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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 9119
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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My 11 year old GSP is now showing signs of laboured

Customer Question

Hi my 11 year old GSP is now showing signs of laboured breathing & tonight after his walk became so short of breath he appeared to choke & stop breathing for about 10-20 seconds, his rib cage was enlarged. He is ok now and resting, should we be worried?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb.

I recently came online and see that your question about Hugo hasn't been answered. I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response, but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.

I can understand your concern for Hugo which, unfortunately, I share. When any dog, especially an older one, develops exercise intolerance (which means they get tired very quickly and may show respiratory issues), then I'm going to be worried. I'd want to know what's going on in the chest cavity in general and more specifically what's going on with the heart in these patients.

Cardiovascular disease is typically the most common cause of the symptoms you're seeing with secondary respiratory issues although there are other possibilities as well such as fluid in the chest or even a mass, unfortunately.

In some cases, abnormalities will be detected on a thorough physical exam (a murmur might be heard, for example, when the heart is ausculted) although they aren't in every case. Whether they are or not, we'll often suggest additional diagnostic procedures such an x-ray or ultrasound.

I would dearly love to tell you that he's just slowing down because of his age (which may be to true to a certain extent) but what you're describing would not be considered part of the normal aging process. It would be prudent to have him evaluated by your vet, if at all possible.

I hope this helps although, again, my profuse apologies for the delayed reply. Deb