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Sudden death.

Species: Cat
Breed: Domestic Shorthair
Age: 2-5 years
My 3-yr old robust, healthy male house cat suddenly dropped dead in the middle of the night. No symptons of anything wrong, no eating problems, no urinating or defacating problems, no vomiting, coughing or breathing problems. What could it have been? When I found him, he had white, bubbling foam coming out of one nostril and a clear, slimy, foul smelling discharge with a small reddish discharge coming out of the other nostril. His mouth was slightly open and dry. Could this be indicative of a respiratory problem, stroke, blood clot, heart attack or something else? His sudden, inexplicable death is so troublesome to me and causing me difficulty in accepting it. Can you give me any ideas what might have caused it? Thank you.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

The most common reason for an apparently healthy cat to die suddenly is a condition called HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy). This is a condition where the walls of the heart are too thick. Cats can go from totally healthy to suddenly in heart failure and death in minutes.

However, one thing that doesn't fit with HCM is the foul discharge from his nose. This sounds like there could have been something else going on. A few possibilities include electrocution (i.e. from chewing on a wire) or aspirating an object into his lungs.

Ultimately the only way to know would be to have a post mortem exam done.

I'm so sorry for your loss!

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---


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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.

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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.