Rapid Breathing Average Cost

From 364 quotes ranging from $200 - 2,000

Average Cost

$500

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What is Rapid Breathing?

A normal healthy cat will take 20-30 regular breaths per minute. The air travels into your cat’s lungs and is used to oxygenate the blood, which is then circulated throughout your cat’s vital organs. When a cat is suffering from rapid breathing, this breath rate increases and often becomes irregular, or shallow. This can often be an indication that your cat is not able to bring enough oxygen into the lungs to supply their body’s need. Rapid breathing is a symptom that can be caused by a number of illnesses or injuries. Since regular breathing is vital, if your cat is suffering from rapid breathing (also known as tachypnea) it is a serious and life threatening condition and you should seek immediate veterinary care.

Symptoms of Rapid Breathing in Cats

It can be difficult, if not impossible, to actually count the number of breaths your cat is taking. There are a number of other indications, either gradually occurring over time or acute or sudden in onset, to watch for that would indicate your cat is having difficulties breathing. These include:

  • Blue tinged tongue, lips, or nose
  • Coughing or gagging
  • Lethargy or unwillingness to move
  • Lack of energy
  • Rapidly rising and falling stomach or chest
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Lowered heads with extension of neck and body forward, indicating difficulty in bringing in oxygen

Causes of Rapid Breathing in Cats

Rapid breathing is a symptom with a number of underlying illnesses and injury as potential causes. The most common of these include:

  • Trauma or injury
  • Tumors in chest or throat
  • Respiratory infections
  • Pulmonary edema (lungs filling with fluid)
  • Pneumonia
  • Asthma
  • Allergic reaction
  • Foreign objects lodged in windpipe or other airway obstruction
  • Pain, stress or shock

Diagnosis of Rapid Breathing in Cats

Diagnosis of rapid breathing in your cat will require your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause. This will involve diagnostic tests that may not seem related to breathing, such as blood work, urinalysis and other extensive systemic exams. Given the lengthy list of potential conditions, it will be important for you to provide your veterinarian with a thorough physical and medical history of your cat. If your cat is allowed outdoors, has recently suffered from a traumatic injury, or could potentially have fallen from a high surface, this will be important information to help identify potential trauma or pain. You should also provide your vet with a history of progression of symptoms such as approximate time of onset and any worsening or improvement. This will help your veterinarian narrow down potential causes.

Blood work will identify the presence of any infections and will involve a quick needle stick procedure, done in your veterinarian’s office. Depending on the results from a preliminary physical exam, review of symptoms, and blood work, your veterinarian may wish to order imaging of your cat’s chest area. Images such as x-rays or an ultrasound will help identify any fluid buildup, foreign objects, or potential tumors, masses or foreign objects that may be causing the heavy breathing. Depending on your cat, your vet may order a mild sedative be given to your cat to potential limit movement. Your cat remaining calm and still will have a large impact on the clarity of the images.

If heartworm is suspected, your vet will be able to perform a simple in office blood test to confirm whether your cat is infected with the parasite. 

Treatment of Rapid Breathing in Cats

Treatment of rapid breathing in your cat will be tailored to the specific cause of the condition. In the case of infections, pneumonia, or fluid filling the lungs, your vet will prescribe strong antibiotics to help fight off the infections. In many cases, your cat may need to be hospitalized so that they can be provided round the clock supportive care such as fluids, IV antibiotics, and administration of oxygen.

If your cat is suffering from shock or pain as a result of trauma, if no broken bones are detected your vet will often take a conservative approach and allow your cat to be released to go home with a prescription for pain medication. You will need to provide a safe, warm and quiet place for your cat to heal and recover. Allergies will be treated with antihistamines and ongoing medication dosage in the case of seasonal or non acute reactions. 

Recovery of Rapid Breathing in Cats

Long term prognosis for recovery of your cat will vary from cause to cause. Infections and pneumonia are serious illnesses that need a high degree of specialized veterinary care. In all cases, your cat’s chances for a full recovery will increase if immediate veterinarian care is sought as soon as initial symptoms are detected. Additionally, given the seriousness of lung and breathing issues, you should follow up after symptoms in your cat have resolved in order to prevent potential recurrence.

Rapid Breathing Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Kingston
domestic short hair
3 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Shortness of breath, shallow breath

My cat has started so breath really shallow more rapid breaths rather than his normal breathing rate and depth. The only thing I can think of that has occurred in the last couple of hours is that my fiancé fed him along with our other two male cats some beef tendon which she has done before. The other two cats are just fine. Kingston however seems to be having a hard time taking a full breath and breathing at a normal rate. I checked his mouth and did not see anything. He isn’t active like normal and will only sit in one spot and not move. I picked him up and held him in front of his back legs and behind his front legs and he let out a slight meow as to not like that. I am not sure what to do for him. We have some allergy medicine but I do not know if that would help in any way. I couldn’t even get him to take a treat which he never turns down. Please help.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1207 Recommendations
Allergy medicine wouldn’t help here, it may be a case that the beef tendon is causing pain or an obstruction for Kingston which may explain his posture of sitting and his increased respiratory rate. I would keep an eye on him, but if there is no improvement within a few hours I would recommend taking him into your Veterinarian for an examination; I wouldn’t induce vomiting since if there is an obstruction this may cause more pain and distress for him. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Roxanne
Siamese
6 Months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Rapid breathing
Weird sounds

Medication Used

None.

Hi! This is my first time using this website. I adopted a kitten from the humane society two months ago. She is currently 6 months old. She is an extremely sweet and loving kitten and have had no problems with her except for some gum swelling around 5 mo. I took her to a vet and was told she was fine, the gum swelling went down and she lost some baby teeth. I assumed the gum swelling was from that. I am now noticing in her rapid breathing when she is resting, and more recently, at random times she makes a monotone short snore sound. It’s almost as if she is having issues breathing. I have noticed zero behavioral changes. She seems to be doing fine, however I know cats can hide their issues well. I will add she is a Siamese kitten and talks like one!

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1207 Recommendations
You shouldn’t notice breathing rates over 40 breaths per minute in a resting cat; an increase in respiration may be due to inadequate airflow, malpositioning of the throat, respiratory infection, heart issues among other causes. Without examining Roxanne I cannot say for sure what is happening, keep a close eye on her and if you decide to have her fixed speak with your Veterinarian then. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Smudge
Short haired domestic
15 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Rapid breathing legarthy listless. She's normally an outdoor cat but doesn't really want to go out. Having accidents indoors, sleeping more than normal. Not eaten much but drinking milk, sits on cabinet with her back to us

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1207 Recommendations
A cat shouldn’t be breathing more than around 40 breaths per minute when at rest, if her breathing is above this rate then it may be indicative of something going on. An increase in breathing may be due to infections, heart disease, cancer, pleural effusion, allergies among other causes; given Smudge’s age, I would have your Veterinarian take a look at her to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Darcy
Tortoishell
2 Days
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Rapid breathing

Medication Used

none

Okay so we’ve had our cat since being a kitten and she’s always been very scatty as we think she was abused, due to getting her and her having marks on her neck, but her breathing has always been rapid. (80 resps per minute) but in herself, she’s like any normal cat. She’s very friendly, not in any form of pain, is this something that needs to be addressed?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1207 Recommendations
There are a few possible causes of rapid breathing or increased respiration rate in cats which may be due to allergies, infection, foreign objects, sign of pain, other pulmonary problems among other issues. It is important that any serious causes or ruled out or treated, it would be best to have your Veterinarian give Darcy a check up to be on the safe side on your next visit as 80 breaths per minute is around double the physiological range. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/Health_Information/dyspnea.cfm

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