Oscar was just 20 months old when he suddenly started having severe breathing difficulties. His owners rushed him to the practice where x-rays and scans identified that fluid was collecting in Oscar’s pleural space (the area surrounding his lungs) and he was therefore unable to inflate his lungs properly to draw breath.

Dark leaf shape underneath spine shows restricted lung capacity and cloudy x-ray indicates mass of fluid

After a life-saving procedure to drain the fluid from Oscar’s chest, we carefully examined his heart by ultrasonography to help us to decide on his ongoing medical care and prevent a repeat of the debilitating and ultimately life-threatening fluid build-up. We successfully stabilised Oscar’s condition and, after several weeks, he took a trip to see a cardiac specialist in Kenilworth for a full cardiac assessment and his treatment was continued unchanged.

Post drain and treatment, dark lung area now fills chest and heart clearly visible (white smaller mass in centre of x-ray)

What caused Oscar’s sudden breathlessness?

Oscar has a disease called restrictive cardiomyopathy which prevents the muscles of his heart from contracting and expanding  as in normal cats: his heart doesn’t fill with blood properly or beat efficiently. Many cats with this condition do not cope well, even on medication, and can have a very poor prognosis.  However, Oscar is an absolute star! He has just celebrated his third birthday and continues to live life to the full, 16 months after initial diagnosis.

 A very happy Oscar!