Short-nosed cats

The animal clinic Artemis has a lot experience in the short-nosed cat.

The cats, just like dogs with short noses, often have problems with breathing and can get complications from it.

Case from Artemis

Ludwig, an 8-year-old British Shorthair came to the the clinic.

Ludwig had all his life been a “noisy” cat. When he was breathing, a snoring sound was heard. Years ago, the owner had been told that he had a “crack” on the nose, so the owner considered the strange sound normal. Ludwig had been very tired lately, so now it was time for a vet check.

During the consultation we clearly heard the for Ludwig characteristic sound, when he was breathing. There was a bit of discharge from the nose, but otherwise he looked healthy. The most noticeable about the cat was that his nostrils were hardly seen, just two small holes in the nose. We decided Ludwig should come back in a week for a more extensive examination in anesthesia.

Ludwig’s nostrils and nasal cavity were examined with a nasal endoscope (camera). It was done to make sure no straw, grain, foreign bodies were in the nasal cavity. The endoscope is brought via the mouth, up towards the pharynx, up behind the palate and ending in the nasal cavity. One side of the nose had a small narrowing of the nose but nothing else wrong.

We performed the surgery on Ludwig, where a small nasal wedge was removed to widening the nostrils. There is no need for suturing after the surgery, since the bleeding will stop by pressing swabs with cold water to the edge until the bleeding stops.

Then both nostrils are flushed with saltwater so left-over discharges get out.

Ludwig also had his teeth checked. If a cat has a rotten tooth, then it can give discharge in the nose. His teeth were fine.

Ludwig came back for a check up a week later. The owner could report that he no longer snored when breathing and even appeared to be more energetic.

Who are prone for narrowing of the nostrils?

Breeds i.e. british shorthair and persians are in the category of flat-nosed cats. They are popular because of their wonderful temperament and beautiful look. The cats are bred with a flat nose and often have smaller nostrils. The smaller nostrils mean that even a lighter upper respiratory irritation as a cold can get serious. The cats often have issues with discharge from the nose, which even with antibiotics and other medication can be hard to get rid of because of the anatomy of the cat.

What to look for?

If you look for a short-nosed cat, then pay attention to the nostrils having a good size. Ask the breeder if the parents have had respiratory problems and pay close attention to, if the mother cat has discharge and is sticky around the nose. Notice if there is “noise” coming from the cat. It can be hard to estimate the nostril size of the kitten, so a good dialog with the breeder is important.

Is surgery an option?

Many are not aware of that it is possible to help the cats by removing a bit of the nostrils. Of course, the cat needs to go into anesthesia, but it’s otherwise a quick procedure.

The surgery eases the breathing of the cat tremendously and gives more energy. If a cat has a hard time breathing, then it will most likely be a “calm” cat since it compensates for less air by being less active. It is of highest importance to close out other causes regarding respiratory problems before we focus only on smaller nostrils.