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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 28548
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have a miniature Italian greyhound that about 16 years old

Customer Question

I have a miniature Italian greyhound that about 16 years old and I've noticed the past few days she's had difficulty breathing at times. But would become normal . However tonight when I come home I noticed that she was breathing hard again with her mouth closed.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is the matter with the dog?
Customer: I've known that bried to have allergy and asthma issues so I'm concerned. She's older so I expect for her to have some issues eventually but just worried. I plan on taking her to the vet tomorrow just didn't know of anything i could do to make her comfortable at the time
JA: Where does the dog seem to hurt?
Customer: She doesn't seem hurt I can pick her up and she's quite . I figured if she was in pain she would make sounds or cry but she doesn't . It sounds as if her lungs might be tight
JA: OK. No obvious pain. The noise must be worrying. I'll connect you to the Veterinarian. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about the dog?
Customer: Not that I can think of
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

You have me quite concerned. I need you to check her vital signs for me, please...

1) Check her gum and tongue color. They should be nicely pink - not whitish (anemia) or bluish/greyish (cyanosis/hypoxia/lack of oxygen to her tissues).

2) Check her respiratory rate. She should be taking less than 30 breaths/minute while asleep or at rest.

3) Take her rectal temperature. Any body thermometer will do when placed 1.5" into her rectum for 1 minute. Normal is 100.5-102.5F. This is a two person job!

Please let me know what you find.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Her gums are slightly pinkish however her tongue is greyish blue. He breathing is about about 50 breaths a minute and temp is at 103.2
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Her ribs show on both sides, but her right side seems more expanded
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

Thank you. I don't want you to wait until tomorrow to have her seen by her vet. She needs the attention of an on-call vet at your earliest convenience. She's cyanotic and tachypneic (increased respiratory rate) and this combination usually indicates life-threatening cardiac insufficiency and pulmonary compromise. Her exertion in an attempt to oxygenate herself is causing hyperthermia although I can't rule out other causes of fever from here - pneumonia and neoplasia, e.g.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
What should I expect when I take her to a emergency clinic? Her breathing has slowed down, she's been resting in my lap. They are probably gonna run every kind of test under the sun
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

A thorough physical exam will dictate what they need to do but you have a say in this too. You'll be presented a plan of action and you can say yea or nay to portions of the plan. Always ask for a written estimate before anything is done.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Is there any specific tests that I should ask for?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

Any testing will be recommended by the attending vet. X-rays of her heart and lungs are essential. Baseline diagnostics (complete blood count, serum biochemistries) are important as well.