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Old 02-27-2010, 08:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Weird purring sound w/ labored breathing

Hi all

Wondering if anyone has a gone through similar circumstances with their cat. I have a male cat (duffy) that's about 15 years old or so. He's been very healthy. About 2 months ago he started developing this noisy, raspy purr. He would sound like a sick pigeon when he purred. It didn't seem to bother him. Lately it's been getting worse and it sounds much louder and much raspier. It's really a disturbing sound when he purrs. And now, he's getting out of breath when he purrs. You can really see his breathing is labored while he's purring. So much so that he will just sit and really struggle to breathe. When he's not purring - he's fine. Eating normally and behaving fine. The only other symptom that I can see is he's drinking more water than normal. Other than that - he's seems totally normal. I took him to our vet who took blood for heart worm tests and did xrays and both were totally normal. His temp was normal and his check up showed no signs of abnormalities. He put him on bronchodilators (pills) and they did nothing. I took him again a week later (yesterday) and he ran a full body total blood work check up (for $150.00) and again everything was totally normal. No issues at all based on the blood work. The vet put him on a course of antibiotics and I'm going to give him those to see if they do anything.

Has anyone heard of such a strange abnormality?? The vet said he's basically stumped and wants to do an ultrasound of his throat but that's a few hundred dollars and I'm really not sure I want to go through with that.

Thanks for any help!!
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Weird purring sound w/ labored breathing

Welcome to CatForum, and Duffy's case does sound puzzling. I suppose it is possible he may have a growth that affects his breathing while purring ... but at his age, I would be hesitant to spend any large amounts of money on a kitty unless I was assured of a definite diagnosis AND a high percentage of full recovery.
Best wishes for whatever you decide,
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Weird purring sound w/ labored breathing

Hi
My cat is doing exactly the same thing. He has been on the bronchial dialators and they did no good, so they tried him on anti-biotics. They also didn't help. They now think he has feline asthma and want to try him on steroids. Personally i think it is a complication following surgery he had last year to remove his thyroid gland, maybe scars from the surgery irritating his throat, but the vets want to try steroids before exploring his throat more. He is 12 years old. He had the surgery in Oct last year and his purring has got louder and more raspy since.
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Old 02-28-2010, 09:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi wooz, and welcome. We have a friend, actually my husband's boss, anyhow, they run/operate a Power Plant and they always say, when a problem crops up: "Investigate and look through your records to what the last was that was done, before the problem developed." I gotta say, they're usually right with that approach: weld a water inlet pipe and begin to have trouble with the water inlet guage ... check the weld, first. If that's the issue, you've caught it. If not, then you begin back-tracking and trouble-shooting.
Best of luck w/ both kitties.
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Old 03-01-2010, 08:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Weird purring sound w/ labored breathing

If it was asthma, wouldn't the bronchial dialators have helped? Our vet thought it was astham so that's why he gave us the bronchial dialators - but they didn't do anything. Our cat didn't have anything like surgery before this started. It just cropped up little by little and has progressively gotten worse.
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Old 03-06-2010, 03:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Weird purring sound w/ labored breathing

The poor thing is now on steroids, to see if that helps the asthma - of course it has made no difference yet, as i am certain it is not asthma. The purring might not be linked to his surgery, thats just when we started noticeing, and it has got progressively worse over the last few months. Will let you know what they decide to try next!!!!
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Old 03-10-2010, 02:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Weird purring sound w/ labored breathing

well the vets have confirmed that he doesnt have asthma and the steroids are not working. I had 4 vets examine him yesterday and they are stumped!! they said it could be a nerve that is in his throat, that runs down by the vocal chords, that could be tightening. Or it could be a condition more common in dogs, when the voice box gets tighter, paralysis,so they treat this with surgery, but it is very very rare in cats! They decided that if it isnt bothering him, an he is able to breathe okay, they are reluctant to do any more investigation!
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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So there's really nothing else to do right? Does it look like his breathing is labored when he has this issue? Our cat is slowly getting worse and taking longer to recover from the bouts of horrible sounding purring and labored breathing. We hardly see him any more because every time he starts to purr he gets up and leaves because it is so uncomfortable. He mostly keeps to himself now which is just the opposite of the way he used to be.

Sad...
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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By the way, antibiotics did nothing.
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Weird purring sound w/ labored breathing

dshribs, if you've exhausted all other methods you need to get your cat an ultrasound. I know it seems expensive, but it could be a tumour in his throat that is pushing against his windpipe.

Imagine how awful it would feel for you not to be able to breathe properly, or being in pain every time you tried to express contentment. A couple hundred dollars is not a lot if it helps to determine what is wrong with your cat.

If money is a big issue, ask the vet if they would consider splitting it up over 2 months or something and give them your credit card number for an automatic payment.

I hate to sound preachy here, but $300 is not a lot of money for vet care. The average complete blood test is at least $100, and most diagnostic tests are over $50 otherwise. After this episode, I really really hope that you start saving a little money each month so that you don't have to choose between groceries and your cat's life... No one should be forced to sacrifice their companion's welfare because of lack of foresight.
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