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Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions

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BRIEF: What is wrong with my cat?


QUESTION:
I have a cat who has extreme breathing problems. She has had this condition since she was born. My boss did an exploratory surgery on her and found nothing. She thought maybe she had a polyp in her nasal cavity. These are her symptoms: whenever she purrs, she starts out normal but then gets a really high pitched wheezy sound, then starts coughing violently. I'm not even sure that it's a cough, because it sounds like a very loud sneeze. When this happens, she has to lie down on her side and she goes on like this for about ten or fifteen minutes. Sometimes her gums get bluish like she isn't recieving enough oxygen, but she has never passed out. These sneeze/cough things rack her whole body, and she squints her eyes through the whole process like she's in pain. We have tried different medications, the most recent being Antirobe, but nothing helps. The only thing that brings this on is purring.

ANSWER:

I am not a vet. I do research, teaching and extension work in the fields of nutrition and toxicology. Sometimes I can help clinicians with nutrition or toxicology questions (especially with ruminants), but I am not qualified to do cat medicine over the internet. I have seen humans with similar symptoms diagnosed with asthma and given a blast with one of those inhalers. Good luck doing that on a cat!