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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28976
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Our 14yr old lab/Rottweiler/pitt/rescue dog (46lb male) has

Customer Question

Our 14yr old lab/Rottweiler/pitt/rescue dog (46lb male) has experienced a couple episodes of not being able to get enough air. The worst to date was last night, when seeing another dog on a walk. Excitement, anxiety, alpha posturing... probably all the above. Went into seizure type symptoms: foaming at mouth, airway blockage, loss of bowels, purple tongue, distended abdomen, stiffening of body. This episode went on for 20- 30 minutes. We thought for sure we were losing him as his breath became shorter and shorter, less and less. We relaxed into his transitioning. But Tory, the miraculous wonder dog, pulled through with flying colors yet again. We expect that the extended period of time without sufficient O2 will affect his normal functions. We are going to the vet today to request a chest x-ray and blood work - is that where we should start? It could be many things- laryngeal paralysis, congestive heart failure, etc. We noticed a major change in his breathing (sound and quality) after a 2 week round of steroids for a skin condition a couple years back. He's not sounded the same since. As of late, I even notice a tonal change in his bark. A growth perhaps? We know he would rather be home than in a hospital, as we all would, cherishing our oh-so-precious time together.
X-rays and what else would you advise, por favor?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
This behavior sounds syncopal ("fainting") suggestive of life-threatening arrhythmia (irregular heart rate) rather than seizure activity. Excitement is more likely to induce syncopy rather than seizure although any stimulus can be seizure-inducing. Yes, a senior/geriatric diagnostic panel of blood and urine tests, chest films, EKG, and assessment of blood pressure are indicated in such a patient. Laryngeal paralysis will result in a characteristic honking cough and terminal retch progressively worsening in time. There certainly can be paralysis present and it might be contributory in those episodes but I would be more concerned with Tory's heart at this time.
Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.