Tachypnea (Rapid Breathing Rate) in Cats

Feline Tachypnea (Rapid Breathing Rate)

Tachypnea, also referred to as polypnea, is an increased rate of breathing. Tachypnea, unlike dyspnea (distressful feeling associated with labored breathing), need not be an indication of distress.

Causes of Tachypnea in Cats

There are several causes for fast respiratory rates in cats. They include:

Upper Respiratory Causes

Lower Respiratory Causes

Lower respiratory disorders include obstructive (that which clogs or blocks) diseases and restrictive (that which confines) diseases.

Nonrespiratory Causes

Tachypnea may have little to no impact on the affected individual, especially in association with transient causes such as fear or stress. Conversely, it may represent a more severe, life-threatening illness. For this reason, tachypnea should not be ignored and addressed if it persists or progresses to dyspnea.

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Tachypnea in Cats

Before any testing is performed, consider any factors that may be causative (heat, stress, over exertion) and eliminate them from your pet’s environment. If tachypnea persists despite removing the possible cause, and/or signs are long standing or progressive, it is important to seek veterinary attention and have tests performed on your pet.

Treatment of Tachypnea in Cats

Home Care

Administer all prescribed medications and return for follow up evaluation as directed by your veterinarian. Meanwhile, keep your pet in a cool, stress free environment, and do not over exert your pet.