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Dr. Christie
Dr. Christie, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1530
Experience:  Over 7 years of practice
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Hello~ My dog has been panting heavily - even when cool

Resolved Question:

Hello~

My dog has been:

panting heavily - even when cool outside. She relaxes a bit but still can't seem to catch her breath

Runny nose and eyes

Weight loss

occasional light coughing and wheezing

Seems a little tired or out of sorts at times - I think because she isnt' sleeping very well due to the constant panting???

She's 13 years old, heartworm test negative
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Christie replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

1) What breed is she? Is she spayed?

2) How long has she been panting heavily and coughing? Does she cough a certain time of day more than others?

3) Drinking any more water than normal?

4) Any problems with her fur or skin?

5) Has she had any bloodwork done or xrays in the past 6 months?

6) Is she on any medications?

Dr. Christie
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

1) What breed is she? Is she spayed? --Queensland heeler, spayed before her first cycle (way back when)

2) How long has she been panting heavily and coughing? Does she cough a certain time of day more than others? --for about a week and a half now. Not necessarily, just randomly. Her eyes and nose have just recently started getting weepy, maybe 4 days ago.

3) Drinking any more water than normal? --Not that I've noticed. And her appetite seems to be fine. healthy bowel movements as well.

4) Any problems with her fur or skin?-- Not fur or skin but she's lost a bit of weight. She used to weigh around 45lbs and is down to 37.5lbs. This could have been over the course of a year on weight management food as she was heavy (she's had a thick coat so it's hard to tell). We recently started having her coat groomed, which removed much of the thickness and revealed how thin she's gotten.

5) Has she had any bloodwork done or xrays in the past 6 months? --Bloodwork and x-rays today. Showing signs of anemia and her liver numbers (??) were slightly elevated, not enough to point to anything specific. The vet thinks he is feeling a possible mass in her abdomen. The xray didn't show anything.


6) Is she on any medications? As a puppy unitl about 5 years old and then again from 7 to 11 she suffered from occassional seizures and was on phenobarbital (sp?). Occassionally she'll receive 325mg of aspirin if showing signs of stiffness (usually after travelling in the bed of a pick up. Usual commute is 2-3 hours each way and we do that 2-3 times a month.)

Thank you very much!
Expert:  Dr. Christie replied 7 years ago.
Did the vet hear any heart murmurs?

Did the xray happen to catch her heart or lung fields?

Is she on phenobarbital anymore (I am assuming not, but just want to be sure)?

Has she had any seizures recently?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Did the vet hear any heart murmurs? -- Negative, heart sounded strong, lungs clear.

Did the xray happen to catch her heart or lung fields? --He didn't indicate

Is she on phenobarbital anymore (I am assuming not, but just want to be sure)? --You're correct, not anymore

Has she had any seizures recently? --Not for a long time. I don't remember when she experienced her last one.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Additional information -

temperature of 102.9

Activity levels normal, appetite normal

:( thanks for any help~ She's my best buddy.
Expert:  Dr. Christie replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for the information. There are a few different things that could be going on with your dog.

1) Heart disease. Although your dog did not have a murmur, heart disease does not always come with a murmur. Radiographs and echocardiograms (ultrasound of the heart) can help to see if the heart is of abnormal size or if there is abnormal flow thru the heart. If the heart is enlarged, indicating heart disease, this pushes upward on the trachea. This can cause coughing. Also if the heart is pumping insufficiently, the blood begins to back up. Fluid begins to build up in the lungs and wheezing and coughing can be heard. Exercise intolerance is also seen because the dog cannot catch its breath.

2) Hypertension. If your dog's blood pressure is high, it certainly can cause an increased respiratory rate, exercise intolerance, and coughing. Your vet can simply take your dog's blood pressure to make sure that your dog is not having hypertension.

3) Cancer. It is possible your dog has a mass hiding somewhere. Being an older dog, some elevations in liver enzymes can be normal. But if they are significantly higher, it may indicate liver disease or even a mass lurking in the liver. An ultrasound can be done to look for any suspicious areas, if any are found a biopsy can be done. Certainly there can be chest masses too, or lung masses which might be accounting for her panting, coughing and wheezing. Xrays could easily rule this out.

4) Cushings disease. This is an endocrine disease. It is a dysfunction of either the pituitary or adrenal glands. Basically too much cortisol, a steroid, is produced in an animals body. This can cause exercise intolerance, constant panting, pot bellied appearance with upper body muscle wasting, increase drinking and urinating. Alot of signs are progressive over the years. Sometimes on bloodwork, you can see a few telltale signs that maybe further diagnostic testing should be done. A liver enzyme called alkaline phosphatase (ALKPH), cholesterol, and glucose may all be elevated.

So where do you go now? I think ruling out heart disease might be wise. Chest xrays with blood pressure might be the best place to start. I would consult with your vet to see he would be willing to do this.

I hope this helps! Good luck with your dog! I hope he feels better soon!

Dr. Christie
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