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Breathing Trouble in Cats: Understanding Stertor and Stridor

Stertor and Stridor in Cats: An Overview of Noisy Breathing

As a pet owner, one of the most concerning things you may notice in your furry friend is noisy breathing. Noisy breathing can range from a mild snore to a loud, constant wheeze, and can be due to several underlying conditions.

In cats, two common types of noisy breathing are stertor and stridor. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of stertor and stridor in cats.

What is Stertor in Cats? Stertor is a type of noisy breathing that is caused by an obstruction of the nasal passages or the back of the throat.

It is often described as a snoring sound and occurs during both inhalation and exhalation. Stertor can be present in cats of all ages and breeds, and is often seen in cats with flat or short noses, also known as brachycephalic breeds.

Causes of Stertor in Cats

Airway blockage is the most common cause of stertor in cats. This can be due to various conditions such as inflammation of the pharynx (pharyngitis), inflammation of the nasal passages (rhinitis), polyps in the nose, tumors, or foreign material in the airway.

In cats with brachycephalic syndrome, the shortened skull structure can cause narrow nasal passages or a long soft palate, leading to airway obstruction during breathing.

Symptoms of Stertor in Cats

The most common symptom of stertor in cats is a snoring sound, which varies in loudness and frequency. Other symptoms may include open-mouth breathing, discharge from the nose, sneezing, or coughing.

Risk Factors for Stertor in Cats

Factors that may increase the risk of stertor in cats include high environmental temperature, fever, high metabolic rate, anxiety or excitement, and breathing or heart disease.

Diagnosis of Stertor in Cats

A veterinary examination using a stethoscope can help to identify the location of an airway obstruction and characterize the type of breathing noise. Further diagnostic procedures such as radiography, fluoroscopy, or computed tomography (CT) may be necessary to identify the exact cause of the airway obstruction.

Treatment of Stertor in Cats

Treatment depends on the underlying cause of stertor in cats. In mild cases, environmental management such as maintaining a cool and calm environment may be sufficient.

Oxygen therapy may be necessary in severe cases. Sedative monitoring may also be required to keep the cat calm during breathing.

In emergency situations, intubation or tracheotomy may be necessary to ensure an open airway. Surgery may be needed to correct structural abnormalities that cause airway obstruction.

Pain management or antibiotic treatment may also be prescribed if necessary.

Prevention of Stertor in Cats

Preventing stertor in cats can be achieved through controlled exercise, close monitoring, and cage rest. Medication management may also be helpful for underlying medical conditions that cause stertor.

What is Stridor in Cats? Stridor is a type of noisy breathing that is usually louder and higher-pitched than stertor, and is caused by an obstruction in the upper airway such as the pharynx, larynx, or trachea.

Stridor can be present in cats of all ages and breeds, but is more common in young cats or cats with certain respiratory or congenital disorders.

Causes of Stridor in Cats

The most common cause of stridor in cats is congenital narrowing of the airways. This includes conditions such as brachycephalic syndrome, stenotic nares, soft palate elongation, everted laryngeal saccules, laryngeal collapse, nasopharyngeal stenosis, and laryngeal paralysis.

Other causes of stridor can include tumors, tracheal collapse, tracheal stenosis, foreign objects, granulomatous laryngitis, redundant pharyngeal mucosal fold, pharynx tumor, edema, and inflammation.

Symptoms of Stridor in Cats

The most common symptom of stridor in cats is a loud, high-pitched breathing sound during inhalation. Other symptoms may include open-mouth breathing, increased breathing effort, extended head and neck, change or loss of voice, and wheezing.

Risk Factors for Stridor in Cats

Factors that may increase the risk of stridor in cats include high environmental temperature, fever, high metabolic rate, exercise, and anxiety or excitement.

Diagnosis of Stridor in Cats

A veterinary examination using a stethoscope can help to identify the location of an airway obstruction and characterize the type of breathing noise. Further diagnostic procedures such as radiography, fluoroscopy, or computed tomography (CT) may be necessary to identify the exact cause of the airway obstruction.

Treatment of Stridor in Cats

Treatment of stridor in cats depends on the underlying cause. In mild cases, environmental management such as maintaining a cool and calm environment may be sufficient.

Oxygen therapy may be necessary in severe cases. Sedative monitoring may also be required to keep the cat calm during breathing.

In emergency situations, intubation or tracheotomy may be necessary to ensure an open airway. Surgery may be needed to correct structural abnormalities that cause airway obstruction.

Post-operative care, pain management, or antibiotic treatment may also be prescribed if necessary.

Prevention of Stridor in Cats

Preventing stridor in cats can be achieved through controlled exercise, close monitoring, and cage rest. Medication management may also be helpful for underlying medical conditions that cause stridor.

Conclusion

In conclusion, stertor and stridor are two types of noisy breathing in cats that can be caused by various underlying conditions. Early identification and treatment can prevent serious complications and improve the quality of life for affected cats.

Maintaining a healthy and stress-free environment, along with regular veterinary checkups, is recommended to help prevent and manage these conditions in cats. Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome: A Comprehensive Guide to Airway Obstruction in Short-Nosed Breeds

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAS) is a condition that affects short-nosed breeds of dogs and cats, causing varying degrees of airway obstruction.

BAS is caused by a combination of structural abnormalities in the upper airway, which make it more difficult for affected animals to breathe. In this article, we will discuss the definition, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome.

Definition and Causes of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome refers to a group of structural abnormalities that interfere with normal respiration in short-nosed breeds of animals. These abnormalities can include stenotic nares, narrowed nostrils that limit the air passage; elongated soft palate, a protruding tissue in the back of the throat that obstructs the airway; everted laryngeal saccules, when the cartilage structure around the larynx collapses inward, instead of outward; and laryngeal collapse, which occurs when the upper part of the larynx weakens and causes the airway to narrow.

Fluid buildup in the thorax or lungs can also exacerbate BAS. These anatomical features are more prevalent among certain breeds, such as Pugs, French Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, Boston Terriers, and Persian cats.

However, BAS can also occur in other breeds with shorter snouts and flat faces.

Symptoms of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

The symptoms of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome can vary in severity and may worsen with age. The most common symptom of BAS is loud breathing sounds, which are often accompanied by increased breathing effort and open-mouth breathing, even at rest.

Other symptoms can include exercise intolerance, cyanosis (blue discoloration of the gums or tongue), vomiting after exercise, regurgitation, snoring, coughing, gagging, or fainting. These symptoms can be triggered or exacerbated by high temperatures, exercise, excitement, anxiety, and stress.

Diagnosis of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

A thorough physical examination and a complete medical history can help to diagnose BAS. Your veterinarian will use a stethoscope to listen for abnormal respiratory sounds, such as wheezes or snorts and observe the animal’s breathing pattern, color, and posture.

Radiography or computed tomography may be necessary to examine the upper airway and identify any structural abnormalities. Some of these abnormalities are genetic in nature, which can be detected through physiological inheritance tests.

Treatment of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

There are several treatment options available for Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, depending on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, weight management may prove helpful by reducing stress, improving oxygenation, and lessening other concurrent medical conditions.

Environmental management whereby the animal is kept in a cool, calm environment is also recommended. Oxygen therapy can also help to support respiration.

Sedative monitoring may be needed to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation during breathing. In severe cases, emergency intubation or tracheotomy may be necessary to ensure an open airway.

Surgery is also an option to address structural abnormalities that cause airway obstruction. Nares surgery may be performed to widen the nostrils, while soft palate surgery removes the elongated excess palate tissue in the back of the throat and reduces the risk of airway obstruction.

If the everted laryngeal saccules or laryngeal collapse are the cause, the surgery may include laryngeal tieback surgery to support the cartilage structure around the larynx. Post-operative care, pain management, and prophylactic antibiotics may also be prescribed if necessary.

Prevention of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Preventing Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome in short-nosed breeds can be achieved through responsible breeding practices that prioritize airway and health rather than aesthetics. It’s recommended that breeders avoid breeding animals that exhibit severe airway obstructions or other medical issues.

Furthermore, controlling the animal’s weight (overweight animals are more prone to respiratory distress), limiting extreme exercise, and close monitoring. Medication management may also be prescribed for underlying medical conditions that contribute to BAS.

Conclusion

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome can be a serious condition in short-nosed breeds of dogs and cats, but early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can lead to a better quality of life for these animals. Veterinary care, responsible breeding practices, and proper management of weight and exercise are all crucial in preventing, diagnosing, and treating BAS.

If you suspect that your pet may be affected by BAS, it is imperative that you seek treatment by a licensed veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. In summary, Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome is a condition commonly seen in short-nosed breeds of cats and dogs.

It is caused by a combination of structural abnormalities that affect normal breathing and can lead to severe respiratory distress if left untreated. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can alleviate the symptoms associated with this condition.

Responsible breeding, managing weight and exercise, and close monitoring can help prevent the occurrence of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome. Pet owners should consult a licensed veterinarian if they observe the symptoms of BAS in their pets.

Overall, prioritizing an animal’s health over aesthetics should be the prime concern for breeders. By applying these measures, we can improve the quality of life of our pets, and help them breathe easier.

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