How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Dave Your Own Question
Dr. Dave
Dr. Dave , Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4124
Experience:  21 years small animal general and emergency practice
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Dr. Dave is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have an 11 year old male Rat Terrier. About 6 months ago

This answer was rated:

I have an 11 year old male Rat Terrier. About 6 months ago he developed some soft lumps on both sides of his flanks that do not cause him pain. I was told by a friend that those are common with older dogs and not to be concerned. Is that true?
Also in the past few weeks he has just laid down in the middle of our walk up the hill and is still. This has happened 4 or 5 times. When this happens he typically is breathing through his nose and when he breathes by mouth or pants he hacks and sometimes tries to vomit- but doesnt. When he is back in the house he is soon fine and breathes normally. Do you think he is developing athesma or is this a problem with his throat or stomach?

Hello, and thanks for writing in.

Overall, unfortunately, I can't tell you specifically what is causing Kobe's issues that you are describing (without actually examining him), but I will try to speculate a bit, knowing what commonly causes problems like this in dogs that are Kobe's age.


In general, lumps fall into four main categories:

--tumor (benign or malignant),

--cyst (fluid-filled structure),

--abscess (infection-filled structure),

--granuloma (firm area of inflammation).


The only way to find out is to have a veterinarian do a needle aspirate of the lumps and look at the sample under a microscope to try and get a better idea of what the lumps are. The other (better) way is to biopsy the lumps and send it to a pathologist where they can tell exactly what is going on.

It's possible that the lumps are fatty deposits that are common in older dogs in this area of their body.


The breathing issues and stopping while walking can go along with an underlying heart or respiratory issue (i.e. heart murmur, fluid in the lungs or chest, enlarged heart, tumor, bronchitis, heartworm disease, pneumonia). With these symptoms, I would highly recommend an exam, and possibly tests, such as a chest X-ray, heartworm test, and white blood cell count, in order to determine the best course of action to help Kobe.


I hope this helps.

Dr. Dave

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can heartworms be seen in his feces? Also we are in Salt Lake City and the air quality is horrible in January? It is bothering a lot of people here so maybe older dogs too.


Thanks for your reply.

Heartworms live in the heart and blood vessels that go from the heart to the lungs, they are not in the feces.

Poor air quality/pollutants can certainly affect a dog's lungs and breathing.


Dr. Dave

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

is it a good idea to periodically treat a dog for heart worms with over the counter meds as a precaution? Are heart worms common in the Salt Lake City area of Utah?

There are no over the counter meds for heartworms. Heartworm preventative is by prescription only from a veterinarian. As far as actually treating heartworms - it's a big deal. A dog needs to be hospitalized for a couple days to be treated for heartworms, and it's quite expensive. I'm not from Salt Lake City or Utah, but I don't believe they are prevalent there.


Dr. Dave

Dr. Dave, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4124
Experience: 21 years small animal general and emergency practice
Dr. Dave and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
< Previous | Next >
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
  • Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge! Cathie M Pompano Beach, FL

Meet The Experts:

  • Dr. Gary

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • Joan's Avatar


    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    Vet Tech for over 35+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • Candy's Avatar


    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • Theresa's Avatar


    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • 's Avatar

    Satisfied Customers:

  • Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew


    Satisfied Customers:

    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery