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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 1264
Experience:  13 years experience in small animal medicine/surgery
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My four old King Charles Spaniel breath is perfectly normal

Customer Question

My four old King Charles Spaniel breath is perfectly normal when running in fact when he is awake, but as soon as he falls asleep his breathing becomes very very rapid? His health checks are all good in fact he is in very good health all round. please can you help
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Bruce :

Hello, this is Dr. Bruce and I would like to help you with your dog.

Dr. Bruce :

King Charles spaniels are very prone to heart problems. I would definitely recommend having your vet evaluate the heart by listening for any murmurs or abnormal sounds. I would also encourage you to have a chest x-ray or even an echocardiogram (ultrasound) of the heart to make sure that there are no issues with the heart.

Dr. Bruce :

Having said that, if he is acting perfectly healthy at all other times, and is able to run and play for normal periods of time without getting tired, then it is very unlikely that there is any problem with his heart. Also, if he doesn't cough or breath heavily when awake, then again, it is not likely a heart issue.

Dr. Bruce :

If this problem is new, then it is possible that there is some sort of pulmonary issue (lungs) such as bronchitis or asthma that is exacerbated by being in a prone (laying) position.

Dr. Bruce :

Again, a chest x-ray would be a good tool to evaluate the lungs.

Dr. Bruce :

You don't mention if the rapid breathing continues throughout the entire time that he is asleep, or if it just happens when he first falls asleep, but if he settles in to a normal breathing pattern after a few minutes, then this would lessen the likelihood of a major issue.

Dr. Bruce :

I hope this helps. If you would like to continue this chat, please reply to this post and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

JACUSTOMER-u9gknt1b- :

Hi, he doesn't have a heart problem!! vet checked him last month & all well & good. He has breathed like this since he was a puppy and it happens for the entire 7 hours sleep whilst he's asleep, I know because he sleeps next to me in my bed and it's so loud it regularly wakes me up! I am a professional Dog Groomer with over 1,000.00 clients and non of their dogs has presented this strange breathing? HELP!!

JACUSTOMER-u9gknt1b- :

HE HAD A THOROUGH HEALTH CHECK BY MY VET LAST MONTH, AND ALL WAS WELL & GOOD & NO HE DOESN'T HAVE A HEART MURMER OR DAMAGED LUNGS.HE IS IN APPARANTLY HE IS IN PERFECT HEALTH & A CORRECT WIEGHT FOR HIS SIZE AND BREED. I AM A PROFFESIONAL DOG GROOMER WITH OVER 2,000.00 CLIENTS, NON OF MY CLIENTS DOGS SUFFER FROM THIS PROBLEM AS I ASKED ALL OF THEM!! PLEASE HELP!!

Dr. Bruce :

Has he ever had a chest x-ray or echocardiogram (ultrasound) of the heart? Does he have any problems when he runs around or gets excited?

Dr. Bruce :

If this occurs only when he is asleep then it may be some issue with his trachea, such as an undersized trachea or collapsing trachea. I would recommend trying an antihistamine such as Benadryl just before bed. Give him a full 25mg just before going to sleep. If this doesn't work, then ask your vet for a mild steroid (anti-inflammatory dose) to help reduce swollen membranes that can lead to apnea.