in normal conditions

May 24, 2018

Tom's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

Pneumonia, and other breathing problems, are not treated at home, as they can deteriorate quickly. He does need to see a veterinarian, even if it means you need to travel to get him help. Without seeing him, I can't see what is going on with him, and he may need medication to help him breathe normally again.

May 24, 2018

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Panda

dog-breed-icon

Cat

dog-age-icon

9 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Loss Of Appetite
Heavy Breathing
Rapid Breathing
Running Nose

My cat was outside throughout the entire night. In the morning when I let him in he was cold and breathing very fast. I tried to feed him but he tries to throw up. I made him drink milk using a syringe as he was refusing to eat or drink and was already dehydrating. I took him to the vet but as it was closing hours they just gave him 3 injections and told me that he is diagnosed with pnemonia. As far as I know any cat with pnemonia should be admitted, given saline and given oxygen to help breathe properly again. None of these was done. He will be taken again to the vet but at 8 am in the next morning which means I have to help him stay alive for 17 hours. Please help.

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Jibi

dog-breed-icon

Siamese point lynx

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Labored Breathing
Cough

Cat, indoor only with limited access to balcony and plants, had coughing and wheezing for a few weeks. One day he had a very labored breathing episode with grasping for air. Took him to the vet that day. Blood work showed no FIP, no cancer, no heartworm. X-ray showed some inflammation in the lungs, not too crazy. Suspected upper respiratory or pneumonia, prescribed convenia. On day 2 or 3 cat was better, started playing and grooming, he never stopped eating throughout the illness. With that his condition improved about 30% from the day 3 after the treatment started, but no more improvement since. 4 weeks later still coughing, but cough is more moist by the sound than in the beginning, added some sneezing too, which was resolved between week 3 and 4. Once in a few days he would have spasms or contraction-like movements on the sides of his stomach while breathing. Otherwise cat is playing, eating, grooming, but the cough is not going away. Coughs 4-5 times a day. Could it still be pneumonia or upper respiratory or definitely something else?

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Avery

dog-breed-icon

Shorthair

dog-age-icon

13 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hi, I have a kitten who is 13 weeks. I’ve only had him for a week and a day. On Thursday I noticed him sneezing. On Friday it turned to sneezing and a stuffed nose. Saturday and Friday he wasnt sneezing as much but still had a stuffy nose and Sunday he sneezed only a little but his nose was very stuffy. Today I noticed him breathing very weird. It’s almost as if he’s wheezing and having a hard time breathing. He’s eating and going to the bathroom and will play if I have some string. He hasn’t thrown up. And he has discharged coming from his eyes. I can see his lungs when he breathes and it’s as if he’s about to throw up but doesn’t.

dog-name-icon

Mai-mai

dog-breed-icon

Native cat

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Sneezing
Dehydration
Wheezing

I have 13 cats in total and one has bacterial pneumonia. Recently, my other cats are showing symptoms such as sneezing and appetite loss. Due to financial problems, we cannot take them all to the hospital. What else can we do to stop the spreading of this disease?

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Bleux

dog-breed-icon

short haired

dog-age-icon

4 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Wheezing
Lack Of Appetite
Lythar

I came home from work to my little kitten Bleux breathing very fast, not wanting to play, or eat. My roommate said she’s only been like that for an hour before I got home. I called emergency animal hospitals and one was able to get her in three hours later. They figured the probable cause was pneumonia. They admitted her, and I left her there all day. She was put in a breathing tank, was given antibiotics, and she started eating again so they sent her home with me that night. She seemed okay at first, like how she seemed when I went to pick her up, but after an hour she seemed to go back to how she was before I took her in. Should I be worried?

Bacterial Pneumonia Average Cost

From 358 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,800

Average Cost

$800

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