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Panting alone can indicate a lot of different things including to cool down, stress, in pain, or afraid. There can also be medical causes such as neurological problems, respiratory disorders, and Heart problems such as heartworm, anemia, and fever.
Since she is an elderly dog, this could due to pain possibly arthritis, ore even a heart issue. I'd get her into your vet and have a senior checkup done. You could take her temperature rectally to check for fever keeping in mind a dog's normal temperature is 102.5F. Without testing or a physical exam, it really would be hard to give an exact cause for the panting though.
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