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Old 02-20-2010, 12:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Odd Cat snorting

I guess I should start from the beginning. Back in March of 09 I adopted a kitty from a rescue shelter and he was really sick. Sneezing, crusty eyes, really in bad shape. A doctor visit, some meds, and 200 bucks later he fully recovers.

Starting last summer, he would do this snorting thing. Almost as if he's clearing flim from his throat. Sometime his breathing was even audible when he was sleepy or laying on his back. This has continued until this day, coming and going. Sometimes he snorts a lot, sometimes he doesn't that much but it never fully goes away. It can be loud too, enough for me to get up and see how he's doing. It's usually just one loud snort and that's it. Done. So about 3 months ago I brought him to the vet, they checked him out, listened to his little body, all that and couldn't find anything. They said he appears to be healthy. I could have got an x-ray but it was awfully expensive and doc said it probably wasn't needed.

He's always been a very active cat, getting into everything, very playful, eats all the time, loves water, jumps in the shower with me, just a crazy cat. Full of energy.

The final straw though was tonight. Something really odd happened. I was playing hide-and-go-seek with my nieces and nephews and it was dark. I knelt down to look under a table and accidently put my weight down from my knee onto Kramer (he just happened to be laying there, of course!!!). He let out 6-7 really loud snorts as he scurried away. It didn't sound good at all.

What could this be? Should I go get an x-ray?

The only thing I can think of is perhaps it's linger effects from his original illness he had as a kitten. The docs said that he would always have some issues as it relates to sneezing and stuff. But nothing about snorting. Is this a sign of something more serious like enlarged heart or cancer? I hope not - I absolutely love this little guy.
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Old 02-20-2010, 01:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Odd Cat snorting

I really don't have any experience with the things you mentioned, but I wanted to reply. I think this sounds like some sort of breathing issue. It almost seems like something is in, or partially blocking, his airway. If you bring him to the vet I think I'd ask about sedation and a scope to see how things look inside. Not to frighten you, but a growth of some kind could be causing this odd breathing issue of his. On the plus side, it doesn't seem to be increasing rapidly at all.


When Squirrely-Jo was a young cat she ate my Betta fish. The fish was too large and she was just a little too small to swallow him and she vomited him up, but (IMO) a part of my fish became lodged in her sinus area and was affecting her breathing. At first she was frothing and bubbling at the mouth and panicking, which caused ME to panic, too. Eventually, while I had the E-vet on the phone, she calmed down and they just advised me to watch her.
At that time, her breathing was slightly distressed and sounded sort of like a slight rattle. She was also behaving sort of 'subdued' and not active at all. I think she felt a little miserable because she couldn't breathe comfortably. When it didn't get better I took her in to the E-vet who sedated and scoped her throat. They didn't find anything as the cause for her breathing 'thing'. Obviously *something* was going on, but what they had done just wasn't all that helpful, I guess.
Anyhow, her breathing thing remained overnight and the next day when I came home on my lunch hour to check on her, she was just fine.
What I think happened was she vomitted up a partial portion of my fish and it lodged in her sinus area, where the scope couldn't go to show the vet anything, and at some point during the day she must have shaken her head or done something that caused that piece to dislodge and clear her airways.
So...yeah, I think if *something* is causing breathing noises, it needs to be checked out so you know if it is something to worry over or not.
Best of luck,
heidi =^..^=
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Old 02-21-2010, 06:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Odd Cat snorting

I agree that it sounds airway related. Beyond that I cannot think of anything more specific. It would be unusual for heart disease to manifest breathing sounds. Unless at least I know in people who have heart failure, you can get fluid build up in your lungs causing shortness of breath and a wet cough. Cancer if in the right spot can certainly cause funky airway symptoms. In people that can be a hoarse voice, persistent cough, pain, evident mass on palpation, shortness of breath, etc.

I would trust what the vet says. S/he doesn't seem to think the airway or lung parenchyma sounds concerning enough to need an x ray. The heart likely sounded fine to her on exam. Could there be something seriously wrong? The possibility is always there. With regards to heart disease or cancer, if he is otherwise a younger cat with no other medical problems and no alarming symptoms (lethargy, weight loss, consistent respiratory distress, etc.) it sounds less likely. His history of having an infection after being at the shelter is more consistent with residual damage. Snowy is from the shelter and he had feline herpes virus with similar findings when we first got him. He was also a noisy breather but also had thick green boogers and lots of it! Our vet gave him one more round of antibiotics and put him on lysine. He has been great ever since. He recovered much better than she thought he would as she said the herpes virus can make him a noisy breather with a runny nose for life.

If you are still concerned and you have completely legitimate reasons to be, you can contact the vet again or see another vet for a 2nd opinion. I know in human medicine, this is our line of thought when thinking of possible problems/diseases:

---Past medical history-what has the patient been diagnosed with before, previous procedures?

---Chief complaint-what is the main thing that got you to consult the doctor?

---History of present illness-onset, context of onset (e.g. physical activity, new home, etc.), sudden or more gradual onset, describe the quality (in your case, volume, sound, etc.), length of episode, frequency of episodes, does anything seem to precipitate or worsen the episode, does anything seem to make it better, how have the symptoms been progressing, what have you tried so far and has there been any relief, any timings associated with the episodes, has kitty ever had this before, other findings that seem related or just unusual, what are you concerned this could be

---Review of systems-neurologic (loss of consciousness, weakness, unusual behavior, etc.), head ears eyes nose and throat (unusual discharge from any orifice, vision changes, hearing changes, cough, drooling, etc.), gastrointestinal (appetite, vomit, weight loss, diarrhea, constipation, diet, etc.), respiratory (respiratory distress, wheezing, rapid breathing, etc.), cardiovascular (lethargic, etc.), genitourinary (urinating too little or too much, amt of urine, color, texture, urinary straining, obvious signs of infection, etc.), musculoskeletal (weakness, loss of muscle mass, etc.), hematologic (easy bleeding, etc.), endocrinologic (signs of diabetes, thyroid disease, etc.).

---Social history-is kitty exposed to environmental hazards, where does he live, who does he live with, what is the diet like, etc.

If the above thought process triggered any more findings you want to bring to the doctor, feel free to tell them, this can also be helpful in writing out an organized story that can be a bit more inclusive of pertinent findings.

Keep us updated!

P.S. other things I learned to do in prep for doctor visits (as I practice in a clinic myself) is these:
- scheduling the appointment as the first patient of the day results in minimal if any waiting, the doc is most fresh and will be less likely in a hurry
- it helps to see the same doc with subsequent visits, that doc will get a very thorough knowledge of the patient and more apt to pick up subtle things
- if you want, provide a concise (~5 words max) description of why you are seeing the doc that the secretary can enter into the schedule (we read the schedule and brainstorm possible diseases, work-up, and treatments briefly before seeing the patient, this is usually more helpful than coming in blind)
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Old 02-21-2010, 06:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Odd Cat snorting

Could it be scar tissue? A while back I got a very young kitten that had a terrible respiratory infection. Its 4 years later and he still makes noises like you describe. He communicates by snorts and grunts, hes unable to even make a meow sound. I've assumed all this time it was just scar tissue because hes otherwise as healthy as he can be. Just a thought.
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Odd Cat snorting

Thank you all so much for your feeback. It was very helpful to read through the information you provided. If you ever wonder if you've helped a person or made someone breathe a little easier, remember this post. Thank you all so much.

Seeing the vet is definitely something I'm going to do. Unfortunately I'm right in the middle of a move and paying rent on two places. Once that's over with, Kitty is going in for an appointment ASAP. I will see about doing an x-ray and a sedation/inspection.

When we first got him he had a terrible case of herpes. I honestly thought he was going to die. The nature of this 'snorting' or 'audible breathing' issue comes and goes at different levels of prevalence ever since he recovered. I think there is indeed a good chance that these are symptoms of lasting injury or effects of the herpes virus.

The reason why i think that is because by all indicators (snorting aside) he's a totally normal cat. Super playful, always hungry, goes to the bathroom fine, talks and chirps all day long at me - all that.

It's just really odd because sometimes the "snorting" and "audible breathing" is very prevalent, and other times it's barely there. I think I'm leaning more towards scar tissue or herpes side effects rather than material or objects being lodged in his kitty nose/throat. But who knows?! We'll find out.

And loopsycats, Im sorry to hear about your kitty. Im glad he is OK now but I certainly understand how difficult it is to care of a sick young kitty. Nearly brought this macho 26 year old male to tears.

Thanks and take care,

A
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Odd Cat snorting

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtAm
...nearly brought this macho 26 year old male to tears.
...sucessfully brings the women of the forum to a collective: "Awwwe!" with their heads tilted to the side...
Unfortunately, we understand that kind of panic/worry all to well, ourselves. Please keep us posted when you get him to the vet and especially if the vet finds something as the cause!
h =^..^=
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