Breathing Difficulties Average Cost

From 329 quotes ranging from $500 - 4,000

Average Cost

$1,000

First Walk is on Us!

✓ GPS tracked walks
✓ Activity reports
✓ On-demand walkers
Book FREE Walk

Jump to Section

What are Breathing Difficulties?

Dyspnea is often referred to as respiratory distress. Your cat may struggle with inhaling, exhaling or both. You may also notice your cat panting noisily or keeping its mouth open. Coughing is another symptom that often accompanies dyspnea. Whatever the systemic cause for labored breathing, your cat needs an immediate medical evaluation since this condition cannot be treated at home and can be deadly.

It is very disturbing to see your cat struggling to take a breath. Dyspnea, or difficulty breathing, is not a disease but a symptom of an underlying condition that could be caused by hundreds of diseases or medical conditions. For example, your cat may have a foreign object up its nose, or it may be experiencing allergy-induced asthma. Heart failure is another prime reason cats show signs of breathing difficulties, and this condition requires immediate veterinary evaluation.

Symptoms of Breathing Difficulties in Cats

When a cat is breathing rapidly with its mouth open, it’s obvious it’s having trouble breathing. Other symptoms of respiratory distress are more subtle but obvious to the eye and the ear. Since breathing difficulties in cats are dangerous and may rapidly become life threatening, seek immediate veterinary care if your cat is showing any of these symptoms:

  • Labored breathing
  • Panting
  • Exaggerated abdomen and chest movements
  • Crouching low to the ground with elbows out
  • Flared nostrils
  • Rapid breathing
  • Breathing with mouth agape
  • Head low to the ground
  • Noisy, raspy breathing
  • Coughing
  • Retching
  • Lethargy
  • Shaking

Causes of Breathing Difficulties in Cats

There are so many possible reasons a cat is showing respiratory distress, only a veterinarian can make the proper diagnosis. Some of the many varied reasons for breathing difficulties are:

  • Asthma
  • Airway obstruction
  • Anxiety 
  • Stress 
  • Obesity
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Shock
  • Heat stroke
  • Lung disease
  • Heart disease
  • Infections
  • Blood disorders
  • Pain
  • Poison ingestion
  • Pneumonia
  • Cancer
  • Hyperthyroidism

Diagnosis of Breathing Difficulties in Cats

Most likely, the first thing your veterinarian will do is ask you questions about when the breathing issues started, the symptoms you witnessed and what preceded the respiratory distress. If your cat is having serious difficulties breathing, your veterinarian will administer oxygen before testing begins. Your veterinarian may perform some or all of the following tests:

Physical Examination: Your cat’s general health will be determined by taking vital signs and examining its ears, eyes, nose and gums. Your cat’s lungs and chest will be listened to with a stethoscope to determine if there is fluid in the lungs or an abnormal heartbeat. The veterinarian may palpate the abdominal area also.

Blood Tests: Blood may be drawn to test the oxygen and carbon dioxide level in your cat’s blood and to check for heartworm disease. Other blood tests will show inflammation and or infections present.

Urine Sample: A urine test will aid in diagnosing the cause of the dyspnea.

X-rays and Ultrasound: These diagnostic tests help the veterinarian to virtually see inside your cat’s body to check for tumors, obstructions or fluid buildup.

Fluid aspiration: A sample of chest, lung and abdominal fluid may be drawn for evaluation and testing.

ECG: An ECG (electrocardiogram) test may be required if your veterinarian suspects a heart problem.

Endoscopy: If the breathing problem is caused by a blocked nasal cavity or airway, this test will help determine the next step in treatment, and it may aid in collecting tissue samples for testing.

Treatment of Breathing Difficulties in Cats

Depending on the reason for your cat’s dyspnea, treatment may be as simple as prescribing an antibiotic to more serious actions such as surgery or hospitalization with oxygen and IV therapy. 

Respiratory infection: Antibiotics are usually prescribed to fight the infection and aid in breathing.

Foreign object: If tests show a foreign object is obstructing the nasal passage, it may be removed in the office with surgical tweezers. 

Asthma: Steroids and bronchodilators are two of the medicines that may be prescribed to help your cat breathe easier.

Heat stroke: Your veterinarian will lower your cat’s body temperature and, if necessary, provide oxygen.

Dehydration: Your cat will be given an IV to increase fluids to a normal level.

Fluid in lungs, chest or abdomen: Fluid may be aspirated to relieve your cat’s distress.

Tumors and cancer: Surgery may be required to remove the growth along with oral or injectable medicines.

Recovery of Breathing Difficulties in Cats

In many cases, medicines and rest will aid in the recovery of your cat’s breathing problems. If veterinary care is administered quickly, heatstroke and dehydration are normally easy to treat and recovery is often rapid. If stress and anxiety are causing your cat to exhibit breathing difficulties, it’s imperative you find the cause of this distress and eliminate it if possible. If allergies are at the root of your cat’s dyspnea, your veterinarian will make suggestions on the best diet or bedding, and those changes will aid in your cat’s recovery.

If your cat has a serious diagnosis like cancer, surgery may require a prolonged hospital stay before it can be released from care. Other medical treatments like chemotherapy may be needed over an extended time. Be sure to keep all follow-up appointments with your veterinarian to ensure a speedy and total recovery and to avoid a recurrence of your cat’s medical emergency.

Breathing Difficulties Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Tinker
tabby
13 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Breathing Difficulties
bad breath

Medication Used

Steroid

Hi. My cat has recently developed two big lumps on either side of his face, just under his throat. There are smaller ones growing. I took him to the vet and they tested for cancer but the results were inconclusive. He also has a growth that does look like a tumour on the bridge of his mouth. The problem is is that he is still behaving normally and even enjoys the lumps being rubbed vigorously, and especially around his ear. I am reluctant to take him back to the same vet because they were keen to treat him for cancer and not interested in testing for other factors. I can tell you a change that occurred in the last few days - he has begun to breathe loudly and sleeps with his mouth open. Is there anything that you can suggest other than cancer? He is still quite active, very affectionate and is constantly eating, although it is more difficult for him. A few weeks before the first lump appeared he did seem to be in pain and tilting his head to the side. It made me think that it may have been his tooth but the vet said his teeth were very healthy. I am so distressed not knowing what else to have him tested for and I am stuck with this vet as they are concessionary and I am not working at this moment. Please help!

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
479 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I'm sorry that Tinker is having this problem. Without seeing him, I'm not sure that I can shed much light on what might be going on, but unfortunately as we age, cancer does move higher up the list of possibilities when things happen. If the masses under his jaw are his lymph nodes, and if he has a mass in his mouth, the probability of cancer is quite high. There is a possibility that it may be an infection and might respond to antibiotic therapy, but I am not sure, without seeing him. I hope that he continues to stay comfortable.

Add a comment to Tinker's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Rings
American Wirehair
13 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Breathing Difficulty
Tired
Quiet
Lethargic

My cat Rings, was given to us through a friends, friend. She settled in well and has been eating and drinking great but we noticed when she was breathing that her chest inflated and deflated rather quickly. As time as gone on, she hadn’t shown any difficulties and has been playing around and being her normal self. However, in the past few days, her breathing has become shortened and she seems to be panting. I’m becoming increasingly worried because even though she’s eating and drinking, she seems to be in some stress. Please help

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
479 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, without examining Rings, I can't comment on what might be going on with her. It would be best if she were seen by a veterinarian, and they can examine her, assess her breathing problems, and suggest a treatment for her. At 13, she could have an number of things, including a bacterial or fungal infection heart disease, or cancer. It would be best to have her examined.

Add a comment to Rings's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Chim-Chim
traditional persian
15-16
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Tired
Tires Easily

How do you cure dyspnea? because my cat has it and i am very worried it has asthma or something along those lines.
The cat has many shortness of breath we just found her outside with pine needles stuck in her tail and she was all dirty and we took her in and cared for her we technically saved her.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1978 Recommendations
Dyspnea isn’t a disease or condition, it is a symptom of another condition; it is important to evaluate the breathing issues with other symptoms to determine the underlying cause. Heart disease, infections, foreign objects among other conditions may be causing the breathing difficulties; given Chim-Chim’s age it would be advisable to have a Veterinarian check her over. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Julian from Eugene, Oregon. I was diagnosed of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in 2012 at the age of 63. My COPD got significantly worse and unbearable because of my difficulty catching breath. Last year, i started on a natural COPD Herbal therapy from NewLife Herbal Clinic, i read a lot of positive reviews from patients who used the treatment and i immediately started on it. I had great relief with this herbal treatment. I breath very much better now, no case of shortness of breath or chest tightness since treatment, my lungs condition is totally reversed. Visit NewLife Herbal Clinic website ww w. newlifeherbalclinic. com. This treatment is a miracle!!

Add a comment to Chim-Chim's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Po
Maine Coon
5 months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

My 5 month old kitten had become more lethargic and has been breathing very heavy in the last two weeks. We took him to the vet and she thought he might have strained something. Then the next day he was much worse. He has a rancid smell coming from his mouth and nose. He hasn't eaten in two days and he is showing signs of having a very very hard time breathing. Any pressure on his chest and he starts wheezing and squeaking. We are going to take him in tomorrow but, is there anything to do to ease his uncomfort?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1978 Recommendations
There really isn’t anything that you can do to ease Po’s discomfort at this time, the rancid smell from the mouth may be indicative of kidney disease or something else concerning which would require your Veterinarian’s attention. Just ensure that he is rested and isn’t being stressed by anything; access to water is also important but if he is struggling to breathe or it seems like he isn’t getting an adequate amount of oxygen you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Po's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Blackbear
House cat, i guess.
Around a year or less.
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Need for solitude
Lazyness
Coldness
Heavy Breathing

My cats been having slow, shallow breathes lately. I found him in the bathroom on a chair this morning, he was laying down but he looked uncomfortable. I got out the cat laser thing to see if that would cheer him up but he don't really care for it, he barely noticed. Hes a bit colder too I think. I don't think anything happened, he just suddenly got sick. I'm really worried about him, and my mother is refusing to take him to a hospital because it'll be too expensive.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1978 Recommendations
It is important to see if your cat really cold by checking her temperature which should be around 100.5ºF or higher, if it is lower you should visit a Veterinarian regardless of cost. There are many conditions which may be causing low body temperature, lethargy and breathing difficulties which may include internal disease, poisoning, environmental temperature among other conditions; without examining Blackbear I cannot say what the specific cause is. Try to keep Blackbear warm and encourage eating and drinking, but you should visit your Veterinarian to determine the cause and direct treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Julian from Eugene, Oregon. I was diagnosed of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in 2012 at the age of 63. My COPD got significantly worse and unbearable because of my difficulty catching breath. Last year, i started on a natural COPD Herbal therapy from NewLife Herbal Clinic, i read a lot of positive reviews from patients who used the treatment and i immediately started on it. I had great relief with this herbal treatment. I breath very much better now, no case of shortness of breath or chest tightness since treatment, my lungs condition is totally reversed. Visit NewLife Herbal Clinic website ww w. newlifeherbalclinic. com. This treatment is a miracle!!

Add a comment to Blackbear's experience

Was this experience helpful?