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I would like to help you and your dog with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.
Could you please go and check a few things:
1. Count how many breaths he takes in one minute when he is resting.2. Lift his lip above his canine teeth – so you can see his canines and the teeth behind them. Are his gums sticky and tacky, or are they wet and slimy when you touch them with a finger?3. Are his gums and tongue:- dark red- dark pink- bubble gum pink- light pink- white
- yellowishAre they lighter or darker than your own?
Thanks for that additional information.
Here is a video about coughing in dogs, explaining that coughing can be a symptom of many different underlying problems – some quite trivial and some very serious.
There are a number of things that could be going on - but his symptoms really worry me! Any time an animal has difficulty breathing, he should be seen by a veterinarian immediately! The slow walking could well be because he is not getting enough oxygen to his tissues.
A common reason for laboured breathing is congestive heart failure.
In an older dog, this could be caused by a few different things, but mitral valve disease would be the most common.
Basically, when the heart beats, not all of the blood inside it is pushed forward as the mitral valve often becomes "leaky" in older small breed dogs.
So, now you have more blood coming in, PLUS that leaked blood that didn't go out, so the pressure builds up inside the heart. This then backs up so there is increased pressure in the blood vessels in the lungs. Because of the increased pressure, fluid gets squeezed out of the blood vessels and into the lungs. With water in the lungs, it is very difficult to get oxygen across the lungs into the blood stream.
Heart failure can also cause fluid to build up in the abdomen. This fluid is called "ascites" and is another symptom of heart problems. It sounds like your little guy has this.
Here are some links to more information about congestive heart failure (CHF):
http://www.yourdogsheart.com/ And a great video explaining it:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJk3l8V9Jek
This disease is something which needs prompt veterinary attention.
Your dog may need injections of a diuretic (such as Lasix/furosemide) to quickly move the fluid out of his lungs so he can breathe more easily. The vet would likely get x-rays of the chest to see how much fluid is there, and what size his heart is.
Once he is stabilized, he would likely go home with Lasix in pill form so that the fluid doesn't build up again, as well as something called an "ace inhibitor" to help the heart function more effectively.
It sounds as though your little dog is having a rough time right now, and it must be distressing to him to have trouble breathing. Please get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible! I would strongly recommend a visit to an emergency veterinarian tonight.
If that is absolutely impossible, please know that there is some danger of sudden death with this disease. At home, all you can do to help is to prop your little guy up so that he can rest with his head and chest higher than his belly and back legs. Having him on a wedge made for babies with colic, or on some other type of wedge to elevate his front end might help him to survive the night.
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I will still be here to provide more information if you need it – just hit reply!
The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.
I totally forgot to add that I was took him to the vet two years ago and they told me he had an enlarged heart... they did a cardio gram and gave him medicine that made him loopy and he was not he same pet so I stopped giving him the meds after a couple of weeks and I haven't had a problem since.
Like I said before he had these same symptoms one month ago and it just went away... I understand your concern and the urgency of prompt medical care...I will try to get him to the vet first thing in the morning (3 more hrs in my time... thankfully he seems to be sleeping peacefully and his body has softened significantly).... My question now is....is this some thing that he can live with and I can give him something to monitor his condition from worsening and he will have decent quality of life... for many more years or will his condition worsen with time?
Thanks again Dr. your insight is greatly appreciated!!!