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My boy is coughing. Again.

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by kirathecat, Aug 5, 2016.

  1. kirathecat

    kirathecat Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Jun 1, 2016
    Maryland
    I'm going to a vet next week, but would like some input on my situation.

    Background:

    Brought 1.5 year old male cat home from a local shelter in April. He was neutered 1-2 months before adoption. Received rabies and panleukopenia  vaccines. Some eye discharge. Stinky breath and stool. Different grain free wet food, only liked Canidae.

    Examined by a vet within 10 days from adoption (temp, listen to heart & lungs)  - normal

    Few days later - diarrhea. Normal appetite and very active and playful.

    Food - Fancy Feast Classic, non fish - stool normal

    June -  dry cough 1-2 a day for 1-5 minutes episodes, mild lethargy, normal appetite.

    Different Vet: Tonsils are swollen as well as lymph nodes. Trachea is very sensitive and raspy, but lungs are clear. Diagnosis: upper respiratory infection.

    Treatment: Convenia injection, depo-medrol injection, pyrantel.

    Was told to contact the hospital if no improvement.

    Within 5 days cough was gone as well as bad breath and occasional diarrhea.

    After a week without cough I started feeding him raw and a little canned. 

    He went from pooping 3/day to 1/day. Peeing from 5/day to 2-3/day. Became very active and playful. Good appetite.

    In July, roughly a month after vet visit, bad breath and smelly poop returned. Parasites? No behavioral changes.

    Last week cough returned. Started dry, turned to wet. 3-5 times a day. After deep sleep, after active play, and just for no reason. Drinks lots more water. Good appetite. Think, his breath smelled like ammonia a couple of times but not all the time. He really wants to play, but can't because of the cough. Picking him up can cause an episode. During a coughing fit can be distracted by C.E.T. toothpaste and stop coughing or by brushing, which he loves and purrs like crazy - also stops coughing.

    I don't have any experience with vets & sick cats and reading about all the possibilities and side effects of vaccines and treatments, I'm just terrified. 

    I just keep thinking that it is something we did or do that is making out kitty sick.

    Raw food? Chicken allergy? Clay litter? A bath? Something in the apartment? Pigeons' nest outside the window? Dust mites? Carpets? Pieces of sisal rope that he keeps biting on? to many treats?

    Secondary upper respiratory infection? Asthma? Heart Condition? Lung worms? Bronchitis? something else?... 

    I understand that i won't know anything until i get him to vet and do some tests.

    What should i expect or ask for? X-ray, CBC, blood chemistry, stool and urine test. Anything else? Should I go to the same vet, or try to get him to feline only practice that is way out of town? Should i tell the vet that i've been feeding him raw (and possibly get yelled at)?

    Should i avoid antibiotics until we get test results back? I read about Convenia and this vet didn't even consult me, before giving kitty the shot. And when i asked for side effects all the assistant told me was possible increase in appetite... I'm not sure if i trust them to do the best by my cat.

    Sorry for a long post and some rambling. I worried and scared and don't really know where to turn to...
     

  2. mrsgreenjeens

    mrsgreenjeens Every Life Should Have Nine Cats Staff Member Advisor

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    Aug 13, 2009
    Arizona
    All that coughing can definitely mean asthma, OR could be indicative of heart issues, or could be allergies to something in house.  Any of the things you mention could be the culpril, although I would think feeding him a raw diet would be the least of his problems,unless perhaps you were making it yourself and perhaps it wasn't balanced.   It's just odd that you can distract him from doing it [​IMG]  

    It's perfectly normal when you switch from dry to canned or raw for the pees and poops to change (drastically), and drinking habits to change also.  Dry food makes them drink a lot more, and usually produce more poops (bigger).  

    If you are concerned about heart problems, there is now a blood test they can to do a quick check on that before he would need to see a cardiologist.  Depending on the results of that blood test, you might be able to save a lot of money. 

    Since you said his breath sometimes smells like ammonia, I would definitely mention that to your Vet, whichever one you see.  If you are not comfortable with the current one, then ask around to see if anyone can recommend someone.  A feline only would be nice, but if you have to drive forever, that's not optimal. 

    Let us know what you find out. 
     

  3. kirathecat

    kirathecat Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Jun 1, 2016
    Maryland
    @mrsgreenjeens   Thank you for replying, it just made me feel a little better [​IMG]  

    What is a name of the heart test, if it has any?

    Will talk to my husband if he will be willing to drive us to a feline vet. That would be my first choice.

    I feed partial home made raw (chicken+liver+alnutrin with eggshell calcium, and turkey+the same. I buy only poultry that doesn't have anything added and the lowest sodium i can find). partial freeze dried raw (Stella and Chewy Duck, Duck, Goose) and a few cans now and then like venison or lamb. 

    I understand perfectly about poop thing, but pee thing kinda leaves me puzzled. He goes, but less frequent than when he was on canned only. Maybe eating less amount of food now is the reason? And drinking more water could be due to buying a fish bowl and not feeding him near his drinking bowl anymore? I just really don't want him to have kidney problems on top of that cough... my poor poor kitty. I never fed him dry food, so have no idea, how he would've been on it. Really hope, i'm feeding him good diet. Thought about going back to cans, but he doesn't like any...

    Also orderd krill oil (since it is known to help reduce inflammation) and am going to trying dr elseys respiratory relief litter, maybe it will ease his coughing a little, while i'm waiting for the paycheck to take him to a vet.

    I really did not expect to have so many health problems with a kitty so young... I mean, besides the cough, smelly breath and sometimes soft-ish poop, he looks great, he hasn't lost any weight, his fur is unbelievably soft and shiny, he wants to play, and if not for the cough he would play for hours. So i'm hoping for something if not curable than at least manageable...

    Thanks again for support)
     

  4. mrsgreenjeens

    mrsgreenjeens Every Life Should Have Nine Cats Staff Member Advisor

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    Arizona
    The blood test to check for heart disease is called ProBNP.

    I've had 3 kidney cats, and they tend to drink tons of water, and PEE tons.  When our last kidney cat died in February, my husband commented on the fact that when he cleans the litter boxes now, there is so much less pee in them it's unbelievable.  We just never actually realized how much was being generated because we had one kidney cat after another so thought it was pretty much normal. 

    When I was feeding raw my cats only peed about once per day, which kind of freaked me out.  I even started up a thread about it, and no one else had that issue.  I guess every cat is different.  I still have 2 of the 3 cats that I was feeding raw, and those 2 are just fine.  (the 3rd was the kidney cat I lost earlier this year...she was 16 and had been fed kibble the first 13 years of her life [​IMG] )  Are you rehydrating the Stella and Chewy's?  If not, that could be a reason for him to be drinking more...or if you're not rehydrating it enough.  I feed that to my guys as treats - dry, but follow it up with their meal to which I add lots of extra filtered water to make sure they stay really hydrated.  I very seldom see them at the water dish.  Cats fed raw really do rarely drink because they get so much fluid from their food. 

    You know, is it possible he's got a hairball that he can't get out?  I give my guys egg yolk lecithin to keep the  hairballs going out the right end.  Works like a charm.  I split one capsule between the two of them, but at times have given them as much as 1 1/2 capsule each when shedding is really bad. 

    Good luck with the Krill Oil.  One of mine likes it, the other HATES it [​IMG].  I know one member here actually gives it as a pill to her asthmatic cat because she can't get her to eat food with it on there. 
     

  5. foxxycat

    foxxycat TCS Member Top Cat

    Sorry to hear your baby is ill.

    check out the site www.fritzthebrave.com its about feline asthma.

    they have some videos of asthma attacks=I would check it out and does your cat do similar type coughing?

    What time during the day is the coughing?

    Sometimes they can get asthma-from a prior smokers house or someone who uses perfume and lots of smelly stuff. in my house we don't allow perfumes or air freshners. other times there is no rhyme or reason to what is going on.

    I have an asthma kitty who had a few weird symptoms before we started her on inhaled steroids.

    Asthma is determined by xrays. usually chest xrays show donuts or tram lines which is inflammation. the blood work may show elevated eosinophiles-which are white blood cells-usually these cells go up when there is inflammation. There isn't a standard blood test or anything-its usually by the xray and how the symptoms appear.

    Asthma looks like they are sticking their neck out and trying to cough something up.

    often asthma attacks take place in the middle of the night because they have been laying in one position and trying to cough out the air that's trapped in the lungs.

    The pred will help if its asthma.

    ask your vet about this. there is a rescue inhaler to be given whenever a coughing spell-albuterol. they can write a script and you pick it up at pharmacy. you can get the device to give it on amazon.com called an aerokat. the website earlier fritzthebrave should have more info about this.
     

  6. kirathecat

    kirathecat Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Jun 1, 2016
    Maryland
    Thanks, i will definitely ask about that test.

    Now that i think about it, other cat that lives with my parents never peed 4-5 times a day, maybe 2-3 times and she is on wet food.

    I only feed S&C about once a day or once in 2 days, just to add a little variety and i always hydrate it to the consistency of pretty mushy pate.

    I believe, he only started drinking a lot since the cough returned. I guess, the coughing dries his mouth out or just scratchy irritated feeling that he is trying to fix with water.

    When i make my own cat food i chop it into bite size pieces (so it's not a grind) and add about half of water required by Alnutrin recipe, otherwise supplements won't mix very well with meat.

    I don't think it's a hairball, cause he had one after about a month with us and it was HUGE, i've never seen a hairball 4-5 inches long [​IMG]  And he coughed it up in a day, started dry heaving one night and produced a hairball the next afternoon. When he first started coughing, i thought exactly that - a hairball. I tried to give him hairball remedy and egg yolk, but he just kept coughing with no results. That's when i went to the vet the first time. And steroid shot + antibiotic + dewormer worked for about 1.5 months. Than cough returned. He is not shedding right now at all, plus i brush him everyday. I WISH it was a hairball :) 

    Another thing, could he be irritating his throat by biting and probably eating pieces of sisal rope? I think, he's got a little pica going on...  He bites and eats pieces of sisal rope from scratcher and cat tree, i stopped him numerous times from eating threads, plastic thingies and biting on a power cords...

    I don't think i'l have a problem with krill oil, he will eat ANYTHING from my hand. I even experimented once by offering him a RASPBERRY [​IMG]  He ate it! crazy kitty [​IMG]  
     

  7. kirathecat

    kirathecat Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Jun 1, 2016
    Maryland
    Thanks, foxxycat 

    I did read a lot on asthma, including the site you linked, mainly because that what it looks like to me based on the videos i saw online. Another reason for thinking it's asthma is that depo-medrol worked and than cough returned in 1.5 months, that's what would happen with asthma, right?

    He often coughs 1) after sleep 2) when he runs around like crazy 3) when he jumps a lot during play 4) after biting on sisal rope little threads on a scratching post.  Yesterday, for instance, he was able to play and run around for a good 2 hours without coughing episodes, but that was unusual.  

    I don't know, if a smoker lived here, anything is possible. It's my understanding, that once a house has been smoked in, than it's everywhere and almost impossible to get rid off. We are renting but, hopefully, will be moving to a different state in a few months.

    I stopped using any aggressive cleaners and switched to vinegar, baking soda and such since we adopted him. My husband uses deodorant and air freshener in his bathroom, and cat doesn't go in there. I will have hard time convincing him not to use it... [​IMG]  He already threatened to get rid of the kitty if it turns out to be too expensive to diagnose and treat him [​IMG]  , i pray, he didn't really mean it (he was the one who brought kitty home, after all). Will spraying mixture of water with a little vinegar as an air freshener be harmful or acceptable for asthmatic cat?

    Yeah, i saw aerokat. But i thought it was used with Flovent (which costs an arm and a leg) long term to control asthma. And on this forum i read that some people order it from Canadian pharmacy, which is waaaay cheaper. Have you had any experience with it?

    I'm gonna try to upload a video of my kitty coughing. 
     

  8. kirathecat

    kirathecat Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Jun 1, 2016
    Maryland
    1.5 months ago



    Now

     

  9. mrsgreenjeens

    mrsgreenjeens Every Life Should Have Nine Cats Staff Member Advisor

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    Arizona
    Great videos of these coughing episodes.  Gosh, I've never had an asthmatic cat, but in looking at videos of them, and comparing them to yours, they look awfully similar, right down to the swallowing after coughing, which I heard was a sign of them swallowing the mucous that accumulates. 

    Does it always happen in that room with the carpet?  Just noticed that both times he was on that carpet?  Is your entire house carpeted?  Sometimes there are chemicals in carpets that can cause irritation, so maybe after you move things will get better...you just never know. 

    When is your Vet appointment...this coming week, right?  I'm anxious to hear the news.  Be sure and take along those videos, will you?  They should be very helpful.
     

  10. kirathecat

    kirathecat Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Jun 1, 2016
    Maryland
    Yeah, it sounds terrible, doesn't it? I almost feel like crying when i see him struggle with cough, i wish there was a cough syrup or cough drops for cats like there are for humans...  

    Unfortunately, whole apartment is carpeted, except for the kitchen and 2 bathrooms :( First video was shot in the bedroom, second one - in the living room. When i think about how many things in the environment could be causing it, i feel like building a sterile room and barricading there with my kitty, i bet we both would feel great [​IMG]   And in the future i'm gonna do my best to find an apartment/house without any carpeting. 

    I did bring a video to the vet last time, he watched it and then he found a spot on kittie's throat/trachea, i guess, on which he pressed and it caused my cat to have a cough right at the vets office. Now the same thing happens sometimes when i pick him up and press somewhere and it would cause him to start coughing. 

    It is so unbelievably sad and frustrating that i can't make it stop and now i even avoid picking him up so not to set off a cough. But i want to comfort him and he wants to be comforted...

    Yes, we are going to the vet upcoming week. If nothing else, i'm sure the vet will give him a shot of steroids which temporarily helped last time so at least he want be struggling so much. Can't wait to get it done!
     

  11. catpack

    catpack TCS Veteran Kitten

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    One of my cats has asthma (diagnosed via x-ray) and she coughs in a very similar manner. Her coughing is very sporadic, though.

    Depending on where you live, it might also be worth testing him for heartworms.

    The ProBNP test @mrsgreenjeens mentioned can be done to include a full CBC/Chem, SDMA (kidney function test), and Heartworm antigen test for literally $1 more in cost. So, really no reason to NOT include the full blood panel as well. (This SDMA test detects loss of kidney function at 30%. All other tests detect when there is 60% loss of function.)
     
    mrsgreenjeens purraised this.

  12. catpack

    catpack TCS Veteran Kitten

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    I've opted to do the ProBNP with full Chem on all my cats once they reach 5 years of age. Sooner if needed. But, it gives a good baseline to compare to as they get older.

    Haven't decided if I will do this yearly or every two years after 5.
     

  13. kirathecat

    kirathecat Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Jun 1, 2016
    Maryland
    Thank you, @CatPack  I will definitely do all that blood work you suggested and an x-ray. Should i get stool and urine tests as well? Are they helpful in assessment of what could be wrong with a cat? 

    And i got questions about dewormers (never had to deal with it before...) One dose is not enough to clear infestation if it exists and it has to be repeated, right? But How many times and how often? Vet gave him pyrantel via syringe and his poop became normal within 2 days: solid and not particularly smelly, after 1 -1.5 months it is smelly again and sometimes soft-ish, it would suggest worms, wouldn't it? Will i have to bring the cat to the vet every month or so for several months in a row to get him completely dewormed? What is a 'protocol' for that? Can i get that medicine in a syringe to take home and give it to my cat myself? [​IMG]  
     

  14. catpack

    catpack TCS Veteran Kitten

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    You typically repeat at least once 3 weeks after initial dose. Giving 3 doses in total not not a bad idea...that would be 3 doses each given 3 weeks apart. Dewormers primarily work on the adult/mature stage of the worm, so repeated doses get the ones that were initially in the egg/larvae stage.
     

  15. catpack

    catpack TCS Veteran Kitten

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    Sure, if you want to be very thorough, a fecal and urine sample can be tested as well. But, not sure these would be diagnostic for the cough.

    If you want to do a complete workup, do a urinalysis with urine specific gravity and possibly a urine culture (though this is typically saved for suspected UTIs.)

    As for a fecal...if you want to be thorough, have the vet send out the sample for testing and include a test for Giardia/Coccidia. I don't think you need a full PCR panel. (We often recommend a full PCR for cats/kittens with undiagnosed chronic or severe diarrhea.)
     

  16. kirathecat

    kirathecat Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Jun 1, 2016
    Maryland
    My kitty boy has been going nuts for at least an hour now... and doesn't seem to slow down  [​IMG]  [​IMG]

    And he hasn't coughed at all during these kitty crazies and has been coughing less today in general [​IMG]

    Anyway, he usually doesn't go that crazy for that long but I'm glad he's feeling up to exercise even if he destroys our home in the process :)
     

  17. kirathecat

    kirathecat Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Jun 1, 2016
    Maryland
    Well, I don't know what to think, but Whiskey simply stopped coughing...

    Two things have changed:

    1) temperature outside went down a bit and i started to open the windows for several hours a day

    2) we finally ran out of Temptation treats my husband kept giving to Whiskey (I argued with him about those stupid treats every day and even bought whole life treats and pure bites, but since temptations are so addictive the kitty wanted them more compared to freeze dried ones...)

    Any ideas, guys?
     

  18. mrsgreenjeens

    mrsgreenjeens Every Life Should Have Nine Cats Staff Member Advisor

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    Just be thankful [​IMG].  Don't know what it might have been.  I'm guessing maybe the Temptations, although I don't know how or why [​IMG] Digestive issues. yes, but coughing [​IMG]

    I'm glad he's better, whatever it was.
     

  19. kirathecat

    kirathecat Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Jun 1, 2016
    Maryland
    Oh, believe me, I'm beyond ecstatic that cough just went away. Just really puzzled.

    Thanks, me too.
     

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