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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 10922
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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!3 year old lab is panting heavily and wandering around - when

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!3 year old lab is panting heavily and wandering around - when I let him out, he wants to come back in. Won't lie down. No vomiting, stool normal 3 hours ago, urinating normally
I am dog sitting so very worried.

Hello ***** Deb.

I recently came online and see that your question about Bertie hasn't been answered. I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response,but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.

I do have a few questions to ask first, if you don't mind:

1. Is he still pacing/panting?

2. Is he currently taking any medications?

3. If so, what are they?

4. How much does he weigh?

There may be a delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you and I may be offline at the time you respond. But I'll get back to you as soon as I can since I'm on the computer some part of every day.

Thanks for your patience. Deb


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He is calmer now. Only panting intermittently, no pacing. He is on Metacam (NSAID) for joint pain. He is the recommended weight for his size.

Thanks for the answers to my questions. The fact that he's not pacing and is not panting as much is a very good thing.

The symptoms that you describe are actually quite common ones for older dogs and can be secondary to several different conditions.

1. He could have had pain/discomfort somewhere in his body...hips, knees, spine.

Since he's already taking Metacam, you won't be able to safely give him any additional over the counter drugs such as Aspirin or Tylenol if he starts to pace again; this would basically be double dosing him and might cause gastric ulceration.

He may need pain medication although this would have to be dispensed by a vet.

2. Senility or cognitive dysfunction. These dogs become confused, can experience memory problems, can become very restless at night where they can't seem to settle down (Sundown Syndrome similar to human); they often pant but can whine as well. The signs can be intermittent but tend to progress with time (although the rate at which they progress is different for every dog).
There are some treatment options for this condition (which primarily involve supplements). Since he's not your dog, you probably don't want to consider their use, especially since many of them take time to build up in the system and won't be particularly helpful to you in the short term.

But should you want to know what they are, let me know and I'll provide a list.


3. When older dogs start behaving in very unusual or strange ways, I always worry that they may have a brain mass, I’m sorry to say. Usually there are other neurologic symptoms, though. It would take an MRI to diagnose this problem but most brain masses are not amenable to surgery.



4. Heart/lung disease.Heartworm disease, congestive heart failure, lung cancer (I’m sorry to say), pneumonia, etc.are all possible causes especially if there is exercise intolerance (the dogs are very tired after a short amount of exercise), weight loss, or coughing or significant lethargy, etc.

From your description, he doesn't sound as if he has one of these problems, but I mention them to be complete.

5.Aging changes are commonly seen in older dogs such that their lungs become less elastic, more fibrotic. This basically means that they don't oxygenate well so they pant more.

His current panting (absent the pacing) could simply reflect this and would not be concerning.


Since he currently appears more comfortable, I'd continue to monitor him. If he starts to pace again and you have access to Tramadol or Gabapentin, I can provide the dose if I know his weight.


I hope this helps; again, my apologies for the delayed reply. Deb


I'm sorry that you rated poor service and I must confess that I’m somewhat surprised that you did. I answered your question as soon as I came online and provided several explanations for Bertie's symptoms once I received your answers to my questions.

If you don’t want to pay (for whatever reason) which is why you gave a negative rating or if it was because of the delay in a reply, then I'd appreciate if you'd let me know. I can then contact the website and the rating will not be held against me. s.

In any event, I wish you and Bertie the best. Regards, Deb

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I expected a faster response from the web-site, not personal to you.

But causes you gave didn't include heat exhaustion and separation anxiety, suggested by local vet for free over the phone, which seem more likely given the sudden onset and fast resolution, info you had as well. I would have preferred some basic reassurance first for common causes rather than questions before any response

Thanks for the clarification about your expectations.

I concur that a delayed response was not ideal, under the circumstances, and I'm sorry that experts weren't apparently on at the time you posted your question about Bertie.

I agree that heat exhaustion and/or separation anxiety might have been explanations when you posted your question but seemed unlikely when I answered you since he was no longer pacing, but only intermittently panting. My response was intended to address his current situation and to provide explanations as to why he might still be panting, but not pacing.
My apologies if you were looking for possible reasons why he behaved as he did initally.

I'm sorry that this experience wasn't a positive one for you but my hope is that Bertie is fine now. Regards, Deb
Dr. Deb and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
I'm appreciative that you changed your rating; thank you. Again, I'm sorry that this was less than a satisfactory experience for you. Regards, Deb

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