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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 20151
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with 15 years experience
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My dog is a 10 year old AustralianTerrier and has recently

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My dog is a 10 year old AustralianTerrier and has recently showed distressed breathing. When relaxed on lap or in bed his breathing rate is every second and very shallow as if he can't get enough air. It is as if he has done some heavy exercise. When he goes out he seems normal. But there is no calm time in his breathing.

Welcome. I'm Dr. Bruce and I've been a small animal veterinarian for over 13 years. Thank you for your question. I'm sorry to hear about Freddie's breathing issue. Can you answer these questions for me?

1) Is he playing normally, having as much activity outside?
2) Is he having any coughing when he's having this distressed breathing?
3) How long has this distressed breathing been going on?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

1. Yes and outside we have large wooodlands and grounds which he enjoys chasing "things" especially in the dark.

2. He does not cough at all and except for the laboured breathing is great but does tire more quickly which we put down to age.

3. For three months but it has been getting worse and is now very noticable

Thanks for that information Jacqui. In a situation like this with what you're describing for him, I would be concerned about a heart related issue. Early heart disease can be seen as increased breathing rate and effort at night when they are laying down / in a sternal position. It is good that he's still outside and being active there. Age shouldn't cause increased breathing effort. Could he have a situation where he has a primary lung issue? That is also possible. With this getting worse over the past 3 months and now it being very noticeable, the best thing to do at this time is as follows:

1) Video what you're seeing for his breathing at home so your vet can view it.
2) Take him and the video to your vet for an evaluation. They'll use a physical exam and most likely chest x-rays to see what the primary issue is.
3) Based on what is found, hopefully they can start up medication to help him breath easier and have a happy and long life.

At this time, there really isn't much you can do at home for his situation. The best you can do there is to let him rest in as comfortable of a position and place as possible when he's trying to sleep so he's not stressed. There are no specific medications that can be started up.

Please let me know what questions all this brings up by hitting reply. I'm hoping for the best for him!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you for the advice. We will take him to the vet in the morning. It is just that living in France we wanted some idea of how to handle this problem. We did think it was a heart problem but it is good to be assured that medication might help.

I'm absolutely hoping for the very best for Freddie. I'm hoping that they'll figure things out and that he can be helped with some medications. There are definitely situations where the heart doesn't work as well and medications can definitely help. PLease let me know if any questions come up in the future with his situation.
Dr. Bruce and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Have taken Freddie to the vet where he was xrayed and fluid was taken from the thorax area and has been sent off for analysis. He has been put on a course of antibiotics until the analysis is received. Also on a low fat diet (though he is not overweight) as there was a lot of fat in the fluid that was taken.

Free fluid in his chest cavity - pleural fluid - was definitely on my list of concerns for him given what you described for him. I'm hoping that after withdrawing a decent amount of that fluid that he's breathing better. The key here is getting that analysis back on the fluid. The antibiotics are to treat if it is infectious. IF there was a lot of fat in the fluid, then a chylothorax would be the diagnosis. Here is a very good link that I wanted to send to you for you to read. It goes over this condition very well with the possible causes and treatments. It may help to prepare you for what your vet discusses once they get the results back.

I'm hoping that he responds to therapy well! Let me know what questions this has brought up Jacqui.