Breathing Problems

Breathing problems in a pet suggest a respiratory or cardiac problem. While the cause of this problem may range from a mild allergy to a complicated cancer, it is critical that your pet be examined by a veterinarian the moment you notice a change in their breathing pattern. Changes in a pet’s breathing pattern indicate distress and should not be confused with panting, which can be described as fast-paced, open-mouthed breathing that dogs perform when excited, or to relax or cool off.

When at rest or around the house, a pet’s normal breathing rate is between 10 to 30 breaths per minute. Faster breathing suggests anxiety, fever, pain, or a serious health issue. If your pet appears to have rapid breathing or labored breathing, we advise seeking veterinary care immediately.

Symptoms of respiratory disease : 

  • Coughing. 
  • Rapid or labored breathing.
  • Eye discharge. 
  • Nasal discharge.
  • Sneezing or congestion
  • Snorting
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Shallow breathing. 

Common causes of respiratory complications: 

  • Allergic reaction
  • Laryngeal paralysis.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Pneumonia
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Heat Stroke 
  • Complications of heartworm disease
  • Nasal Tumor
  • Cancer
  • Poisoning.
  • Fluid in lungs or chest cavity.
  • Pulmonary thromboembolism.
  • Foreign object in throat.
  • Severe anemia.
  • Obesity
  • Shock.
  • Kennel cough.
  • Swelling of larynx.
  • Ketoacidosis.
  • Trauma.

How are breathing problems treated? That depends on the underlying cause. Any pets with breathing issues should be examined immediately. Our doctors will evaluate your pet and perform any xrays or testing indicated. Some pets need to be stabilized with oxygen before testing can be accomplished. Pets that are diagnosed with more serious conditions usually require hospital care until we can ensure that they can breathe sufficiently on their own. While some conditions are curable, others will require medicated management or activity reduction for the remainder of the pet’s life. Also, any pet with a history of respiratory disease should immediately see the veterinarian if there are any changes in their breathing pattern.

If you have any questions about your pet please contact our veterinary office.

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