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Dr. Drew
Dr. Drew, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16844
Experience:  Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
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Help! My dog cant breath through her nose, only gets air

Customer Question

Help! My dog can't breath through her nose, only gets air through her mouth (panting), and therefore has not slept in 3 days. She was diagnosed with malignant mast cell tumor, behind the hard pallet, blocking her nasal passages. Vet removed as much as he could (something the size of your thumb, he said), but can't get it all. She's 50lbs and been taking Prednisone (30mg once per day), Benedryl (50 mg every 8 hrs), and just started Lomustine (50mg once, per 3 weeks).
Vet said he cleared tumor out of her nasal passage, so her breathing problems are imflamation, and that's what we're trying to control. I don't think Prednisone is helping at all. Her ability to breath has gotten progressively worse, not better. I feel so bad for her. She wants to sleep so bad, lowers her head to sleep, but pops up ever 30 seconds to breath through her mouth. She WILL NOT sleep with her mouth open. Her gums are white=not enough oxygen. Vet is not available on weekend. She can't go on like this. If we can't control this inflammation, it's just time...

Q: Is her current dose of Prednisone (0.6 mg/pound once daily) the most she can take?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 5 years ago.
Hi, thanks for your question about Zero. I'm sorry to hear that she's been having such difficulty. Prednisone has a wide range of recommended doses - up to about 1 mg per pound, at the higher end of the reasonable dose range. Therefore, there's not much room to increase the current dose, but it is possible to go slightly higher if needed. You could consider going from 30mg to 35mg, for example.

A nasal decongestant such as Neo-Synephrine drops (phenylephrine is the active ingredient) may be beneficial to help improve breathing through the nose.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks. Unfortunately, while we spent days trying to find the right combination of meds and dosage, she was miserable, struggling to choose between breathing and sleeping. We decided the only humane thing to do was have her put to sleep. So sad and frustrating - I never knew that a dog WILL NOT sleep while breathing through the mouth. I even tried to force her to lay on her side with her mouth held open (by a toy, bone, or nothing). Instead she would choose to close her mouth and suffocate in her sleep.
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 5 years ago.
I am so sorry to hear of your loss, my thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time. I know you made the right choice for Zero, when she needed you most. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with.