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Cat breathing problems & coughing up nothing?
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Cat breathing problems & coughing up nothing?

My cat seems to have trouble breathing and then coughs up something, but nothing comes out. He breathes heavily, breathes, then wheezes until he finally coughs something out of his throat, then smacks and licks his lips.

Sometimes he just coughs once or twice. Today, he has been coughing all day and now he is breathing heavily and has twitches in what looks like his lung area/sides while breathing. Listening in on his lungs sounds like a tornado or what a human's noisy upset stomach sounds like. However, I might be listening to his stomach, I'm not sure how big a cat's organs are.

We took him to a vet which diagnosed him with Feline Leukemia and said he has either an infection or asthma. My wife uses A LOT of smelly candles, but we stopped it for a week, on a week, off a week, on a week, and it doesn't seem to matter. He gave us asthma medicine and antibiotic medicine. The day we took him to the vet he looked and acted like he was going to die. By the time we were leaving, he was 100% better, stopped coughing, and the medicine (both he gave him right away) immediately fixed him up from dying to healthy.

A week past and it went away mostly but he'd cough every now and then. We ran out of the antibiotics and continued with the asthma medicine but it seemed to come back. We went back to the vet to get more antibiotics and are giving him that, but it isn't helping and it seems to be getting worse.

At first he took his antibiotics instantly but refused to swallow the asthma medicine. Now that we're on our second attempt at antibiotics, he refuses to accept any pill, even if we put it in food. Today he wouldn't even lick gravy which he always wants. Today he had breathing problems all day, even when I let him outside which usually seems to help him. I guess not, we could never tell. However, they eat a lot of dry food, and they might be bored with the wet food which has been the same for weeks, although he always ate the gravy no matter what. It's like he is refusing to eat the medicine.

He lives with another cat who is 100% healthy and did not get his leukemia, and has been vaccinated and is perfectly fine.
The vet took x-rays the first visit, and really I don't understand why he isn't fixed, if we treated him for both asthma AND a breathing infection.

His eyes are almost always fine, or seem so. The healthier one has more snots than him. He has been eating and drinking great except today with the wet food. Not sure about the dry. Earlier today he was running around chasing his brother like a healthy, active cat.

Is it serious? Is it asthma? What should we do?
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Avatar_f_tn
What is serious is feline leukemia.  It causes him to be highly vulnerable to all kinds of infections and other diseases including various forms of cancer.  Unfortunately, it is not curable and the long term prognosis is not good.  You need to keep him indoors to protect both him from infectious agents from other animals and well as protect other animals from exposure to him.  You also need to keep him separated from your other cat for both of their protection.  I would recommend an extended conversation with your vet regarding options.  This is not something that is going to go away or be fixed.  Some cats with FeLv succumb fairly quickly, others may survive several months or even a couple of years with intense management.
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Avatar_m_tn
Our vet said that cats with feline leukemia is NOT a death sentence like you're saying. They can still live up to 8, even 9 or 10 years.

Saying that they succumb fairly quickly means it's a death sentence. That's the opposite of what the Doctor said.
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Avatar_m_tn
Are there any actual Doctors on this forum to help with advise?
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Avatar_f_tn
No, there aren't.  This forum is made up of cat lovers and owners.  Some of us have worked as vet techs or animal shelters.  I did not say it was a death sentence.  I said it is serious because it is an immune disease which makes him highly vulnerable to other illnesses and that the long term prognosis is not good.  With intense management a cat can live up to 8-10 years, but that is not typical.  Some cats with FeLV do succumb quickly, others do not.  Both are the extremes with the majority being somewhere in between with about a 2 to 3 year life expectancy.

If you google feline leukemia you can find quite a bit of information on it.  This article is from the College of Veterinary  Medicine at Cornell University:

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/brochures/felv.html
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Avatar_m_tn
I guess I will have to take extra good care of him then.
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874521_tn?1375890587
you can contact a Vet on the following site, just may have to wait a day or two for her to reply...best of luck with kitty, keep his immune system up and feed a high quality diet will help too...♥

http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Animal-Health---General/show/112?camp=msc
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4607202_tn?1357112742
I have a cat that has the same s/s an i have not taken him to the vet yet .. i thought it would get better an i havent had  the money yet .. however im taking him soon , I am so scared that he has something like that FeLV but im not sure .. he has good days ... these are days where he coughs one or two times an is active an eats well an drinks well then he has his bad day where he sleeps an its hard forhim to breath an he coughs a lot , he tries to play but then he starts coughing really bad but nothing ever comes up ! I feel so so bad for him he is like my son an i dont know what i would do if he was to pass !! He is a inside cat .. but the weird thing about it all was last year when i first found out that i had Lupus the worse kind to have .. Max changed  he seemed to be like taking on this illness too .. like he went from a happy playful cat to a sick sleepy old cat ... he started acting like his joints was hurting an wanted to get under the blankets where it was warm that went on til winter an spring was over then he did that a little this summer but now this cough is killling me an him i know it is ! Is there any home remidies or herbal meds i can try ?
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131114_tn?1380086790
Do you all know about this heart trouble in cats?

My cat had a heart attack we think, so any breathing problems can be suspect.

http://www.petwave.com/Community/Thread.aspx?topicId=29414
FYI
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131114_tn?1380086790
Another thing:ck food allergies!
big time problem...
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4542756_tn?1356193948
Has your kitty had a ultra sound of his heart? It could be enlarged heart. But I would go to a other vet. Is he having bowl movements? is he urinating ok?. What were the lab values? No more candles, they are deadly.What food is your kitty eating? I had a kitty that was mis diagnosed with leukemia.....and it was just a enlarged heart. She also had breathing prob,and it came from fluid around her lungs from Sub Q's, due to the enlarged heart.
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131114_tn?1380086790
what did you learn about enlarged heart? my cat just died suddenly and i am thinking that it was some type of heart issue. also tell us more about candles?

thanks!
Jerialice
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Avatar_m_tn
My cat is currently having the same problems, though i don't think she is having any joint problems and she is only three years old. I just wanted to know what your cat had and how he is doing today. I'm very worried for my cat and we are going to take her to the vet tomorrow. Thanks :)
                        
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1755089_tn?1376057155
I have a 3 years old black cat. She is my best friend. She is coughing one in a while but the worst is her noissy breathing. It sound like her nose is stuffed. I took her to the vet and she said that is was alright! Could it be allergies. She eat well and drink well. I'm worried for her. Sometimes her breathing is so loud it wakes me up in the middle of the night!
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