Videos to help you identify some of the symptoms of disease you may see at home, including:
Sneezing, reverse sneezing, coughing, wheezing, dyspnea, gagging, vomiting and regurgitation
Cat owners sometimes have a hard time describing what symptoms of disease they’re seeing. Hopefully this collection of videos will help you tell us what the your cat is doing at home so we can determine the cause more quickly. Sneezing and reverse sneezing are nature’s way of clearing stuff out of the nose. Gagging is nature’s way of clearing stuff out of the back of the throat. Coughing clears stuff out of the lungs or trachea. Regurgitation empties the esophagus, and vomiting empties the stomach (if there’s anything in it). If in doubt about what you’re seeing at home it can be a huge help to us if you’d video whatever odd thing it is the cat is doing and bring the video along with you to the appointment.
The following videos are meant to be an aid to our diagnostic process, not a substitiute for it.
Sneezing in a cat looks just about like it does in humans, but without the Kleenex. The character of any nasal discharge may be important to take note of: is it clear, cloudy, colored or bloody?
Reverse sneezing is a very loud, almost violent series of rapid forceful inhalations. In this video, the cat sneezes at second 46, and then goes into a chain of reverse sneezes for the next 10 to 15 seconds.
Nasal noises can be anything from dry and wheezey, to wet and gurgley, to a loud honking sound, depending on the cause. Potential causes include nasal polyps, foreign bodies, allergies, tumors, and viral, bacterial and fungal infections.
Snoring does happen in some cats – just a reminder that not all odd breathing noises are bad things. Overweight cats may tend to snore more than lean cats.
Coughing cats usually take the posture of the cat in this video: front paws close together, tucked underneath the chest with the head low and stretched out in front, with the mouth open slightly.
Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling sound usually caused by narrowed airways in the lungs and most often associated with asthma.
Dyspnea – severely labored breathing in cats may indicate that the lungs are compressed due to something in the space between the lungs and the ribcage (the pleural space), such as fluid from congestive heart failure, or thoracic cancer, or infections in the chest or air from a ruptured airway.
Vomiting and regurgitation are well described here without the need for any gross videos.
A note about hairballs – hairballs can cause a cat to cough, gag and vomit, so telling us that an animal looks like she’s “trying to bring up a hairball” is, unfortunately, not really very enlightening. Is the cat coughing or vomiting? Or gagging? We hope seeing these videos will clarify what you’re seeing your cat do at home. Our job will be to diagnose and treat the cause of these symptoms.