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Pneumonia in Cats

Pleural Effusion continued...

Depending on the cause, cats can show acute distress or more gradual, chronic signs of pleural effusion. However, in all cases, the cat will have difficulty breathing. Cats often sit or stand with elbows out, chest fully expanded, and head and neck extended to draw in more air. The animal may be unable to lie down. The least effort produces sudden distress or collapse. Breathing is open-mouthed, and the lips, gums, and tongue may look pale or appear blue or gray. The blue-gray color, called cyanosis, is due to insufficient oxygen in the blood. Depending on the cause of the fluid accumulation, other signs of illness may include weight loss, fever, anemia, and signs of heart or liver disease.

Treatment: When fluid builds rapidly in the chest, urgent veterinary attention is required to prevent respiratory failure and sudden death. The fluid will need to be drained. The cat should be hospitalized for care and further diagnosis. A chest drain may need to be placed, antibiotics and pain medications are usually required, and surgery may be necessary. An oxygen cage may be required until the cat is stabilized.

WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

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