Cats and Panting.

vertigho

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So recently my cat Bruce had started panting occasionally. It would be happen after he had been running around, and the panting would generally last for 5-15 seconds.

Bruce is a 1 year old, orange and white, domestic short-hair. I got him back in late February, and when he first came home, he had some occasional panting, but I chalked that up to the fact that he hadn't been able to run in months. This eventually went away.

Bruce has always had some "snoring" sounds. I noticed them since the day that he came home, and the vet checked him out, and said he wasn't at all concerned.

He's always had this "snoring" sound occasionally, but just recently he has started panting again. When Bruce was a kitten (according to the SPCA records) he nearly died from a severe URI (upper respiratory infection). He was given some heavy-duty drugs to help him out, but he did finally come out.

The panting isn't constant, it only happens a handful of times per day, and it doesn't last long (anywhere from 5-20 seconds). He's still eating well, he's still running around and playing, and he doesn't appear to be in any kind of distress. (In other words, he's acting like a perfectly fine kitty, aside from the panting.)

I took him to the vet today, and the vet checked him over. He said that his heart sounded fine, as did his lungs. He checked his mouth and he didn't see anything in there, and he was able to determine that he didn't have any kind of invasion tumor in his nasal passage. Overall, he wasn't concerned with him.

He said that his best prediction is that he has some type of tissue damage, or nerve damage in his nasal passage or throat that was either there when he was born, or that was damaged when he was sick. He said that if this was the case, it'd affect him for his entire life, but it's not by any means a serious thing. He said that he could do a chest x-ray, but due to the fact that he didn't have any reason to think that he'd find anything, he said that there was no point.

Again, Bruce is acting perfectly fine, and the vet said that nothing "jumped out" at him. He just told us to keep an eye on him, and assuming that the panting doesn't get worse, and assuming that he continues to act fine then there should be no worries....

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
 

nekochan

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Does he do it randomly or only after exertion? I have one cat who would play very long/hard if I let him keep playing with Da Bird, he'd play until he was panting-- that type of panting is normal if it is due to a lot of exertion like his was. I also have a black Maine Coon who will pant if she is put in a semi-warm area or if she is in direct sunlight (such as when we're in the car on the way to the vet) due to her being too warm, between her long insulating fur and light-absorbing color...
 
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vertigho

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Originally Posted by Nekochan

Does he do it randomly or only after exertion? I have one cat who would play very long/hard if I let him keep playing with Da Bird, he'd play until he was panting-- that type of panting is normal if it is due to a lot of exertion like his was. I also have a black Maine Coon who will pant if she is put in a semi-warm area or if she is in direct sunlight (such as when we're in the car on the way to the vet) due to her being too warm, between her long insulating fur and light-absorbing color...
It seems somewhat random. If he's been chasing the other cats around, he'll occasionally pant, but if he sees them again, he'll immediately begin chasing them.

Sometimes he'll pant after no exertion, but that happens less commonly. Other times he won't pant after exertion.

It all seems somewhat random, but regardless of the situation, it doesn't seem to last long, and he seems to recover quickly.

Again, he's acting fine, and the vet said he had no major concerns with him....
 

carolina

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I would do a chest x-ray... This does sound like heart to me. My cat who has a heart murmur gets panting too... Snoring is another sign of heart problems...
I had several x-rays done to make sure Hope's heart was not enlarged - for the moment she is fine. In the future I plan to scan her for HCM though.
When I discussed the panting with my vet, she told me to just not push the exercise too much... They will keep a close look on her heart.
 
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vertigho

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He listened to his heart and said he heard no issues - he had a regular heart beat, and he heard no murmur.
 
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vertigho

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I did some research regarding HCM, and I'm not terribly concerned about Bruce. He isn't a purebred, and he's a domestic shorthair... so that right there puts him at a lower risk level.

Although he does have occasional panting, I did calculate that he was breathing at 22 breaths per minutes at a resting rate - which is basically perfect.

Lastly, the vet listened to his heart and lungs, and he heard absolutely nothing wrong. I know my vet, and I know that if he thought that the slightest thing was wrong, he'd recommend taking further action, but as I said, he said that Bruce's lungs and heart sounded perfect. Regular heartbeat, and no murmur. He also doesn't have any other symptoms (anorexia, coughing, lethargy, reluctance to lie down, lack of appetite, etc, etc).

With all of this said, I'm fully confident that my boy doesn't have any kind of heart problems, or any kind of serious issues right now... I fully expect that (as the vet said) that he has some nerve or tissue damage in his throat or nasal passage and that's he perfectly fine.

As I said, his heat and lungs were completely perfect according to the vet after an examination... on top of that, he doesn't have any of the "risk factors" that you look for (breed) and he has no other symptoms, other than an occasional pant which lasts for a few seconds....

I'm nearly positive that Mr. Bruce is fine. He was examined, and absolutely nothing concerning popped up.
 

gloriajh

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You didn't say how much he weighs.


I have a large cat - 18 + pounds, with long fur, domestic.

If he's been outside in the heat, (I'm in the desert - so 100 degree heat in the summer is usual) he'll come in panting. I've only noticed this panting when he's been hot.

He loves it when I take a cloth soaked in cool water and wash his face, ears and, if he'll let me, the pads on his feet. It does help him cool off much faster, too.

He does snore, too - so, like others, here, I was (am) concerned about his heart, but nothing has shown up that would indicate a heart issue. It could be that when he gets older something will become obvious.
 

carolina

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Just a note to the OP: Hope's original vet never got her heart murmur either. He examined her for over a year, and even through a serious IBD issue when she was there pretty often. The shelter vet never got either.
Only when I moved to another vet this issue came up, then I confirmed with yet a different vet as this issue had never come up with the 2 previous vets and as you can imagine I was seriously doubting it.
The vet that was originally taking care of her has over 40 years of experience...
I was not going to say this, but I advise you asking this question specifically (Heart murmur).
Panting can happen to any cat, but it is not really common... Your cat however, has two symptoms that can indicate heart issue though - panting AND snoring. Chest x-ray is not really expensive, and the vet can see if the heart shows enlargement - if it doesn't you can have some peace of mind.
I am not saying at all your cat has something... please don't take me wrong, I am just saying that the fact that this hasn't been brought up doesn't mean it is not going on - it wasn't brought up to my attention either, so I thought about sharing my experience.
 
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vertigho

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So I called the vet today and I'm going to get Bruce in on Wednesday to get a chest x-ray.

The vet still doesn't expect to find anything out of the normal (he didn't hear any kind of mumur or irregular beat during his recent exam) but this will completely rule out any kind of heart or lung problems. Assuming that everything looks normal, I think I'll finally be able to relax, and assume that he has a minor issue.
 

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My cat Fang, who died last month from undiagnosed HCM. It was an emergency to the hospital, he suddenly became paralyzed from a blood clot from the heart. He had started panting occasionally after rough housing with the others, it was hot outside, I thought nothing of it. He was a buff DSH. Even at the ER, the vet heard nothing wrong with his heart. IT is a genetic heart disease that can be slowed down, but not cured. I wish I had been more concerned about the panting, I may have been able to extend his life with medications and blood thinners. Good luck at the vet, I hope there is nothing there, but if there is, I am glad you are catching it early while it can be treated.
 

mews2much

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I know many breeders that lost cats to HCM.
The cats were fine then dropped dead.
There was no heart murmur in many of them.
I would have your cat scanned for HCM.
A chest xray will not show that.
BTW my 18.6 year old cat was pts a few weeks ago because she threw a blood clot and had a stroke.
It was caused but a hear problem we found out she had 2 months before I lost her.
 

gloriajh

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Personally - I know I have a heart murmur - a lot of people do and don't know it - I'm told it's common, and that as one ages the murmur may become more noisy. To date, I have felt no ill effects from a "slight murmur".

I have had only two doctors that have told me about the murmur - the first one, an internist on a regular physical exam, and later my GYN mentioned it - that was probably 10 years ago. I'm in my 60's now.

I mentioned this because not all doctors will pick up a slight murmur just with a stethoscope.
 

gailuvscats

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A heart murmer does not always mean HCM or visa versa. But if one is heard, the doctor has reason to rule out HCM. If they don't hear anything, as was the case with my cat, they have no reason to investigate further to see if the heart murmer is a symptom of something else, maybe HCM.
 

brooklet425

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Add me to the list of people who had a cat with no murmur, but died very suddenly and very unexpectedly from undiagnosed HCM. I don't want to scare you, but I would definitely have your cat scanned for HCM. My cat was my healthiest cat...or so I thought. He went in for regular checkups, and the vet never heard a heart murmur or suspected anything wrong with his heart. When he got sick, the vet still couldn't figure out what was wrong. An x-ray showed a normal looking heart. He had symptoms of a blood clot (limping, lethargic), but the E-vet and my own vet still heard and saw nothing wrong with his heart. He was eventually diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, which they found by accident while trying to figure out what was wrong with him. The symptons he had weren't symptoms of PKD (he wasn't in renal failure yet). 2 weeks after acting "off" he literally just collapsed and died...within seconds. He had eaten that morning, drank water, used the litter box, played...and suddenly he was dead. It was only after he died that the vet reached the conclusion that he had HCM. I never had any reason to have him scanned for it because the symptoms didn't appear until it was too late. But now I live in fear of HCM. One of my other cats was just diagnosed with a heart murmur and she's going back to the vet this week for a recheck..and then a trip to the cardiologist.

Anyway, my point is, your cat has symptoms of HCM, and the fact that his heart looks fine on x-rays and sounds fine, doesn't mean that it is fine. HCM is internal and can only be given a guaranteed diagnosis by seeing the inside of the heart.

I truly hope your cat has nothing wrong. But after my experience I would absolutely have your cat scanned for it. My Meepers was just over 2 years old when he died, and I wish I had known that something was wrong. I still feel guilty because I might have been able to keep him alive and happy a little longer
. HCM is scary, and seems to be an "invisible" disease in many cases. So please have your cat checked out and please let us know what happens. I hope your situation has a happy ending
.
 
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vertigho

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I got Bruce into the vet today, and they again listened to his heart and lungs, and did a chest x-ray.

The vet said he heard no heart murmur, and no irregular beat. He said that his lungs sounded alright.

He then did an x-ray, and from what little time he had (he was rushed - had another patient waiting) he said that his heart might look slightly large, but he couldn't tell without doing further testing. With that said, he also said he thought he saw some pockets in his lungs that may be indicative of early stages of asthma. He's going to send the x-ray to a respiratory specialist and get her opinion. At this point, we have 3 possibilities - asthma, heartworms, heart disease. While he wouldn't rule out heart disease, he did say that it's incredibly rare to have heart disease with no murmur and no irregular beat, so he put that at the bottom of his list. He said that heartworms is a possibility, and that he'll run blood tests for that, but that he isn't sure he has that either, and if he did, that it'd play itself out (in all likelihood). He did say that asthma was a good possibility, especially given that it's the allergy season, and that he had terrible respiratory problems as a kitten (very sick with respiratory issues at the SPCA).

We're waiting a few days for blood work results, and waiting for the other vets opinion, but he said that he isn't terribly concerned right now, and that his best bet is that he has asthma.

I'll keep you guys updated.
 

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I also have a similar problem with my girlfriend's cat. He wants to play ALL THE TIME, but he starts panting within 5 minutes. It gets bad enough where he has to lay down for a minute or so, but then he is back up and running toward Da Bird. I could probably play with him for 10 hours without him losing interest (record is 1.5 hours of hardcore Da Bird chasing), but I'm worried about how ridiculously out of shape he sounds. He's still 1.5 years old, so I know the energy is left over from being a kitten, but the panting is still worrisome, since he's kind of retarded and has no self control. He runs up and down our long hallway at night and I can hear him panting from inside my bedroom.
 

mews2much

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I am sorry that is not true many cats have HCM with no sign of it and the cats drop dead.
Believe me I know many people it happened to.
BTW my Coco had severe asthma and then had a heart mumur in July and I lost her last month when she threw a clot.
My Coco did well with asthma meds when her atshma acted up.
She had it for 18 years.
Did the vet hear wheezing at all?
Was the xray a echo?

 
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vertigho

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Originally Posted by rad65

I also have a similar problem with my girlfriend's cat. He wants to play ALL THE TIME, but he starts panting within 5 minutes. It gets bad enough where he has to lay down for a minute or so, but then he is back up and running toward Da Bird. I could probably play with him for 10 hours without him losing interest (record is 1.5 hours of hardcore Da Bird chasing), but I'm worried about how ridiculously out of shape he sounds. He's still 1.5 years old, so I know the energy is left over from being a kitten, but the panting is still worrisome, since he's kind of retarded and has no self control. He runs up and down our long hallway at night and I can hear him panting from inside my bedroom.
I'd get him checked out at the vet.

I assume that your vet will do a physical examination, including listening to the heart. They'll also probably do a chest x-ray, and they may also do a blood test for heatworms.

At that point, the vet will gather info and go from there. Assuming that he/she hears no heart murmur or irregular beat, and assuming that the heart looks relatively normal on the x-ray, they'll probably rule of heart issues for the time being. If the lungs look suspicious, they may or may not start your cat on prednisone to help control possible asthma. Obviously the heartworms test will reveal whether or not he has heartworms, which is a generally a simple disease, assuming that the parasite doesn't enter the heart.

If he's acting fine, it's probably not an emergency - but if he appears to be in distress, or if he isn't getting his breathing back to a normal rate, then you should have him seen immediately. Regardless, you should have him seen at some point.
 
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vertigho

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Originally Posted by mews2much

I am sorry that is not true many cats have HCM with no sign of it and the cats drop dead.
Believe me I know many people it happened to.
BTW my Coco had severe asthma and then had a heart mumur in July and I lost her last month when she threw a clot.
My Coco did well with asthma meds when her atshma acted up.
She had it for 18 years.
Did the vet hear wheezing at all?
Was the xray a echo?

I'm not saying that it's not possible to have HCM without having a murmur or irregular beat, but I am saying that from what I've heard, most cases of heart disease in cats is accompanied by a murmur or irregular beat, or both. I've talked to multiple vets who have all stated this - they also said that it's even more unlikely because his breathing rate at rest is fine, and that he's young, and he doesn't have any other symptoms.

Again, I'm not saying that it's impossible, but I'm saying that it's incredibly unlikely, and that we have a plausible reason for the panting (possible asthma.)
 
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