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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 25145
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Am wondering why my 15yr old dog is breathing really heavy

Customer Question

Hello am wondering why my 15yr old dog is breathing really heavy and his nose is drianing bloody musuc and get dried on at night and i moist it and clean him off so he can brethe
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Scruffy's symptoms of epistaxis (nose bleed) are most worrisome for a sinus and/or nasal tumor in such a geriatric dog. His breathing heavily may be due to obstruction in his upper airways due to such a tumor but can also arise from spread of the tumor into his lungs. I need to also consider the many cardiopulmonary disorders that can arise at Scruffy's age - heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, e.g. Scruffy's vet will need to consider some combination of carefully auscultating (listening to) Scruffy's heart and lungs, scoping his nose under anesthesia, and X-raying his upper and lower respiratory tracts. I understand that this is going to be quite stressful for Scruffy (and costly for you) but his symptoms often represent life-threatening disorders.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
With his age and stress as a large factor we choose not to o that type of testing how do i keep him comfortable ..asprin a day a decongestant we dont want to keep him alive for us he has had a wonderful life we just want him to go oeacefully at home with us but painfree as possible any remedy for his breathing dry air ,cooler air nose spray
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He eats a small package of moist food a day,happy to see me when i come home from work loves attention just not alot of energy and does drink water well wish i could put weight on him hes 30 pounds his last vet visit a month ago people said add alittle canned pumpkin to his food is that good
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I understand your pragmatic approach. Low dose aspirin (10 mg/lb) with food every 12 hours should be helpful. That dose isn't likely to cause more bleeding and should provide both antiinflammatory and analgesic action. Should you see more bleeding, however, the aspirin should be discontinued and acetaminophen dosed at 7 mg/lb thrice daily. Acetaminophen isn't anti-inflammatory, however, but might provide analgesia. You must avoid both ibuprofen and naproxen - both of which are toxic to Scruffy. Phenylephrine-containing nose drops are reasonable for you to place in his upturned nostrils every 6 hours as needed. That decongestant can collapse the bleeding blood vessels and stem that bloody mucus.

You'll have a difficult time putting weight on any geriatric dog much less one that's ill. I would simply see if he would be interested in more of the same food he currently enjoys. Canned pumpkin acts as a bulk laxative which can be helpful if Scruffy suffers from geriatric constipation. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When you say upturned nostril like when hes laying down spray up or? Am trying to picture spraying it in his nose which he will love me for sure for doing it at all i lve your compansion for a dog you dont know i really appreciate our help
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I avoid sprays because dogs hate having their noses sprayed. The drops are better tolerated. I just hyperextend my patient's neck while he's standing normally so his nose is pointed straight up to the sky and the drop the drops into his nostrils. He still might not be thrilled with your ministrations and so you'll have to have a talk with him and tell him that's in his best interest. You're quite welcome and thank you for your kind words.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much i will hed to the drug tore and get scruffy the two things that may keep him more comfortable may i come back for any other questions pertaining to scruffy after a few days of treatment or not?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Yes, I can't set a follow-up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update - even after rating - at a time of your choosing. Bookmark this page for ease of return.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your help and happy holidays to you and your family
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Happy holidays to Scruffy and you too!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just an update i did take scruffy into the vet and sadly put him to sleep his breathing was very heavy and i could see in his eyes he was telling me it was time he layed next to me as i petted and hugged him as he drifted off to sleep ty for your help
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Oh my. My condolences for your loss of Scruffy. He was lucky to have you.

You may receive an inappropriate follow up sent by the site ostensibly sent by me. It wasn't and I apologize in advance should you receive it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Np i will use this service again no doubt with my other two dogs happy holidays
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

...and the same to you and yours.