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Dog Difficulty Breathing

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Dog Difficulty Breathing

Labored breathing, difficulty breathing, respiratory distress, all fall under the category of dyspnea. It can happen when your dog inhales or exhales. When dyspnea occurs, your pet may not be able to get enough oxygen into his system. If your dog has an underlying heart condition, it could indicate a buildup of fluid in his tissues or lungs. The fluid can cause the shortness of breath.


• Diseases of the Lung • Dog Heart Disease, such as Dog Congestive Heart FailureDog Cancer or other type of tumors in the lung or chest cavity • Bleeding into the chest or lungs due to trauma or another condition • Too much fluid accumulation in the tissues • Pneumonia or other respiratory disease

Dog Kennel Cough can occur in dogs that are boarded, sent to doggie day care or kenneled. Females who have not been spayed have a predisposition to Dog Mammory Cancer which can metastasize to the lungs.

Breed Issues

• Short faced breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Boston Terrier's can have airway issues. These dogs have noisy breathing as a rule, but it can become worse after strenuous exercise or in hot, humid weather.

Boxers are also prone to tumors that may occur in the chest. These are in the heart and lung area and cause pressure on the lungs.

• Giant dogs such as Great Danes are at high risk for congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy.

• Toy breeds and small dogs can have a collapse of the trachea, chronic mitral valve disease or bronchitis.


Dog Fatigue • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath. • Dog Weight Loss • Coughing

It is advisable to consult with your veterinarian if any of these symptoms occur. Your veterinarian will conduct several studies to determine the cause. Initially your dog should have a complete medical history. Your veterinarian will listen to your dog’s chest with a stethoscope.

Tests That May Be Conducted

• X-ray of your dog’s chest • Blood pressure measurement • An EKG which will show the rhythm of your dog’s heart • Echocardiogram which is an ultrasound exam of the heart • Laboratory tests may also be necessary

Treatment Options

Once the cause is determined, appropriate treatment can be instituted. This will often require some hospitalization and the administration of some oxygen. If there is an excessive amount of fluid within the chest cavity, your veterinarian may have to perform a thoracentesis. This is drainage of the fluid in the chest via a needle. Medications that will increase urination may be given. Medications such as lasix or other diuretic may be given along with oxygen and nitroglycerine ointment. The nitroglycerine ointment will lower blood pressure and help to dilate the vessels, increasing circulation. Other medications may be ordered as well.

Home Treatment

Adequate treatment of dyspnea will include both home care and veterinary care. You will need to follow the veterinarian's orders exactly.

• Do not withhold fluids unless your veterinarian says that it should be done.

• It is important to get a strict routine for administration of medications and observe your pet for any changes in their condition.

• You may have to schedule more visits with your vet initially to record progress. Also digoxin levels need to be drawn on a routine level as this will build up in the blood of some animals.

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