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Pet Doc
Pet Doc, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6630
Experience:  Veterinarian - BVSc
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My 1 year old shih tzu was choking. At first she cried out

Customer Question

My 1 year old shih tzu was choking. At first she cried out I picked her up and ran my finger down her throat found nothing. Acts like she is chewing on something but nothing in her mouth or throat. The only thing I could think of was a cellophane wrapper off a candy. Have given her some dry bread and some water. Help She is my baby
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 1 year ago.
Hi there,

Thank you for your question regarding your 1 year old Shih Tzu girl Sophie who appeared to be choking a few moments ago. This must haven been very concerning and I'm sure you were in a bit of a panic when it happened (and rightly so). Hopefully she has improved a little now? There are a number of things that could be going on here, and Sophie's choking behavior could be due to anything from something caught up over her soft palate (in which case you wouldn't feel anything with a finger), something at the very back of her throat by her larynx, or just due to irritation in her throat (from anything to trauma, to a bee or bug sting/bite).

If she is really distressed now, still seems to be choking, or has any sort of breathing issue right now, then you need to get her seen by your local vet or ER vet straight away. If she has settled now, then continue to try and encourage her to drink plenty of water. In case her throat is irritated, don't give her any more food until first thing tomorrow morning.

For now, please keep an eye on her mucus membranes, capillary refill time and respiratory rate tonight as follows (do be careful that your girl doesn't bite you accidentally):

Mucus membranes - flip her lip and look at the color of his gums. They should maintain a nice salmon pink color. Get her to the emergency Vet if they appear white or very pale pink, or if they are a dark deep red color.

Capillary Refill time - this measures blood perfusion and test this by putting your thumb on her gum to apply pressure. After you release your thumb you will see the gum blanch. Capillary refill time is the amount of time it takes (in seconds) for the gum to return to a healthy pink color from the blanched white color. If 2 seconds or less don't worry - if it is taking significantly more time, again - off to the emergency Vet.

Respiratory Rate - if she seems to be panting or breathing rapidly throughout the night, this is a sign of shock and or pain and a signal for a trip to the emergency Vet.

If Sophie's choking behavior settles tonight, but then re-appears in the morning, then a follow up with your vet tomorrow will be very important. Here they may need to sedate her to have a look behind her soft palate and at the back of her throat. It could also potentially be that Sophie has the beginnings of canine infectious cough that can often cause these sorts of symptoms, so keep this in mind too.

Best of luck with Sophie and please let me know how you get on. I hope all of the above makes sense? Please let me know if you have any other questions. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. Thank you for your business and I hope to work with you again soon!

Kind Regards,

Dr E

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