Rarely the owner can see a healthy cat breathing with tongue out even after a long physical activity. For a tired pet excessive salivation and thirst are more common. The symptoms described earlier are typical for dogs and cats that have health issues. Usually, these problems appear not only because of respiratory (pulmonary edema, excessive fluid or air in lungs) or cardiovascular diseases but also due to various injuries or even malignant tumors.
Detailed Survey of Potential Causes
If the owner finds a cat breathing hard with tongue out, it is a serious sign that the pet should be taken to thorough vet examination. It is especially important during the cold season. Other symptoms may include snorting, sniffles and wheezing while breathing at rest. In some cases, panting may appear even after insignificant physical activity. Excessive salivation also confirms that there is something wrong with cat health. During the examination a veterinarian will consider the following illnesses:
- Asthma. Severity level of the disease may differ according to cat’s age. Typically, it is disclosed during the year of a pet’s life but there are a lot of cases when it was triggered by pregnancy or injuries of a grown-up animal. In the opening stage of asthma symptoms are barely noticeable and appear only after too much exercise or during the hot season. Later, cat begins to breath hard with tongue out, which is sometimes accompanied by coughing. Apathy and loss of appetite may be the result of panting or other respiratory issues. Diagnose is made in accordance with lateral chest x-ray and complete blood count, which shows high level of eosinophils. A way of treatment depends mainly on symptoms severity. In most cases, asthma appears more than once during the lifetime. Pets that face asthma attack more often than 2-4 times a year are usually treated with hormone therapy and glucocorticoids, which should be taken constantly.
- Heart diseases. Some breeds like Maine Coon, Persian, Exotic Shorthair or Sphynx have genetic predisposition to heart failure. In most cases, it is diagnosed during the first year of life. Heart issues may be discovered by panting, which often appear even at rest, paroxysmal coughing and blue discoloration of the oral mucous membranes. It is especially dangerous when there are no provocative factors but the owner sees the cat breathing with tongue out. To rule out or confirm heart disease echocardiography must be done. A veterinarian assigns a treatment individually as it depends on symptoms severity. In most cases, heart failure requires a lifelong caring for a pet, not only medicamentally but also behaviorally (avoidance of serious physical activity, proper nutrition, etc.).
- Heat stroke. It is more common for dogs but cats, who often travel by car, are also vulnerable. Animals can bear even the most extreme weather conditions if they have an opportunity to find a cool place. If a pet was locked in a car, there is a risk of heat stroke even if it is not very hot. When a cat breathes with its tongue out, have a loss of balance, vomiting and diarrhea after spending some time in a hot closed space, it should be taken to the nearest veterinarian clinic to get aid. Some owners try to cool their pet by themselves but it is very dangerous. It is necessary to be careful and stop in time while putting cold on hips and paw pads. Even if temperature was normalized, it is better to show a cat to veterinarian to prevent future complications. Owners must remember that the first aid should be given only when they are sure that a pet have heat stroke, not pulmonary edema or other heart or respiratory diseases.
- Pulmonary edema. It is often developed as a consequence of congestive heart failure and serious injuries sustained in car crashes or after a fall from a great height. If the owner sees a cat breathing fast with tongue out or being restless (especially if it is uncommon for the pet), it should be taken to the veterinarian clinic to do an x-ray. If pulmonary edema is confirmed, oxygen chamber and intravenous injections may be necessary. One must remember that treatment has no sense when the main cause of disease is not eliminated.
In conclusion, it must be reminded that some cats may breathe with their tongue out after physical activity during the hot season. But if a pet (even if it is really large) has trouble breathing at rest, the owner should be put on their guard.