My dog is 12 years old and has been very healthy but recently started wheezing about 2-3 weeks ago. In the last day, he

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Customer: My dog is 12 years old and has been very healthy but recently started wheezing about 2-3 weeks ago. In the last day, he seems like there is liquid backing up into his throat. I don't think a veterinarian will see him because he is not up-to-date on his rabies vaccination which was due April 2017. I was going to have a blood test taken to see if he really needed to be revaccinated but he became aggressive towards vets so I took him to behavior modification training. What can I do?
JA: I'm sorry that 12 Years Old is feeling poorly. What is the matter with 12 Years Old?
Customer: He's having trouble breathing and it sounds like liquid is backing up into his throat.
JA: Where does 12 Years Old seem to hurt?
Customer: It just seems to be his breathing and perhaps liquid from his lungs? I'm not sure. He doesn't cry and he is not injured.
JA: OK. No obvious pain. The noise must be worrying. I'll connect you to the Veterinarian.
Customer: Yes, the noise is disconcerting.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about 12 Years Old?
Customer: He's still has a healthy appetite, and he has regular bowel movements. He wants to play at times but gets sidelined due to the breathing issue.
Answered by Dr. Thompson in 9 mins 4 years ago
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Dr. Thompson
Pet Specialist
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340 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Cat Veterinary, Cat Medicine, Cat Diseases, Small Animal Veterinary

Hi, this is Dr. Thompson. I’ve been a dog and cat veterinarian since 2000. Thanks for your question. I understand your 12-year-old dog has a breathing issue. I'll be back in a minute after I fully review your question...

Any changes in breathing patterns can be really concerning, but there are so many things that can cause these symptoms! Some are more serious than others, of course.

A few of the things I think of immediately with the symptoms you describe (noisy breathing/liquid in trachea, exercise intolerance, good appetite and normal BM's):

1. Asthma/allergies- this is something seen middle-aged to geriatric dogs. There is often a cough associated with the noisy breathing. The dogs frequently have had other allergy symptoms like itchy skin, ear inflammation, runny eyes. It tends to be seasonal.

2. Congestive heart failure- small breeds are more prone to this. Most dogs have a heart murmur (which you might not know about if he hasn't been seen by a vet recently). Rapid breathing (more than 15 breaths per minute) even at rest is a common symptom. Many dogs with heart failure also lose weight and muscle mass which is noticed on their backs and skulls first.

3. Lung infection- from bacteria or fungus, depending on where you live.

4. Parasites- heartworms can cause respiratory symptoms like this.

5. Cancer- it's less common, but possible.

I understand your concern about him being "overdue" for a rabies vaccine, but that shouldn't stop a vet from being willing to examine him. I see dogs all the time who are not "up to date" but who still need medical care! I would call around and explain your situation (dog who is anxious and may try to bite, not up to date on rabies vaccine, but needs diagnostics). If you were in my area, I could suggest several places who would definitely work with you. You might even try a mobile vet as some dogs do better being examined at home.

Do you have any other questions about your dog I can answer for you?

Customer
Not at the moment. Thank you.

I hope you are able to get the help you need. Please feel free to respond here if you have any follow-up questions.

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