Left untreated shock is a self perpetuating condition that results in death. It is caused by anything that effects the heart’s ability to properly circulate sufficient blood through the body. Any damage done to the heart, the blood vessels or the volume of blood can induce shock. When damage has been done via poisoning, heavy bleeding (internal or external) severe infection, over heating, severe impact (as from a fall or being hit by a car) or dehydration (from vomiting and diarrhea, or refusal to eat or drink) then shock is likely to ensue. The body will try to compensate by increasing the heart rate and constricting the blood vessels but this puts more of a load on the heart when enough oxygen is not being circulated. The cat needs more oxygen to meet the increased demand of the tiring organs, but working harder just makes the condition worse.

This is why you may see an ailing cat that is very agitated and breathing hard suddenly get very quiet and unresponsive. If the cat has been breathing hard, or shivering and then suddenly becomes lifeless, weak, pale nose and gums (or blue) and if the body temperature drops, then be prepared to treat him for shock.

You will need a Veterinarian right away, but you will have to keep the cat alive until then.

1. If the cat is not breathing, or the heart has stopped, apply artificial respiration and heart massage. See Artificial Respiration.

2. If he is breathing make sure that the airway is open and wipe away and drool. He needs more oxygen than usual right now, so do not muzzle or cover his nose. The head should be slightly lower than the body if he is laying down.

3. If he is bleeding treat as indicated in Wounds.

4. You can slow the onset of shock by:

Reassuring him calmly

Wrapping him to keep him warm

Splinting any broken bones to prevent further harm

Within reason, let him get comfortable.

Note: I am not a veterinarian. If your exotic cat has suffered shock please consult a licensed veterinarian.

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