Breathing Difficulties in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

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Breathing difficulties are capable of affecting all dogs, regardless of age, sex or breed. They can involve a range of symptoms depending on the underlying cause of the condition.

If you see that your dog has breathing problems, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. However, remember that increased levels of panting after vigorous exercise may just return to normal with some time and rest.

If you see any signs that your dog might be having trouble breathing normally, then you should consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Here’s what you need to know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for breathing difficulties in dogs.

Symptoms of Breathing Difficulties in Dogs

Breathing difficulties in dogs can lead to a number of symptoms depending on both the underlying cause of the problem and the breed of dog.

Some of the more general symptoms include:

  • Labored breathing (known as dyspnea)
  • Very rapid breathing (called tachypnea)
  • Breathe through your open mouth
  • Dilated nostrils
  • Breathe loudly
  • Very shallow breathing

Causes of Breathing Difficulties in Dogs

young man veterinarian examining cute little dog using stethoscope, isolated on white background.  Inside

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Breathing difficulties in dogs can result from a number of underlying issues.

In dyspnea, causes can include infection, tumors, lung disease, and heartworm.

If a dog has tachypnea, the cause may be low red blood cells, lower than normal blood oxygen levels, and blood clots.

Finally, if a dog is panting excessively, several causes can include fever, obesity, high blood pressure, and anxiety.

Veterinary treatments

If you notice that your dog is prone to breathing difficulties, talk to a veterinarian immediately. The condition is considered an emergency.

The veterinarian will ask about the dog’s medical history as well as any recent circumstances or incidents that may have caused the illness. Additionally, they will closely examine the dog’s chest and breath, as well as its gums to see if any color changes could indicate the root cause of the problem.

Veterinarians may also use chest X-rays, an electrocardiogram (ECG), and detailed blood tests when evaluating the dog and making a diagnosis.

As for treatment, the precise course will depend on the underlying cause. In some cases, dogs may need a period of hospitalization to stabilize their condition.

If your veterinarian prescribes medication for your dog to help him breathe, it is essential that you stick to the recommended dosage and frequency instructions and complete the full course of treatment.

Has your dog started to suffer from breathing difficulties? Has your vet figured out the cause of the problems? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

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