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My dog is wheezing and exhaling roughly every 20 minutes.

Customer Question
My dog is wheezing and exhaling roughly every 20 minutes.
Submitted: 1 year ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Answered in 59 minutes by:
10/15/2016
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. B., Veterinarian replied 1 year ago
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 22,032
Experience: Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long has she had these signs?

Are her gums pink or pale/white?

Any nasal discharge or congestion?
Can you take a breathing rate for me (just count your dog’s breaths for 10 seconds + multiply that by 6)?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
She started to show these signs a few days ago. She would so it every now and then, but it was more rare. But now its every twenty minutes. She doesn't seem to be too bothered by it. She has those wheezing and exhales but after that she seems to carry on fine. Her teeth seem normal pink. She has 12 breathing rating.
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. B., Veterinarian replied 1 year ago

Thank you,

Now if her breathing rate is 12 breaths per minute, that is actually quite low. Though if you meant its 12 in those 10 seconds (so 72bpm), then that is quite high. So, if it is the former, then we'd not be overly worried here, but if it is the higher then we'd be concerned that she is having to breathe this fast to get enough oxygen and that would be a sign that we need her seen urgently here.

Otherwise, in regard to her signs, if we have chronic wheezing then we do need to tread with care. It can be an allergy issue but also see with bacterial or viral lower airway infections, asthma, bronchitis, and sometimes related to parasitic infections or heart issues. Still if you do suspect an allergy, then you can try supportive care until her vet can see her. To do so, you could try an OTC antihistamine like Benadryl (Diphenhydramine). A low dose (ie. 0.5-2mg per pound of her body weight twice daily) can just be enough to resolve mild signs due to allergies. We do like to keep the dose low, as they can have drowsiness with this medication (just like people). And of course, this medication shouldn't be used if she has any pre-existing conditions or are on any other medication without speaking to your vet.

Furthermore, we could also try to reduce lung congestion here by steam treating her. To do so, you can take her in the bathroom while you run a hot shower. The steam will help loosen and clear some of the snot congesting her. You can also use a baby nebulizer, but often they don’t like things held up to their faces. Therefore, we can often make little ‘steam tents’ with her in a dog crate, a humidifier, and a light bed sheet over both. This can also be done in a small room.

Overall, I am quite concerned with the fact she has been wheezing for a while and it is now progressing. Allergies don't usually do that. Therefore, we need to tread with care her. If her breathing rate is the higher one, we'd want her seen now, but otherwise we can try the above to keep her comfortable until her vet listen to her chest and heart to make sure there is nothing amiss we need to address for her.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

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