Pneumothorax Average Cost

From 377 quotes ranging from $1,000 - 5,000

Average Cost


First Walk is on Us!

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

Jump to Section

What is Pneumothorax?

A pneumothorax condition is defined as free air within the pleural space (chest cavity). The naturally occurring intra-pleural pressure maintains an equilibrium of roughly 5 cmH20, similar to a vacuum which allows easy expansion of the lungs. However, unwanted air can enter this vacuum system and the equilibrium is set to match that of the chest cavity rather than the lungs. Pneumothorax can occur due to trauma, such as the action of a punctured lung will allow atmospheric air to enter the pleural space.

Pneumothorax in cats is characterized by air occupying the space surrounding the lungs. The lungs are the body’s natural oxygen storage organs, expanding as the feline inhales, but if air is surrounding the lungs it restricts normal lung activity. Pneumothorax in cats can be caused by ruptured lung tissues, blunt force trauma and bite wounds. If your cat is suffering from pneumothorax, he or she will have a great breathing difficulty, which is often fatal if left untreated.

Symptoms of Pneumothorax in Cats

Pneumothorax in cats will make inhalation and exhalation extremely difficult for the feline. The most prominent symptom of cats suffering from pneumothorax is difficulty breathing (dyspnea), but other clinical signs a cat owner may notice in the case of pneumothorax in cats includes: 

  • Exercise intolerance
  • Cyanotic (blue tinged) gums and tongue
  • Labored breathing
  • Increased respiratory rate 
  • Restlessness 
  • Sternal recumbency lying (the feline will lay on her sternum in an upright position in an attempt to bring more air into her lungs)
  • Anorexia
  • Tachypnea (shallow, rapid breath)
  • Open-mouthed breathing


Pneumothorax in cats is classified into three separate groups; iatrogenic, spontaneous and traumatic. 

Iatrogenic Pneumothorax 

The result of medical mishap during a surgical procedure. Common surgical procedures that sometimes result in pneumothorax in cats include lung surgery, intubation, thoracostomy tube placement, thoracentesis and bronchoscopy. 

Spontaneous Pneumothorax 

The result of no obvious underlying cause, without trauma. Common causes of spontaneous pneumothorax include:

  • Ruptured esophagus, lungs, trachea or bronchus.
  • Asthma
  • Lung and/or pulmonary abscess or cysts
  • Parasites in the lungs
  • Pneumonia 
  • Lung flukes
  • Heartworms
  • Cancer
  • Pulmonary bleb rupture 
  • Bullae emphysema 

Traumatic Pneumothorax

The most common cause of pneumothorax in cats caused by: 

  • Lung infection
  • Falls 
  • Hit-by-car accidents
  • Broken, fractured ribs
  • Stab wounds, bites, and gunshots 

Causes of Pneumothorax in Cats

Air can enter the chest cavity in one of two ways, termed open and closed pneumothorax. Open pneumothorax is caused by a hole in the chest wall allowing outside air to enter the pleural space surrounding the lungs. Open pneumothorax in cats is often caused by a bite wound, gunshot to the chest, or blunt force trauma causing a broken rib to tear a hole through the chest wall. Closed pneumothorax is caused by a respiratory leak in the esophagus or other parts of the respiratory system. A closed pneumothorax in cats is often the result of ruptured lung tissues, tumors, and parasite infestation. 

Diagnosis of Pneumothorax in Cats

Your veterinarian will begin his or her diagnosis of pneumothorax by reviewing your feline’s medical history and conducting a thorough physical examination. The doctor will listen to the cat’s lung auscultation using a tool called a stethoscope, which will allow the veterinarian to determine respiratory rate and abnormal breathing sounds. After listening to the feline’s lung sounds and speaking with you about clinical signs noted at home, the vet will likely request the following diagnostic exams: 

  • Biochemistry profile: aid in the evaluation of the feline’s kidneys and liver.
  • Complete blood cell count (CBC): general blood health. 
  • Pulse oximetry and arterial blood gas: a test to determine the feline’s ability to oxygenate. 
  • Chest radiographs (x-rays): reveal the presence of air in the chest cavity. 

Treatment of Pneumothorax in Cats

Pneumothorax in cats is often treated as a medical emergency, therefore, your veterinarian will likely place the feline on supportive oxygen care for stabilization purposes. An oxygen cage, oxygen mask, or an esophageal tube may be placed to administer oxygen therapy. The doctor may proceed to conduct a procedure known as a thoracocentesis, which removes the air from the pleural cavity through the action of needle aspiration. If a large amount of air is occupying the chest cavity, the veterinarian may place a chest tube to allow larger amount of air to escape from the chest. If the condition was caused by trauma or leakage of a respiratory organ, the veterinarian will surgically repair the opening. 

Pneumothorax in cats caused by parasites will require anti-parasitic drug therapy and underlying disease will be treated based on the veterinarian’s findings. 

Recovery of Pneumothorax in Cats

Your cat will likely be hospitalized for a couple of days to remove the air from the lungs and ensure regular breathing habits are set in place. Once the feline is released from the hospital, exercise restrictions are recommended and follow-up care is to be expected. Some cases of pneumothorax in cats can be prevented by keeping the feline indoors when you are not home and keeping up-to-date on parasite preventatives. 

Pneumothorax Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

9 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms


My indoor 9 yr old cat was diagnosed with left lower lung collapse and suspected mass. She’s up to date on vaccinations. What causes this. She’s on doxy drops 0.6 cc for a month. I’m using a humidifier. The vet at the clinic suggested US or CT. Which is a better modality for diagnosis? They suggested possibly lymphoma. She’s eating and drinking fine. But sounds crackly. No open mouth breathing though. Thoughts?

Add a comment to Gypsy's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Baby Oreo
4 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

On the 23 dec nite my cat name oreo seem to be breathless but i do check that the tongue not pink colour but the condition that nite worst.A month before the sickness stike his use to sleep and not active use to be before.So that nite 23 dec at 11:30 our family him to the 24 hours vet at whitley as the doc do the xtray and put him at oxigen box as doctor mention need to suck out the fluid.The procedure done without our family around cause doctor told us to go back and they will update.At about 5am doctor call and said that my cat are stabil but hour later doctor call and inform that my cat die.I and family totally shock and asking and searching for answer is the doctor did right thing or is the procedure done to soon without doing the scan first before they proceed with the operation.Please guide us to find the answer the cause of the death our most beloving cat.

Add a comment to Baby Oreo's experience

Was this experience helpful?

domestic short hair
Eight Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Rapid breathing

Medication Used

Under kitty magic sedation

My cat had a thoracentitis and during the procedure there was a point a small amount of the fluid came out pink tinged, but resolved. What could that have been indicative of? She later passed within an hour after breathing rapidly. She was thought to have some hard disease possibly and scheduled for a pluerectomy and tying off of her lymph duct the following week.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3318 Recommendations
A small amount of pink tinged fluid doesn’t tell us much, the pink colour may be due to a little bit of blood from the puncture wound to drain the fluid; examination of the fluid in more detail to look for cancerous cell or other indicators would have been more valuable. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to May's experience

Was this experience helpful?

long hair
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

A bit lethargic

Medication Used

Pain killer

My cat was diagnosed with very small amount of air in the chest . This happened after he fell from a third floor. What are the odds of it getting worse? Will it get better without further treatment? His breathing is normal.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3318 Recommendations
It really depends on the severity of the injury especially if there is internal damage to the lungs or to the chest cavity wall; without examining Milano I cannot say whether this would get worse or not but if he is breathing normally you should monitor him but surgery may be required and should be discussed with your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Milano's experience

Was this experience helpful?

7 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Huge weight loss,notdrinking on own

Cat was poked/stabbed with something by a child being mean. Small pen size punctures. It's been 4 days Now and breathing has now become with mouth opened and heavy!it's a stray kitten and no vet anywhere close nor do I have money! I need to know if there is any kids pain meds I can give her and amounts and if nebuliver treatments will help and if albutorl is okay to use in it.or somehow to release air that may be surrounding lungs. I really don't want to lose this kitten. I have a bond with her now and I need help saving her.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1608 Recommendations
There are not any safe OTC medications for cats, and many of them are quite toxic. If she has had trauma to her chest cavity, I'm not sure that nebulizer treatments will help her. If she is open mouth breathing, that is a serious condition in cats and indicates significant breathing problems. She does need to see an emergency veterinarian, and home care will likely not help her. I hope that she is okay.

Add a comment to Stray's experience

Was this experience helpful?

3 Weeks
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Mouth open breathing
Sleeps a lot
Looks for nipple but wont eat
Lungs sound like plastic bag
Very quiet meow

My kitten was stepped pn by my roommate. He takes big spaced out breaths, breaths with mouth open, refuses to eat but searches his mom for a nipple, sleeps 99% of the time. And his meow his very quiet now. His lungs sound like someone messing with a plastic bag.

Add a comment to Marvel's experience

Was this experience helpful?

5 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Unable to jump
Open mouth purring
Heavy Breathing

Medication Used


My cat was diagnosed with a collapsed lung on the left side, as well as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. X-ray also showed a dark spot, possibly a mass, on the right side of her chest. She is only 4 years old. What are the chances of this possible mass being cancer? And what is the correct treatment for the collapsed lung? My vet prescribed an antibiotic for 14 days in case of bacteria in the lungs, but other than that, she did not discuss treatment for the pneumothorax long term. Cam is resolve on its own?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3318 Recommendations
Dark spots on an x-ray indicate air and grey/white spots indicate tissue, bone, foreign objects etc… the denser the tissue or object the more white it is; I cannot say what the mass may be without examining Aida and reviewing x-rays. Treatment for pneumothorax depends on the underlying cause and the severity which may include medical management, surgery, drainage of air from the pleural cavity among other options. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Aida's experience

Was this experience helpful?