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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20628
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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He's a 10 year old lab who we been noticing for the last

Customer Question

He's a 10 year old lab who we been noticing for the last week or so has been gagging like he has a "fur ball" but nothing comes up. He breathing also seems a little labored Any ides?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Coughing can be worrying. The Veterinarian will know what you should do. What is the dog's name?
Customer: His name is Oreo
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Oreo?
Customer: He has been eating normally and taking treats normally. I recently started giving him a medicine (3 days ago) called Extend to help with his hips and arthritis.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

Has he had any actual vomiting?

Are you mixing the Extend into his food or just putting it on top?

Any change to his voice, snoring, or how much he drinks?

Are his gums pink or white/pale? Moist or sticky?

Could he have eaten anything harmful (ie bones, toys, plants, chemicals, etc)?

Can you take a breathing rate for me (just count his breaths for 10 seconds + multiply by 6)?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hi, I mix the Extend in with his food. No change with his voice, maybe drinking a little more. His gums are pink and moist.
The only thing he may have drank was we have an in-ground pool and sometimes we can't get all the water to drain off the cover and Oreo and his brother and sister walk through it and drink it. His breathing rate was 156.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 months ago.

Hello again,

Now that is quite an elevated breathing rate, does he seem stressed just now? Or is he resting?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
He's resting now and his breathing has slowed down quite a bit.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 months ago.

Hello again,

Now we do need to tread with care if he has been breathing that heavily. They are of course allowed to pant, but at rest he should be close to 30bpm. So, if he is remaining quite high at rest, we'd be a bit concerned about that. Even with pink gums (which tells us that he is getting enough oxygen), to see that sometimes raises concerns that they are having to breathe that hard to keep themselves at a normal level. And with that, we'd have to be wary of a possible walking pneumonia, bronchitis, or lung changes from age related fibrosis, fluid build up from heart issues, or even cancer. As well, the gagging could be related to that if we have an infection (as they can ascend or even start in the upper airway), a mechanical or bacterial tracheitis or inflammation.

Therefore, with all of this in mind, we do need to monitor closely and if Oreo was my patient I'd want to have him checked once his vet is open. Ideally, we want his lungs and airway listened to +/- xrayed. That way we can see what is ongoing in the lungs (and heart) to help us pinpoint the root cause here. Any delay and we can at least try to reduce the suspect throat inflammation/gagging situation. For that, we can try a liquid antacid (ie Milk of Magnesia -0.5tsp every 8 hours). This will reduce any nausea and at the same time coat the throat. As well or otherwise, we can also use a mild cough suppressant like glycerin/honey cough syrup (with no drugs in it) or even plain honey. Both can be very soothing to the irritated and tickly throat. Typically we will give a 1-2 milliliter (~1/4-1/2 teaspoon) as needed. As well keep him on a soft canned food diet or a light/easily digestible one like cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, or meat baby food (garlic/onion free) just to avoid any irritation at the level of the throat.

Though again once his vet can see him, we'd want this checked and causes narrowed down. Depending on their findings, we may just need a course of anti-inflammatories +/- antibiotics. But if we do have any lung or airway changes, then we may need further treatment depending on which is specifically present and its best to know what we are facing sooner rather then later so we can help him effectively here.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you for your help. Our vet opens in 1/2 hr and I will be calling her to come see Oreo. We are fortunate that our Vet comes to the house which gets them less upset. Thanks again!!
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 months ago.

You are very welcome, my dear.

Perfect! I do think that is best so we can just head off any issue for Oreo here. :)

All the best,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond.

**Please rate me by clicking on the **stars** at the top of the page as this is the only way the site credits me for helping you!: )