Hello, I'm Dr. Deb. I'll do my best to help you today.
I'm sorry for this concern for Kramer.
Believe it or not, there are actually a number of possible reasons why a dog this age will pant (which aren't related to warmer weather)...and it's not that uncommon either.
1. He could have pain/discomfort somewhere in his body...hips, knees, spine. If he is not currently taking any steroid or nsaid medication and isn't vomiting, you might consider giving Aspirin at a dose of 10 mg/lb twice daily; it should always be given with food to avoid stomach
If this should be his problem, it's possible that he would need stronger anti-inflammatory drugs or even pain medication such as Tramadol which your vet could prescribe.
I'm a huge fan of joint supplements such as glucosamine/chondrotin and fish oil for patients with joint issues; however, it can often take several weeks for these products to be effective.
2. Senility or cognitive dysfunction. These dogs often become confused, can experience memory problems, can become very restless at night where they can't seem to settle down (Sundown Syndrome similar to human), they can become anxious/fearful; they often pant but can whine as well.
This condition tends to be progressive but the rate at which it does is different for every patient. And, some patients will only develop one or two symptoms at a time which can make it a challenge to diagnose at times.
If you think this might be a contributing factor to Kramer's behavior
, let me know and I can provide a fairly long list of treatment options which may help to slow progression of the condition.
3. Heart/lung disease such as Heartworm disease, congestive heart failure, bronchitis, lung cancer (I’m sorry to say) are all possible causes especially if there is exercise intolerance (the dogs are very tired after a short amount of exercise), weight loss, or coughing.
4. Older dogs don't oxygenate well since their lungs can become fibrotic as they age. This means that they don't exchange oxygen efficiently or effectively so these dogs often pant more as part of the aging process.
5. Dogs with Cushing's Disease will also pant. Blood work might be suggestive of this problem but usually additional testing is needed to diagnose it.
I hope this helps to provide the various conditions which can cause an older dog to behave this way. Deb