Jump to content
BC Boards

12 1/2 year old heavy breathing with occasional cough


Aliykeys
 Share

Recommended Posts

Anyone’s advice would be greatly appreciated...Our 12 year old collie for the last few months has been breathing heavier than normal. It started with a hacking cough. Took him to the vet who thought it maybe a bacterial infection so was treated with antibiotics & lung worm medication for a week. It did seem to improve but has never really got better. He does still cough occasionally but it’s the heavy breathing I am concerned about. Other than this he is a well happy boy, eating, drinking, walking normally...(although a bit slower now as he is an older dog :) ) Any suggestions would really help. Thanks again. Ps. He is on metacam for his joint pain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you've ruled out infection, coughing and labored breathing can be a symptom of congestive heart failure as the dog tries to clear accumulated fluid from the lungs.  This is not as dire as it sounds.  It can be treated with diuretics as in humans, and many dogs live a long life with treatment.  Just ask your vet to consider CHF as a possible cause.  Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the Boards, and sorry your older guy's having some difficulties.

My first question is what tests the vet did to determine there were lungworms and/or bacterial infection present. Myself, I always want confirmation of things before treating for things the dog may or may not have, and overuse of antibiotics, especially when there's no bacterial infection to treat, is the primary reason for the development of so many antibiotic resistant bacteria.

You don't mention where you live, but has the dog been tested for heartworm? Both cough and labored breathing can be symptoms of heartworm infestation.

Depending on what diagnostics the vet did -- or didn't do -- I might consider a second opinion with another vet.

Hoping things get better for him.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know your location. If the dog were here I would want a Valley Fever test but you may not be where that is found. Congestive heart failure could be another cause of it. Fluid collecting in the chest cavity could also be a cause, or a problem with one of his lungs or both. If it were my dog I would go back to the vet and consult once again. Sending best wishes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first three things that come to mind are roundworm; heartworm and congestive heart failure, but of course there are a number of things that will cause coughing and labored breathing, so I would move down the line with my vet in a process of elimination.

I'd do a heartworm test and a fecal right off the bat, as these are basic tests and worthwhile as routine measures. The roundworm cycle includes travel through the lungs after hatching, and a heavy infestation can cause coughing and labored breathing.  My understanding is that lungworm infection isn't always detected in a stool sample, so detection is often more involved. Lungworm in dogs is can be transmitted by ingesting snails or slugs or animals that have eaten them.

I would definitely ask my vet about congestive heart failure, like Michael Parkey said. That was actually my first thought as well.

Good luck and best wishes to your dog.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all so much for your replies.. The vet didn’t initially do any tests to diagnose a bacterial infection or lung worm. She decided to try the antibiotics/lung worm treatment as a process of elimination. When this didn’t seem to be making any difference I did take him back and mentioned my concerns regarding CHF, as he has got some swelling to his left side (read that this could be a build up of fluids). She listened to his heart and monitored his breathing and was not concerned that this was heart related as she said that his heart was functioning well and could hear nothing that would indicate he is having trouble. Her next suggestion would be to either treat him with more antibiotics or book him in for an x-ray to have a more detailed look. I really am unsure what to do next...He is not insured and the x-ray would be £600. Are there other tests the vet could do other than an x-ray? What would an x-ray achieve/diagnose? Thanks again Alison 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

None of my dogs have ever had lungworm, but I do find slugs on my sidewalk sometimes, which prompts me to be concerned enough to fling them outside the fence, just in case.

Aliykeys:

It might be beneficial to at least seek a second opinion. It sometimes helps to get a second perspective. I actually have separate veterinarians for two of my dogs. An added bonus to this is that a veterinarian with which you have an established relationship is more likely to take you in for emergencies. I like to cover my bases! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi all, just wanted to update you on Marley’s X-Ray results. I did seek a second opinion and very glad I did. Second vet suspected a respiratory problem and found signs of Laryngeal Paralysis. As Marley seems very well and it doesn’t seem to be causing him significant distress she advised to continue with the Metacam for the inflammation & just monitor him with regular checks etc. I know this is not curable and will progress over time. The vet was not keen on surgery (tie-back procedure) at present due to Marley’s age (13) and the potential risks/communications (phenomena) after surgery. Any experiences or advice regarding this diagnosis would be welcomed. Just not keen on putting my old boy through surgery unless it is extremely necessary. Thank you, Alison 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm happy you got a second opinion and have gotten a dx that appears you believe to be more accurate.

3 hours ago, Aliykeys said:

...risks/communications (phenomena)...

Is this an auto-correction that should read risks/complications (pneumonia)? If not, I'm not following the vet's reasoning here.

This is also something I don't know a lot about so did some internet searching. Some of the takeaways I noticed were that hyperthyroid can be an underlying cause (wondering if your dog's been tested for it and if not if testing and treating for it now if found would be useful), that it's often followed by further neurological degeneration, and that aspiration pneumonia is a possibility to be aware of. If this were my dog I'd probably be calling the vet back to ask about these things if they hadn't already been addressed.

Wishing you the best in managing this in your old guy.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi GentleLake...Yes ‘communication’ was a typo..Ment to be ‘complications’ (phenomena)...my mistake. The vet is due to call me back next week with results of a biopsy on a lump which was done at the same time as the scan. So will ask the thyroid question then. 

I have also been doing some research on this disease and some causes could be due to trauma in the past. Back in April Marley swallowed a bone (he has a raw diet) without chewing it enough (greedy boy) and had to have an endoscopy to remove the bone. We nearly lost him! Thinking that maybe this was the cause as it is only on the left side?? I have already been looking at suitable harnesses since reading that this would help. Any recommendations for the best ones?

Thank you for the advice x

Ps. As you can see from the photo attached he is very settled and well. Not experiencing any distress.

B25C4680-A152-44CE-BF07-B8CF19CF8BE4.jpeg

0D1165C3-A003-4513-90F1-64DAAF5BD0A4.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have any recommendations about harnesses, except there was a website I read once that said to avoid any where the chest strap went straight across and was too high, near the neck. Unfortunately, despite having looked for it several times, I haven't been able to find it again. A number of the newer harnesses have more of a V configuration for the chest plate rather than a strap across, so I'd think one of that type might be better.

I also remember when I was looking up Laryngeal Paralysis that a dog's being overweight could be a factor and that any overweight dog who had it should loose weight. I can't tell from Marley's pictures if he's just got a super fluffy coat or if he's overweight, but if the latter it would probably be a good idea for him to loose some.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our rescue named Puppy was diagnosed with a collapsed larynx when he was 14.  We thought long and hard about the surgery, and decided against it.  He was in good health otherwise, but his age and the possible side effects of the surgery were worrying, and he had a history of very bad reactions to anesthesia.  We managed the problem by avoiding strenuous exercise, keeping him out of the heat, and making sure his food was the right consistency (not too hard or too soft).  He had good quality of life for two more years until unrelated and much more serious problems developed.

It was the right decision for Puppy, but it was very hard to make.  I'm sorry you are faced with the choice, and hope for best outcome possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...