Cat panting and drooling

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queenofprussia

In Cats

Has anyone ever experienced a cat suddenly start panting heavily and drooling like a dog?  Our torbie Pearl has had periodic episodes like this for about three years.  Thankfully they're rare episodes, and the vets say they're  not likely to be fatal as she is breathing and getting oxygen, but they are scary as hell and we race her to the emergency vet.  The vets cannot find a root cause. She has seen a cardiologist, an internist, and a neurologist, had echocardiograms twice and a brain MRI, all normal.  She has a very teeny bit of asthma, but the vet said not enough to cause this reaction and also we had an asthmatic cat and we know what that looks like and it's not this.  She sometimes vomits before and sometimes loses control of her bladder during (though not always), and just kind of goes down limp and starts open-mouth breathing and drooling.  She comes out of it on her own.  Sometimes it's taken longer and she stayed in oxygen at the emergency vet, and sometimes she's out of it even before we get the carrier to take her.  She hadn't had an attack since last fall then had an attack this morning but was largely out of it by the time I found her under our bed, so we are just letting her be and watching her very closely.
The internist says it's anxiety, but she is not a nervous cat at all. She's the only one of our cats who doesn't bolt when the doorbell rings, the only one that lets strangers pet her, and she doesn't even mind the vacuum cleaner. She's really chill. So if it is a panic attack, it is being driven by something physiological but nobody can figure out what.  We wonder if it is some kind of seizure or perhaps an allergy that she suddenly feels like she can't breathe normally and freaks out.  She's an indoor cat.

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