A normal healthy cat will take 20-30 regular breaths per minute. The air travels into your cat’s lungs and is used to oxygenate the blood, which is then circulated throughout your cat’s vital organs. When a cat is suffering from rapid breathing, this breath rate increases and often becomes irregular, or shallow. This can often be an indication that your cat is not able to bring enough oxygen into the lungs to supply their body’s need. Rapid breathing is a symptom that can be caused by a number of illnesses or injuries. Since regular breathing is vital, if your cat is suffering from rapid breathing (also known as tachypnea) it is a serious and life threatening condition and you should seek immediate veterinary care.
Thoracic drainage tubes to remove fluids from the pleural cavity. Local anesthesia and IV sedation are administered to keep your cat comfortable during this procedure. Tubes will be flushed several times a day with 0.9% saline or lactated Ringers solution warmed to body temperature to wash the chest cavity (pleural lavage). Tubes will need to remain in place for between 4-6 days.
Rapid breathing (tachypnea) is a respiratory disorder characterised by abnormal breathing that is rapid and shallow. It is caused by a reduced level of oxygen, mechanical disorders (where the lungs aren’t able to expand as they should, usually due to a build-up of fluid in or around the lungs), and physiological disorders in which the cat’s respiratory centre in the brain is over stimulated.