Dog Disease - Breathing Disorders in Dogs

Problem related to breathing may occur anywhere along the respiratory tract. Disorders which affect the upper part of the respiratory tract may include the presence of foreign bodies in the throat or nostrils and infections like kennel cough. Conditions affecting the lower respiratory tract include pneumonia, bronchitis, and fluid accumulation in the chest cavity. 

Dog’s usual breathing pattern is affected by all respiratory diseases. The first symptom of a respiratory problem is peculiar breathing. Normally a dog takes about 10 to 30 breaths in a minute. This breathing rate varies depending upon the size of the dog, being slow in large individuals and fast in small ones. It is important for you to become habituated to the breathing pattern of your dog, including the signs that the dog makes as it breathes in and out. This knowledge is necessary as it will make it easier for you to detect any changes from the normal pattern. 

Rapid Breathing
Just like human beings, the breathing becomes faster on canines after exercise. Dogs may also puff  in hot weather and when they are hyperactive or worried. Rapid breathing may also occur in hazardous situations like shock, poisoning or heatstroke. You must contact your veterinarian immediately if the breathing rate of your dog increases for no obvious reason. 

Shallow Breathing
Shallow breathing means that there is interference in the normal expansion and contraction of the chest. A dog with shallow breathing compensates by rapid breathing. Shallow breathing may be caused because of pain from bruising or damage to the ribs. You must contact your vet straightaway if your dog suffers from shallow breathing, especially if your dog has suffered an injury. 

Labored Breathing
Difficulty breathing is something of a concern and possible causes include lung disease, heart failure, build up of fluid in the chest, tumors and traumas. You must immediately contact your vet.
It is important for you not to mistake normal panting for labored breathing. Hot, nervous, excited or exhausted dogs have shallow, rapid, open-mouthed breathing which is not a medical problem. Panting is induced as a result of vigorous exercise. You must contact your vet in case of sudden panting of your dog. However, it is important to note that a dog may pant due to pain or drugs. The color of the tongue of your dog can easily help you distinguish whether the panting of your dog is healthy or dangerous. Presence of plenty of oxygen in the blood will cause the tongue to be pink colored. 

Noisy Breathing: Wheezing and Coughing
Changes in the breathing sounds of your dog are also of immense importance. The possible causes of this disorder include paralysis of the vocal folds and obstruction in the upper respiratory tract. In case of noisy breathing, you must immediately contact your veterinarian.

Wheezing which is quite common in people is hazardous in canines. This is because wheezing would indicate a problem affecting the lungs, or inflammation of the bronchi caused by allergy, irritation, or infection. It is important for a wheezing dog to get veterinary attention within 24 hours. 

A dog which is coughing continuously must be taken to a vet immediately as during coughing trachea contracts and forces air out at high speed to dislodge foreign matter from the airways. 

Diagnostic Methods
Various methods that your vet may use to find out the cause of your dog’s breathing problem include:
1        Physical Examination
2        Imaging Techniques
3        Bacterial Culture
4        Stool Analysis
5        Bronchoscopy
6        Tracheal Wash
7        Allergy Test

Steps to take in case your dog is choking
It is important to keep in mind that you do not give cough medicine to your dog if he is choking as this prevents expulsion of any stuck up material which creates further problems. 

The first step is to differentiate between choking and gagging. Choking needs immediate treatment as it is an emergency situation. 

In case the dog becomes unconscious, try to resuscitate him by pressing sharply with the heels of both hands below the back ribs of the dog. This should expel any blockage. Thereafter you can remove any obstruction or material from his mouth with your fingers. If necessary, you may also have to provide artificial respiration and even cardiopulmonary resuscitation.   

In case your dog is conscious, you must put your arms around the belly of the dog, and make a fist. After this squeeze tightly up and down behind the rib cage. In case of a small dog, place your hands on both sides of the belly and press the body tightly upwards and forwards. 

Diseases Related to Breathing Disorders
Other disorders and diseases which may be associated with this dog disease include:
·      Allergic Rhinitis
·      Breathing Disorders
·      Brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome
·      Chest and Lung Conditions
·      Kartagener syndrome
·      Pneumothorax
·      Pulmonary adenomatosis
·      Veterinary Drugs