Advice for Panting Scared Cat

Our question this week was:

My Persian/Himalayan cat of 5 years old, has panting problems. We do notice that she gets scared very easily so we try not to surprise her in anyway. We took her to a vet and they just kept wanting to sell us stuff. We were told that if we kept her there over night that they could watch her and give her the right meds. That didn’t happen. Then they did an x-ray which didn’t bother us that we did not authorize it. But they kept her on Aminophylline, and prednisone.

They say it’s doing great but we don’t see any change. They also called a compounding specialist and said that we need a bunch of Aminophylline while, we never authorized that either. Can you give me a hand with this and please shed some light. We have been giving her, her meds and she seems to be doing worse. None of the x-rays or anything helped.

Nikki Lincoln


Hi – thanks for your email. Sounds like an awkward experience. Your email indicated that your cat is “panting”.

I don’t want to get involved between what happened between you and your veterinarian but I will give you my opinion. It sounds like there were some communication problems. I’ll also say that it is important that you trust your veterinarian.

I don’t know the exact conversations that occurred but if I was in your situation and felt like they were trying to “sell” me stuff and did things I didn’t authorize, I wouldn’t be happy.
There are lots of good veterinarians out there. You can ask friends that live near by and find out which veterinarian that they use and if they are happy. I find word of mouth recommendations pretty good.

Now for the panting. An article that might be helpful to you is on our is “Panting in Cats“. Occasionally, I’ll see a cat that is much stressed coming into the clinic panting that has normal heart and lung function however; this is the exception rather than the rule.

It sounds like your vet thinks it may be either a behavioral/stress problem or asthma. Those are certainly possible problems.

What would I do? If I had a cat that was panting, I’d probably want him evaluated by a cardiologist. I think the chest x-ray was a good idea. A through physical examination including careful auscultation of the heart and lungs and a good quality chest x-ray is a good starting place. A cardiologist may also want to do an echocardiogram and a blood pressure as well.

On one hand I don’t want to be too aggressive on doing tests but on the other hand, panting in cats can often signify a significant problem. I don’t want to overlook anything that could possibly be important and be treated. I would personally prefer to have a second opinion by a cardiologist.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

To read most recent questions Click here!

Click here to see the full list of Ask Dr. Debra Questions and Answers!