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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 24462
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Toy poodle suddenly has noisy wheezy breathing. Vet examines

Customer Question

Toy poodle suddenly has noisy wheezy breathing. Vet examines him and no lung or heart problems so we are giving antibiotic. He acts fine, eats fine, no fever however breathing sounds very bad. Vet said he may have infected tooth but I don't think so as he shows no pain upon eating or chewing bones and has no nasal discharge. He sounds like very congested however after 3 days on clavamox he is still noisy breathing. What should I try next?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the toy poodle's name?
Customer: Sam
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Sam?
Customer: He is 12, healthy and had his teeth cleaned in June
JA: I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Will u correspond with me here or by email?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 8 months ago.

Sudden noisy breathing in a 12 year old begs for X-rays of Sam's heart and lungs and if nothing untoward is seen, light sedation and watching how Sam's arytenoid cartilages of his larynx are moving. X-rays can see disorders that auscultating (listening to) his chest can't identify. A collapsing windpipe is a good example of such a disorder. If visualizing his arytenoid cartilages reveals that one or both aren't moving properly, laryngeal paralysis is diagnosed - an unusual finding in a toy poodle but a consideration when such breathing exists. Directly visualizing his oropharynx (back of his throat) also gives me the opportunity to look for inflammatory polyps and tumors.

The type of breathing sound needs to be clarified. The location of an anatomic lesion causing dyspnea (difficult breathing) may be surmised from the sound of breathing: upper-airway obstructions produce audible turbulence of air on inspiration, and the associated raspy or loud whistling noise is heard to occur close to the mouth (nasal, tracheal, pharyngeal, laryngeal disorders) or in the nasal passages upon inspiration. Conversely, lower-airway disorders and metabolic causes for dyspnea typically cause a mixed inspiratory-expiratory dyspnea and no such noise. Finally, if Sam's vet is concerned about a tooth root abscess that has fistulated into Sam's nasal cavity, that can be confirmed with dental X-rays - yet more imaging - or scoping Sam's nasopharynx.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish. Yes, please stay in this conversation. Please don't upon up a new question when you respond.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I think he has the first type of noise u mention although it is very rumbling on and wheezy and seems a bit on both inspiration and exhale. He makes no noise when resting mostly when he is walking around sniffing as most dogs do. I did notice when it first started a few days ago it was cold outside and when he would come indoors from the cold it would be very bad for awhile. Do you think it is a lesion/tumor? Is XRay of head and chest the best thing? I hate to have to go to MRI because so expensive.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information. When noise is heard on both inspiration and expiration, lower-airway disorders and metabolic causes for dyspnea should be considered; hence, the need for X-rays of Sam's chest. It's not clear to me how the cold is related. A neoplasm - tumor or polyp is a more important differential diagnosis in our older pets.

Direct visualization of Sam's oropharynx (and nasopharynx by scoping, if necessary) plus X-rays of his lower and upper respiratory tracts are indicated. I don't see the need for either MRI or CT. It frustrates me that I can't hear Sam which would be invaluable! Please continue our conversation if you wish.