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Dr. Marie
Dr. Marie, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 3938
Experience:  Compassionate licensed veterinarian with >20 years experience with cats, dogs and pocket pets
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My approx. 13 year old lab is breathing heavy and his heart ...

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My approx. 13 year old lab is breathing heavy and his heart is racing. He also had the shakes for a while but that seems to have stopped.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. K replied 9 years ago.
Has he been eating and drinking normally today?
Is he able to walk?
If you lift his lip to look at his gums above his teeth, are they a nice deep pink, or do they look pale or bluish/grayish?
If you touch his gums, do they feel wet and slimy or dry and sticky?

Dr. K
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
He ate ok this morning but doesn't seem to want to drink. Able to walk although as usual a little stiff. His gums are pink and feel wet and slimy. This is his second "episode" (that we know of) the first one was only for an hour, was about two weeks ago. It was after a walk outside so we really didn't think much of it.
Expert:  Dr. Marie replied 9 years ago.

Hi there...sorry about the delay. Dr. K. just asked if I could jump in here as she is having some computer problems this afternoon.

It's going to be hard to say for sure what is going on with your dog without actually seeing him, but I can give you a few ideas.

The heavy breathing and the shakes could be due to many things. It is possible that he has some pain somewhere. You mentioned that he was walking a littly stiffly. It may be possible that he has some back pain. It is quite common for dogs to have problems with the discs in between their vertebrae. Sometimes we can tell by standing the dog on all 4 and then feeling down each of the vertebrae to look for signs of pain. However, many labs will do all they can to hide pain so this may be hard for you to diagnose.

The next possibility is that there is a problem with his heart. There are many kinds of heart disease that can affect dogs. Sometimes, with heart disease we can see something called a "syncopal episode" and this can be similar to fainting or weakness. This will be hard for you to diagnose at home. Most dogs with heart problems will have the occasional cough as if you are seeing this, this makes heart disease more likely.

The next possibility is that there is some bleeding somewhere inside of his system. This is why Dr. K. was asking you about the colour of his gums. Often we can see that the gums are pale if there is bleeding, but sometimes this can be hard to determine especially if you are not used to looking at gum colour. Some dogs as they get older can have a tumor or multiple tumors on the spleen. Sometimes if one of these ruptures we can get sudden blood loss into the abdomen which can cause shaking, weakness, respiratory distress and a high heart rate.

It will be hard to say whether your dog should be seen on emergency or not, but if he were my dog I would likely have him seen today. If this is a spleen tumor and we catch things early enough he can have the tumor removed. Some of these tumors are benign and once removed the dogs do well.

Your vet will do a good thorough exam and will likely do some xrays and bloodwork to determine what the problem is.

I hope this information helps! If you have more concerns, just hit reply. Or, if my answer is sufficient, then please hit accept. Thanks!

Dr. Marie.

Dr. Marie, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 3938
Experience: Compassionate licensed veterinarian with >20 years experience with cats, dogs and pocket pets
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