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

Kokwa
Birman
7 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Open mouth breathing

My 7month old cat is brething so fast.. early today, we had a family/relative get together in our house. The children are playing with kokwa, kokwa is afraid and keeps on running away from the children, he hides so no one can caught him. Tonight, i notice his rapid open mouth breathing.. how's my cat? This is so unusual. Can you help me find what is happening to Kokwa?

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 Recommendations
Kokwa may be breathing fast due to stress, pain, respiratory infection, heart conditions, anaemia (check gums), poisoning among other causes; without examining Kokwa and listening to the heart and lungs I cannot say specifically what may be wrong. You should keep a close eye on Kokwa and if the breathing doesn’t improve you should visit your Veterinarian in the morning or if you see he is in respiratory distress or his gums are white visit an Emergency Veterinarian immediately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Lucy
American Shorthair
10 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

I just noticed my 10yr old female cat has been breathing very fast and shallow. It started about 24 hrs ago. Should I keep an eye on her over the weekend, or is this something I should rush her to the doctor for?

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 Recommendations
Any changes in breathing should be concerning, you should keep a close eye on Lucy to see if it passes; if it seems like she is having difficulty getting enough oxygen or her gums are pale you should visit a Veterinarian immediately. Infections, laryngeal disorders, airway obstructions, tumours, poisoning, anaemia among other causes may cause respiratory difficulties. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Unamed
Grey tabby?
Approximately 4 weeks
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Was unwilling to eat for a bit
Was unwilling to move for a bit
Had a very slight fever 103.2
Watery eyes

I have a four week old kitten who was dewormed today and i took in for a check up because he wasnt moving much and wasnt eating. When we got home he ate from his bottle and walked around a little. Right now hes fast asleep but his chest is rising and falling way faster than his littermates. Is he okay, what should i do?

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 Recommendations
You should keep an eye on the kitten for now and ensure that he remains hydrated; rapid breathing may be attributable to numerous causes but shouldn’t be an issue unless he is in distress. See how he is over the next day or two, but if you don’t see any improvement you should visit your Veterinarian for another examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Zoey
Long hair tabby
16-17
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Coughing

My 16 year old cat is breathing very rapidly. She also has lost a lot of weight in last few months but she is eating excessively. Seems ok otherwise. Is an illness causing this ? Is her age a big factor ?

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 Recommendations
Age can have an effect on any animal and may cause a minor issue for a younger animal to be more severe in an older one; rapid breathing may be caused by a few different causes which may include pain, obstruction, heart failure among other issues. Given Zoey’s age, you should certainly visit your Veterinarian for an examination and a blood test to check her numbers. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Shadow
Unknown
4 Months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Heavy Breathing

Why does my 4 month old kitten breathe heavily while sleeping on his back? It's only when he sleeps that way and as though he just ran a long distance. He's fine at all other times but I'm worried he may be struggling to breathe.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 Recommendations
If Shadow is having trouble breathing whilst laying on his back, it may be attributable to a few different issues, but head position and the soft palate can cause a restriction in the airway which may cause some breathing difficulty; at your next visit to your Veterinarian ask them to check his throat and soft palate for any issues. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Umi
mixed
6 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

swollen popliteal lymph nodes
low white blood cell count
Lethargy
Diarrhea
tachypnea

Medication Used

Clavaseptin 62.5 mg

My cat (6 years old, castrated , female) for a week is showing signs of periodic but long lasting tachypnea. During the last week her breathing rate has reached 60/min ( normal 18-20/min) . Whenever she is tachypneic she is also very lethargic . Her popliteal lymph nodes are swollen and her white blood cel count ( 4,63 ) and neutrophil count (2.48) is slightly low. Abdominal ultrasound , cardiac and thoracic x rays did not show any abdonormalities ( mesenteric lymph nodes heart and lungs were normal ). Biochemical blood work results where normal . She is FeLV and FIV negative. She is also suffering from diarrhea and frequent urination ( 6 times daily)
She has been taking antibiotics Clavaseptin 62,5mg for a week without visible results .
What could be the cause of these symptoms ?
Thank you very much I look forward to your answer.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 Recommendations
The next step would be to have a fine needle aspirate done on the popliteal lymph nodes to determine the types of cells present; lymph nodes can aggregate white blood cells in response to many conditions so an examination of the aspirate would be useful. With other parameters coming back normal, it is difficult to say what the specific cause is; but speak with your Veterinarian about performing a fine needle aspirate to help narrow in on a diagnosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Darcy
Tortoishell
2 Days
Moderate condition
1 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?

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 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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Manx
Cross breed
2 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Its been 3 days until he was breath fast, he is listless but then he can still groom himself and eat but only fish, he can still drink on his own a lot, scratch his scabies

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 Recommendations
There are many possible causes for the symptoms you are describing which include infections, parasites, congenital anomalies among other causes; but if you are suspecting that Manx has scabies you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination and skin scraping so you Veterinarian can assess him and give treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Teddy
Siamese
3 or 4 years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

No bowl movement for three days
Not very active
Not urinating daily
Eating and drinking little
Short and fast breathing

I took my cat into the vet Monday and Tuesday. he was giving a shot to bring down his fever both times also antibiotics that he is still receiving morning and night.he was acting up not eating not drinking water and a fever. Wednesday and thursday he was just fine being normal but he still hasn't ate a lot. Thursday night his breathing started to become fast and short what could this be. Vet did not believe this was distemoer.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 Recommendations
There are many different causes for the symptoms which you are describing which most likely are attributable to an infection; continue with the antibiotics and feed some plain canned pumpkin to help move the bowels a little, if Teddy isn’t drinking you should try syringing water to the mouth little by little as it is important he remains hydrated. See how he goes, but if there is no improvement you should return to your Veterinarian for another examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Leo
Orange tabby
15 Weeks
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Rapid breathing

Cat has been breathing relatively quickly-- brought him home to family for holidays. Was wondering if this is due to stress or if he has something else. Also sleeping more than usual

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 Recommendations
Stress may be a contributing factor for why Leo is breathing rapidly and sleeping, also a new environment may have other allergens or contaminants like cigarette smoke or different cleaning products which may cause some respiratory irritation. You should keep an eye on Leo for the meantime and if the problem continues you should visit your Veterinarian when you get back. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Jinx
dsh
1year
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Fever, fast breathing
Fever

Medication Used

Cerenia? Fever reducer

My cat was seen by my vet 2 days ago for lethargy, loss of appetite and rapid breathing. The vet diagnosed a viral or bacterial infection and slight dehydration. She had a temp of 103.4. She was given I.V. fluid, a long acting antibiotic shot and a fever reducer. She's not much better. Should I give the medication more time to work or does she need to be seen again.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 Recommendations
Two days is still early days for treatment but you should start seeing some improvement in the next day or so, I would say to give it the weekend and if there is no improvement in Jinx’s condition you should return to your Veterinarian on Monday for another examination. Improvement in an animal's condition, especially with antibiotics, can be delayed in most cases so unless your Veterinarian said specifically ‘you’ll see improvement over the next 24 hours’ or something similar you should give it three or four days at least. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Alaska
short hair
6 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Breaths Faster At Rest

Recently my cat has been breathing a lot. I counted how much she breaths in a minute and it led up to 62 times. My cat is a indoor cat and has never gone outside and she is around 6 months old. We started feeding her a new type of brand of food 2 weeks ago and I don’t know if that was the cause. Is my cat sick?

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 Recommendations
Resting respiratory rate in a cat is around 15-40 breaths per minute, if Alaska is breathing more than that then it may be indicative of some underlying medical issue; without examining Alaska it is difficult for me to say specifically the cause or any treatment. An increase in respiratory effort may be attributable to pain, fluid in the lungs, narrowed airways among other issues; if you have recently changed food you should try changing back again but I would recommend having your Veterinarian check Alaska over to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Possum
Scottish Fold
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

I have a 7 yr old Scottish Fold. I took her to the vet on Friday because I noticed her breathing rapidly. The vet said there were no signs of a respiratory infection (lungs sounded clear, eyes & ears appeared fine) but gave her a shot of antibiotics and some pain med. (in case she was panting due to being in pain)and sent us home. Its now 2 days later and shes still having a hard time breathing. Could she possibly jst have a stuffy nose from allergies and thats causing her to struggle. I mentioned it to the vet, but he said no because her nose doesnt have any discharge.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 Recommendations
There are various causes for rapid breathing with pain being a common cause; infections, foreign bodies, heart conditions, allergies among other conditions may also cause rapid breathing. It may be worth trying to get Possum into the bathroom whilst you take a shower to see if the warm humid air helps to open her airway; otherwise we are a little bit stuck for a cause. If the cause was due to a blocked nose, your Veterinarian would have detected that on the physical examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Cupcake
Calico
6 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

not drinking
Rapid breathing
Noisy Breathing
Loss of Appetite

My daughters cat is mainly an inside cat but goes outside on occasion, 3 days ago she went outside to have a sniff when she spotted another cat and went bolting after it , in panic my daughter and I went running after her when we retrieved her she started vomiting up what I guessed was stomach acid due to the fact her body was not prepared or designed for that fast bolt. My daughter let her distress and calm down. Later in the evening we noticed she was still breathing very rapidly like she was when we retrieved her we thought maybe she was still highly stressed and that it may go away by morning. Morning came and I had work my daughter was looking after her cat and her condition had not changed my daughter tried feeding the cat her favourite treat ham which she usually can’t get enough of and now she ate one little bit and left the rest which is very out of character , my daughter told me this when I got home so I tired to feed the cat some dinner and she wouldn’t touch it this is when my daughter and started to feel really worried. We wanted to take her to the vet the next day but unfortunately all of them were closed due to it being a Sunday and we noticed she hadn’t used her litter and hadn’t been drinking unless my daughter fed water to her though a syringe. It is the middle of the night now when I’m writing this and she is still rapidly breathing and still hasn’t eaten for 2days please any help would be appreciated this cat is everything to my daughter thank you I hope to hear from you soon

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 Recommendations
I cannot think of a connection between the running after another cat and the symptoms that she is presenting with except possibly hypoglycemia (normally causes an increase in appetite) due to the blood glucose level being too low. I would suggest to rub a little corn syrup or honey on the gums to see if there is any improvement in Cupcake’s symptoms; ensure you keep Cupcake hydrated and visit your Veterinarian on Monday morning, if the symptoms increase in severity visit an Emergency Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Lucky
Siamese
13 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Loss of Appetite

My cat lucky is 13 Siamese cat, he has always had a healthy appetite and was a big boy. Recently he isn't eating as much, he vomits a lot, he lost weight, a lot of weight, gags, and sometimes at night his breathing sounds off, it's not tapir, or to slow just sounds muffled a little heavy?? I am worried

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 Recommendations
There are a few possible causes for the symptoms which you have described which may include infections, parasites, liver disease, cancer, kidney failure among other issues; given Lucky’s age, I would recommend an examination by your Veterinarian along with a blood test to check his internal health. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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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.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 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!

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 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

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1706 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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