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Aloha, I have a 12 yo ShihTzu, blind years but happily

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Aloha, I have a 12 yo...
Aloha,
I have a 12 yo ShihTzu, blind for 2 years but happily adjusted.He has been wheezing, coughing off and on 1 year but his vet says old age.
this am he woke up with labored breathing, no coughing, wobbly, lethargic and not eating.He does not seem to be in any pain. I don't want to take him to vet to have put to sleep if he can go in comfort of his home. Am I making the right call?
Submitted: 3 years ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Answered in 21 minutes by:
5/26/2015
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 3 years ago
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 34,352
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
Perhaps...with a qualifier. "Old age" isn't a disease. A coughing and wheezing 12 year old Shih Tzu is likely to suffer from either cardiovascular disease - leaky valves, most commonly - or a sterile bronchitis. His labored breathing may indicate congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or perhaps neoplasia (cancer) in his chest.
Therein lies the rub. These dogs can end up drowning in their own lung fluid and so if you do lose him, it won't necessarily be in comfort. I see two reasonable options at this time. You can have him auscultated (listened to) and have X-rays taken of his chest to better understand what's going on in there or you can have a housecall vet come to euthanize him in a comfortable setting.
Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
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Dr. Michael Salkin
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