How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Rebecca Your Own Question
Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15137
Experience:  More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Rebecca is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My eight year old chihuahua is breathing with her accessory

Customer Question

My eight year old chihuahua is breathing with her accessory muscles. She has a heart murmur. She is eating and is not lethargic .she also has a cough. What do u think is wrong? I'm a nurse of 32 years. Her lungs are clear!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.


I am sorry to hear you are worried about Tia Maria. My name is Rebecca. I am a veterinarian and will do my best to help.

If you check her gums, are they pink or do they look pale?

Does she breathe with her mouth open, or closed? Can you feel her pulses, and judge her pulse quality?

How bad of a murmur? If it is just a grade 1 or 2, I am not worried. If this is a grade 4 or higher, her breathing effort and coughing may be heart disease. I would be worried about congestive failure or pleural effusion (fluid in the chest outside the lungs).

If her gums are not a normal bright pink, I am very worried about her and if she were mine I would be getting a chest Xray as soon as possible. If she has to pant or breathe with her mouth open, the same thing is true; she needs a chest Xray.

She could have bronchitis or pneumonia if it is not her heart. She really should get a chest Xray as soon as you can get it done. Let me know what else I can help with or answer.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Her gums are pink
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She breathes with her mouth closed.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.

That is good she can breathe with her mouth closed, and that her gums are pink. I wish I could feel her pulses, check for pulse deficits ( heart beats without a pulse), and listen to her with a stethoscope.

Can you take her temperature with a thermometer?

Is she eating and drinking normally?

I still recommend a chest xray for any dog that is using her accessory muscles to breathe, especially a dog with a heart murmur. there could be a connection between her breathing and her having a murmur. Has the murmur been graded on a scale of 1 to 6?

Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.

How is Tia Maria doing today?

Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.
Hi Kathy,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Tia Maria. How is everything going?