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Breathing problem causes cat to snore loudly

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ATLANTA -

Boo the cat has been a big part of the Richards family's life since they found her several years ago in a dumpster and brought her home. They say she's sweet and loving, but for months she's been snoring like bear because she can't really breathe properly.

When she's wide awake, Boo sounds like she's snoring. When she sleeps, it's worse.

The 4-year-old rescue cat made a visit to Georgia Veterinary Specialists in Sandy Springs to see if they could help.

"Cats, they don't like to breathe through their mouth, and they really rely on their sense of smell to encourage them to eat," said Dr. Nicholas Berryesse. "So if they can't breathe through their nose very well, it can affect their quality of life."

Boo is physically healthy, but a series of upper respiratory infections has caused scar tissue to build up in the back of her nose.

"She has trouble sleeping.  She's not eating as well," said Berryesse.

Berryesse, a GVS veterinarian, thinks he can fix Boo's breathing problems.

Boo has already has two procedures to open her nasal blockage with a tiny inflatable balloon.

"And that lasts, in her, only for a day or two, so she breathes well for a day or two, and then her signs come right back, and she sounds like this," Berryesse said.

Berryesse decided to go for a more permanent fix.  He used the same balloon device, but this time, a metal stent was coiled around it.  He places that stent like a scaffold in the back of the cat's nose to prop open the blockage causing her to breathe improperly.

Once that was done, Dr. Berryesse, used a scope moved an x-ray called a fluoroscopy to guide the device up to the blockage. Once he got there, he pulled the sheath out and left the stent behind.

This is a new procedure for cats and Berryesse said it seemed to work pretty much right away.

"I think she's going to feel a whole lot better.  Immediately.  Usually these guys sound clear right when they wake up," Berryesse said.

Boo came out of the procedure groggy and congested.  But the hope is that she'll finally able to sleep without snoring and breathe without struggling.

The Richards say after surgery, Boo's breathing is almost back to normal. She's not snoring and eating better. They're hoping the stent will keep her nasal passages from closing down again.

The stent procedure was expensive -- close to $3,000. Regina Richards said she paid for it with an emergency fund she has for her pets.

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