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Panting and shaking cat.

Species: Cat
Breed: Mixed-Female
Age: More than 15 ye
Hi,

My female cat is just over 15 years old.

This morning she woke up running all over the house. While running around she was panting, shaking her head and appeared to open her mouth wide a couple of times. After 10 minutes of doing this she appeared to calm down and started licking her fur and biting at it and twitching.

Currently she is calmly lying on the floor with the occasional tail/ear twitch, but no more panting, open mouth or running around. I checked her tongue color and it is pink. Actually with the exception of the occasional twitch, it is like nothing ever happened. Reading online it appears it could be anything from a flea or as major as heart or respiratory issues. She does not have shallow or labored breathing. We realize she is an older cat, but she has lived her entire life indoors.

Thank you in advance for your help, advice or insight.



Best regards,


Michael Betson


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

This is a tough question to answer! You are right in saying that there are a few things that this could be.

It's possible that Oreo had a mild seizure. Seizures don't always have to have paddling and tremors, but sometimes can just result in "odd" behavior and twitching. Unfortunately if this is a seizure, in an animal of this age, it could be a sign of a tumor in her brain.

It's also possible that this is related to her heart. Sometimes cats can have something similar to a stroke which can cause seizure like symptoms. However, we usually do see some sort of change in breathing such as rapid, shallow or labored breathing.

I have seen cats do similar things when they have fleas. Fleas are often hard to see on cats. You can try looking closely at the skin just above her tail, on her back. If you see any little black flecks, then put them on a white piece of paper, put water on them and see if they smear a rusty color. If there is any rust at all then this is because of fleas.

Because of her age, I would advise that you have your vet take a look at Oreo. I don't think she needs to be rushed in tonight, but sometime in the next few days would be good. I would especially ask your vet to listen to her heart. Usually if there is a heart problem we will hear either a strange rhythm or a murmur.

I wish I could give you a more exact answer, but her symptoms are quite vague!

Let me know if you have more questions.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

First of all thank you for the information. We will look at taking her to a vet shortly. Reading everything you wrote it could be a number of things. This whole incident came and went within an hour. Oreo is acting like nothing every happened. No twitching, nothing. Yes we examined her and found some small fleas. Still plan on going to the vet, but wondering if fleas could account for this odd behavior? Talking to my wife she said that the exact same thing has happened three times in the last seven months.


Michael


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Ah, I'm actually pleased that you found fleas because if this is due to irritation from fleas then this is much better than a seizure or a heart problem.

Yes, I could definitely see that fleas could cause these symptoms. But again, because of her age, it's still a good idea to have your vet examine her.

Regarding the fleas, don't waste your money on over the counter products. The prescription products such as Advantage or Revolution are by far the best. You need to be sure you treat monthly for at least 3 months and you need to make sure that all animals in the house are treated. If you do this, you won't need to be spraying your house with chemicals.

I hope she is ok!



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.