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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 45284
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My dog is breathing very shallow. Occasionally she is

Customer Question

Hi, my dog is breathing very shallow. Occasionally she is coughing, like a hack type cough
Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. Coughing can be worrying. The Expert will know what you should do. What is your dog's name and age?
Customer: And sometimes it’s raspy. I just gave her a bath and her breath became raspy and more laboured, then it got a bit better but it’s still fast and shallow and her chest seems to be inflating more than normal to me
Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about your dog?
Customer: Just the above. She’s 9 years old and has been staying with my mother in law for a week and we have not long picked her up
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

Dr. Michael Salkin is typing. Please be patient.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. I'm quite concerned with the history you provided. Which breed is she, please? My primary concern is congestive heart failure particularly if she's a miniature breed. Please check her vital signs and if they're not normal, have her checked by a vet at your earliest convenience:

1) Check her gum and tongue color. They should be nicely pink - not whitish (anemia) or bluish/greyish (cyanosis/hypoxia/lack of oxygen to her tissues).
2) Check her respiratory rate. She should be taking less than 30 breaths/minute while asleep or at rest.

Please let me know what you find.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Her gums are nice and pink and her tongue also. Her respiratory rate is over 30 breaths at rest though.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
She is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
She is still pretty bouncy and wagging her tail and she definitely still has her appetite, but I can tell something isn’t right
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
She is also constantly itching her back end on the carpet since she came back
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Her head feels hotter than normal
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information. It would be prudent to have her vet carefully auscultate (listen to) and X-ray her chest. Her increased respiratory rate concurrent with pruritis (itchiness) suggest allergic sterile bronchitis and dermatitis. Heart disease isn't as important a differential for her. Can you take her rectal temperature? Any body thermometer will do when placed into her rectum 4 cm for 1 minute. Normal is 38 - 39.2C. Please let me know what you find.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
38.48 but I’m not sure it went in 4cm
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Will it make much difference? Should I do it again? I didn’t know whether to tilt it up or down or put it in straight so I prob put it in about 2/3cm it’s a digital internal thermometer designed for rectal and oral
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

That would be normal core body temperature. Her head skin might feel hot to you because allergic dermatitis inflames the skin. The thermometer should go straight in.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Ok thank you. So should we book her in at the vets ASAP? Is the dermatitis causing her breathing issues?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

The dermatitis may reflect the same allergy that is affecting her lungs. Dermatitis doesn't cause breathing issues. Yes, I would be more comfortable knowing that her vet attends to her at your earliest convenience. You're welcome to share our conversation with her vet. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Ah ok, thank you for this. I’ll book her in for as soon as possible. I will share the conversation. Thank you for your help and have a great day. Could I give her a human antihistamine in the mean time?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Or is that a bad idea? I have loratadine in the house but don’t know what dose I should give her. She weighs 21 kilos.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

Yes, but they're not reliably effective for the type of allergies I'm considering. Chlorphenamine dosed at 0.2 - 0.5 mg/kg every 8-12 hours or diphenhydramine dosed at 50 mg every 8-12 hours may be of value. Loratidine might be given at a dose of 10 mg once daily.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you I will give her this now until I get her to the vets. Thanks for your help - you’ve been amazing.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

You're quite welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.