Wheezy older cat?
April 17, 2014 11:29 AM Subscribe
For the last several of months our 21 year old Sita
has become increasingly wheezy. In January and February, we only noticed the wheeze after a glucosamine treat in the mornings. Starting around the end of February/beginning of March, she became really wheezy when she purred hard. It sounded...wet? The wheeziness would get really bad, she would swallow/take a big gulp of air and then go back to a "normal" amount of wheeze.
posted by source.decay to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)
We took her to the vet in mid March. The vet listened all around her lungs and throat and could hear some whistling and nothing too terrible. After taking an x-ray, the vet told us that there was a large amount of air in her stomach as well as a slightly enlarged heart. We were sent home with Prednisone steroid to help decrease any inflammation that could be causing the wheeziness and immune boosting treats. The first week, the steroid helped slightly and the vet said to continue her on it and increase to 1/2 tablet from a 1/4 tablet for three days if we notice it getting worse or not getting better. When we increased the dosage, her wheeziness became remarkably worse. She stopped wanting to be around us because EVERY time she would purr, she would immediately start gasping for air and breathing primarily out of her mouth. We went back down to the 1/4 tablet and her wheeziness returned to "normal" and we go back to the vet. The vet took another x-ray and noticed that her heart has enlarged by a small amount in the 3-4 weeks she has been on the steroid (and her weight went from 8lbs 2oz to 8lbs 8oz!). The vet was worried the steroid might be causing heart disease and wanted to schedule her for a heart echo.
We tapered the Cat Butt Monster off the steroid and brought her in for the echo yesterday. She has a small murmur, but no other signs of heart disease and she has a nearly clean bill of health (ongoing early stage kidney disease). The internist, who preformed the echo, recommended that we go back on the steroid as well as a bronchial dilator. Today we are starting her on the 1/2 tablet of the steroid with a twice a day dilator which, thankfully, are small enough to give with treats and we don't have to shove pills down her throat. I voiced my concern about her wheezing getting worse on the higher dosage, but the vet thinks with the dilator, it should help quite a bit. As as side note, we are moving from New England to Alberta, Canada soon and the vet mentioned that our cat might have grown sensitive to some dust/mold/spore in the air here and this all might clear up once we get her to the fresh mountain air.
My question is - has anyone else gone through this with an older cat and can share any experience or words of wisdom or something else we can try? We have a humidifier in the room she hangs out in the most if the dry winter air was a cause, but I could see any difference with or without it going. I hate watching her not be able to catch her breath and I worry about putting her back on the steroids.