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 Dr. B. Your Own Question
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21437
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. B. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have an 11 year old miniature dachshund with lethargy,

Customer Question

I have an 11 year old miniature dachshund with lethargy, rapid breathing ( abdominal) and rapid heart rate. No sign of bloat. Cold nose. Vomiting small amounts of what looks like spit.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the dachshund?
Customer: She has had a abdominal torsion before and sugary corrected but she is not act the same this time. Also was diagnosed with heart worms 6 years ago and it was decided it was not a good idea to treat.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 months ago.

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

How long has she been showing signs?

Can she keep any food or water down?

Any coughing?

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

If you press on her belly, any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?

Could she have eaten anything harmful (ie bones, toys, plants, chemicals, human meds, etc)?

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

If you feel her heart rate is >160 beats per minute, can you also take a heart rate for me (same way as breathing rate but counting the beats you can feel when you have your hand on her chest)? Does the beat feel regular or erratic?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Symptoms started about 1am est. I heard her under my bed trying to vomit. Nothing is coming out except for clear spit. She will not eat or drink. Turns away when offered. Coughing with gagging. Very noisy breathing sounds like an air pump. Imagine old bicycle pump or BP cuff. Gums and tongue pale and sticky. No pain, discomfort or bloating in stomach area. No access to anything she could have eaten. Respiration 120 but vary. Very hard to get heart rate due to labored breathing, I can feel it but can't count it.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 months ago.

Oh dear,

No worries if you cannot get the heart rate, but to hear her gums are pale with all of this on top of that 4x elevated breathing rate is a real worry here.

Now while she shouldn't be at risk of torsion if she has had a surgical pexy, we do still have some concern about a compromised gut (possibly from a broken down pexy but possible blockage or trauma causing internal bleeding or compromise to the gut circulation would also fit with these signs). That said, with her heartworm history, I cannot exclude a emboli lodged in a major vessel or her lungs. Of course, if she has severe heartworm disease they can block heart valves and cause all of what we are seeing. And given there has been more of a cough/gag her along with the other signs those heart complications are top suspects here.

In any case, with that gum color telling us that her circulation is compromised and she isn't getting enough oxygen (even with how much quicker she is breathing), this is unfortunately an emergency situation. We need her on oxygen at the very least and would want the local vet to assess her heart and her gut. If we have heart failure or an emboli from the heartworm issues there are medications that can try to manage it even if the parasite isn't treated for. And if we can address that +/- any GI issue afoot we'd hope to get her stable here and avoid her collapsing on you.

In this situation, just in case you do wish to see an ER vet, you can check @ or

Kind regards,

Dr. B.


I aim to provide best care for you just as I do for my own clients & their pets. If you have any other questions, please ask – I’m happy to help but please rate me with the **STARS** (or leave a written rating of 1-5; 5 being great) as this is the only way I am credited for my work by the site & this allows me to continue to help here. This is included in your question fee. Once you rate, your question will not close & you can still ask follow-up questions. Thank you. : )**