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Lisa
Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
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Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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My 13 year old dog pants heavily day and night. Our vet has

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My 13 year old dog pants heavily day and night. Our vet has looked at her twice and said her heart and lungs both sound strong and clear. She does not drink excessively but we usually have to bring her water during the night. She sometimes sounds like she has phlegm in her throat and will cough to clear it. When she gets excited she starts panting but it doesn't take that to get her started. There are 2 vets in the practice who've both seen her for many years and don't really have an explanation other than old age. They recently put her on an antibiotic called Primor #100 which she gets half of one each day to see if there is an infection in her throat. She is not overweight and her eyesight is good with just a little cloudiness in one eye. Her hearing does seem to be diminishing though on visual inspection look fine. Any other ideas as to what it could be? It seems like it has to be very wearing on her but otherwise she is in good spirit.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Lisa replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jacustomer-w0sl8bki~

 

Panting is generally a sign of pain or discomfort in dogs. Because your dog is a geriatric aged girl, there are many things that could be going on: some sort of neoplasia (cancer), thyroid conditions, blood disorders and even liver or kidney disease can cause both the panting and the occasional coughing.

 

A quick x-ray to make sure there aren't any masses in the abdomen and some blood work to make sure everything is as it should be will help rule out or diagnose what your pup has going on.

 

I hope this helps.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The vets have ruled out liver, thyroid or kidney disease through blood tests. She does not appear to be in pain. Sometimes it seems like she does it for attention or when she gets excited.
Expert:  Lisa replied 4 years ago.
Does she ever do it when she's nervous?

Is she a anxious dog at all?

Does she pace at night or seem to have a hard time settling down at the end of the day?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
She's really a pretty low key dog. She will insist on having her space from our other dogs (we have 4 total)on occasion but mostly from our 2 yr. old female Bloodhound which I know can be an issue not only with bloodhounds but also when both dogs are female. We really watch out for the older dog in question as they both tend to have "face-offs" but in general they all get along. She doesn't have any problems settling down in the evenings. She sleeps on our bed and stays there until we get up. We do end up bringing her water to drink once or twice during the night but she doesn't drink an excessive amount. I've noticed the panting starts when she's ready to eat, wants to go outside and when my husband gets home. Otherwise she could be doing nothing at all and it starts. Not to sound unkind but she does it often enough to where it tends to get on my nerves. Something like when your child says, "Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. For no reason but to say it! :) About 7 years ago she did have heart worms and went through treatment which was quite traumatic. She is on preventative and gets regular check ups and has had no problems since. She can sometimes go hours without panting, mostly when sleeping. The vet said this antibiotic she's taking for two weeks should help with the cough but says it's not a "heart" cough. She said if it really seems to bother her they would check something with her larynx or esophagus?
Expert:  Lisa replied 4 years ago.

As with most things, in this forum it's hard to give you a 'for sure' answer about what could be going on with your dog and the cough. There are actually quite a few possibilities that range from the simple to the complex. Some of the biggest offenders are:

**Some sort of heart condition, such as congestive heart failure (also known as CHF):

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/a-matter-of-the-heart-congestive-heart-failure/page1.aspx


**Upper respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis: http://www.petplace.com/dogs/chronic-bronchitis-in-dogs/page1.aspx

 

**Allergic reactions to inhaled substances such as pollen or dust: http://www.sniksnak.com/doghealth/inhalants.html

 

**Kennel cough, which is most likely if your dog has been boarded or kenneled recently, or if your pup has been around a large number of dogs in a place such as a dog park. http://www.thepetcenter.com/gen/kenc.html

 

**Canine influenza is not well known currently but is slowly working its way into the mainstream with more and more dogs coming down with it. http://www.petplace.com/dogs/canine-influenza-virus-dog-flu/page1.aspx

 

**Having a dog that is older or that isn't covered by a heartworm preventative can also develop coughs: http://www.gopetsamerica.com/dog-health/chest-lung-conditions.aspx , http://www.canismajor.com/dog/cough.html

 

**Finally, it could be that your dog is having what is known as 'reverse sneezing', which is also known as collapsing trachea. http://www.missionmedvet.com/encyclopedia/tracheal_collapse.htm ,
http://www.beaglebuddies.com/misc/reverse.html

 

The easiest way to know for sure which of these problems is affecting your dog is to schedule an appointment with your regular vet. They'll do all the necessary work-ups (which may or may not include blood work and radiographs) to diagnose which problem your pup is having and the best course of treatment for you to follow.

 

Of course, it goes without saying that if your dog is having difficulty breathing, experiences lethargy or you notice a bluish tinge to the lips, gums or tongue, you need to seek medical attention for your dog at once as this is a sign that your dog is not getting enough oxygen for some reason and needs to be seen by a vet as soon as possible.

 

As for the panting...I'm starting to think that your vet may be on to something...it sounds like she does the panting most of the time during something good (like feeding time) or when she wants attention...as long as it's not bothering her (she's not having a hard time sleeping or anything), I think if it were my dog, I'd just keep an eye on it for now and write it off to one of those random 'old dog' issues.

Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 13407
Experience: AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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