My cat is suddenly open mouth breathing. Should I be concerned?

When it comes to a cat suddenly breathing through its mouth, there could be various factors at play, ranging from mild to severe conditions. Here are some additional details on potential causes:

1. **Respiratory Infections**: Both viral and bacterial infections can make it difficult for a cat to breathe. Common ones include feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus, which can lead to upper respiratory infections.

2. **Heart Disease**: In addition to causing fluid to accumulate around the lungs, heart disease can lead to other complications such as high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.

3. **Heatstroke**: Cats are not as efficient at cooling down as humans, and they are prone to heatstroke in hot environments. This condition can be serious or even life-threatening.

4. **Asthma**: Just like in humans, asthma in cats can cause episodes of shortness of breath and coughing. It is usually caused by an allergic reaction, and episodes can be triggered by various factors including smoke, dust, and certain types of cat litter.

5. **Lung Disease**: Chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, lungworms, and lung cancer can all cause mouth breathing in cats. In many cases, these conditions will also cause other symptoms like weight loss and lethargy.

6. **Trauma or Injury**: If your cat has suffered an injury or trauma, it might be in shock or experiencing pain, which could result in open mouth breathing. This is an emergency situation that requires immediate veterinary attention.

7. **Foreign Object**: If a foreign object is lodged in your cat's throat or nose, it can obstruct the airway and make it difficult for the cat to breathe. This is also an emergency that needs immediate attention.

8. **Allergies**: Cats can also have allergic reactions to certain foods, drugs, or environmental factors. Severe allergic reactions can cause swelling in the throat, making it difficult for the cat to breathe.

9. **Dental Disease**: Pain or discomfort from dental disease can sometimes cause cats to breathe with their mouths open.

10. **Neurological Disorders**: Certain neurological conditions can affect a cat's ability to regulate its breathing, leading to mouth breathing.

Remember that the above conditions can be serious and potentially life-threatening, so it's important not to ignore the symptoms. If your cat is showing signs of distress, like struggling to breathe, lack of appetite, decreased activity level, or changes in behavior, it's crucial to seek veterinary help immediately. The vet will be able to diagnose the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment. In many cases, early detection and treatment can significantly improve the outcome.