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I have a 1.5 year old male cat (Winston) who began coughing a few nights ago with sporadic moments of breathing with his mouth open. He has also vomited (clear) a couple of times. I took him to the vet yesterday and the doc performed blood work and an FeLV and FIV test (both negative), and put him on IV fluids for dehydration. After looking at his blood work, she said she noticed his platelet count was a little low (not terribly) and that she believed he had pancreatitis. She drew the blood for the test and sent it off and told me she'd call today with the results. In the meantime, she sent him home with a special food for cats with pancreatitis.

She did NOT give me any information on pancreatitis, so when I got home I did some research. Turns out vomiting is a rare symptom in cats, and pancreatitis in no way explains the coughing.

At 5 today, I still hadn't received a call about his test results. I called the vet's office and the vet tech told me they should have received the results but in fact had not, and she would call me back when they figured out why they hadn't.

The office is now well past closed and they are closed the next two days for the holiday. Winston has been asleep under the bed all day while making really strong hacking sounds every now and then. His energy level is low, compared to what it usually is. I'm panicking about the fact that my vet's office is closed for two days and I might have to pay another $500 at another office to follow up over the weekend. How worried should I be about him at the moment? Do his symptoms even sound CLOSE to pancreatitis? How long do I let him keep coughing/hacking before I absolutely need to seek out another vet?
 

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I don't know--if it was me I would keep a close eye on him, keep him close to me and monitor overnight to see if the symptoms worsen. Have the symptoms gotten any worse since you noticed them, or are they the same? I would suspect two completely unrelated things but it's really hard to know without that vet info.

Does your vet office have an emergency after hours number? I would pester them at it, honestly, if they do--it might save you a trip in to another veterinarian. Obviously if he gets worse you might have to take him in but in the meantime you can try and keep him calm and close to you and just observe.....that would be my gut reaction with my kitties, too.

In a human I wouldn't think that a problem with your pancreas would cause a problem in your lungs, but lots of things are possible....from what I'm reading the vomiting fits but the hacking doesn't. Do you think he's unlucky enough to have gotten a URI of some sort and pancreatitis at the same time? Or maybe a reaction to dust/allergens of some sort?

Sorry I can't be more help! Hang in there! Do what you think is best for your little furbaby.
 

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My cat Monkeys had Pancreatitis this past Easter. She was vomiting, and wouldn't eat. She basically got lethargic and very cranky. When we took her to the vet, they noticed she was jaundiced, and had hepatic lipidosis from not eating. They did basic blood tests on her, which showed her liver levels were up etc, but the test for pancreatitis took about 7 days to get results back. Same with when we had another test out after her recovery to make sure her pancreatic levels were down in normal range. She never really coughed though, just refused to eat or drink and was generally miserable looking. IF it is pancreatitis, the treatment is inexpensive, which is nice, it's just getting the diagnosis that's the pits.
 

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Did they tell you the results would take that long? My vet told me yesterday it would take about a day, and when I called this afternoon they said it was surprising they didn't have the results yet. Either way, I'm pretty sure that even if he DOES have pancreatitis, there's obviously something more going on than just that. :?
 

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I would assume that the vet listened to your cat's lungs? I was thinking aspiration of some of the vomit. Worst case would be pneumonia.
A cough could also be a variant of asthma.
 

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I just found this little bit of info. It says Dogs more often than cats have respiratory distress and the vomiting. My cat didn't have the respiratory problems, BUT she did vomit a lot. So it could be entirely possible that the wheezing is a symptom.

Clinical Signs

Common clinical signs in dogs with acute pancreatitis include anorexia (91%), vomiting (90%), weakness (79%), and abdominal pain (58%).1,5 Abdominal palpation may reveal a cranial abdominal mass.1,3 A retrospective study of 70 cases of acute canine pancreatitis reported dehydration in 97%, icterus in 26%, fever in 32%, abdominal pain in 58%, and obesity in 43% of dogs at the time of initial examination.5 Other systemic complications can include respiratory distress, bleeding disorders and cardiac arrhythmias.1,3

On the other hand, cats have extremely variable histories and clinical signs. More typical clinical signs include anorexia (97%), lethargy (100%), and dehydration (92%).6 Vomiting and abdominal pain, while common in the dog, are less frequently reported in the cat (35% and 25%, respectively).6 Other clinical signs reported include hypothermia, dyspnea, diarrhea, ataxia, and weight loss.6 Pancreatitis in cats has a tendency to occur with certain other diseases, such as cholangiohepatitis/cholestasis, nephritis, diabetes mellitus, and inflammation or ulceration of the intestines.2,3


They did a CBC (complete blood count) on Monkeys to determine the pancreatitis as well as sent me to a specialist for an ultrasound to make sure there wasn't a gall bladder obstruction before treating her as well.

Here's the link to the site I found that info on.

Diagnosing Pancreatitis in Dogs and Cats by Laboratory Methods
 

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I am so sorry that your kitty is sick.

I had a similar situation with my kitty but she was diagnosed with Laryangitis. I never in my life thought cats could get laryangitis but I guess it is possible.

She had a sudden onset of lethargy with coughing and the breathing with the mouth open. She was also vomiting clear liquid so at first I was afraid she had an obtruction or something. Does your kitty gag when you touch around her throat?

Lila wouldnt eat for a couple days since her throat was so sore but the antibiotics helped clear it right up.
 

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Open-mouth breathing and coughing can also be symptoms of serious cardiac problems, and that's nothing to wait around to diagnose. If my cat exhibited those symptoms, I'd get to the vet pronto. And if a vet tried to tell me it was pancreatitis with no supporting diagnostics, I'd find another vet!

Laurie
 
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