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our old dog having trouble breathing

May 3rd, 2006, 09:49 PM
I am posting to this forum for the first time. I came upon your forum while looking for information about our elderly Basset hound having trouble breathing and whether or not to consider taking him to the vet to be put to sleep.
He is 17 years old and was last at the vet within the last few months. They looked at him and marveled at how healthy he was for his age. They took some blood, did some other tests and said that he is just an "old dog" but they didn't find anything wrong with him.
We had taken him in to address his problem where he was having difficulty getting air at times. It was a kind of "gasping" and he made alot of noise trying to breathe. It worried us. The vet said it is something that involves the trachea or larynx constricting and is common. They said there is an operation to deal with the problem with younger dogs but for our Bentley at 17 years old it really didn't make sense to do it.
Our problem is it seems to be getting worse.
We are at the point where we just don't know when is the right time to put our old friend down. I asked the vet what to look for regarding when a dog is in pain or uncomfortable and they gave me some things to look for. But nothing except the breathing thing has really happened to make us believe he is in any pain or discomfort. Other than things that are just part of being old (gets tired easily, a little bit of trouble walking sometimes like his legs are arthritic, etc . . . things I also experience!)
His breathing becoming more labored when he puts in any kind of exercise like just going out to go to the bathroom. It doesn't take much walking at all and it is getting worse it seems. I even carry him sometimes and just set him down to do his thing and then carry him back in the house.
But today he had an episode where he just seemed like he couldn't breathe and was gasping for breath and it seemed worse than what we had seen before. It went on for about 15 minutes and we thought it was the end. We were comforting him and saying goodbye. We really thought he was close to leaving us and then all of a sudden he was fine and he is now resting very comfortably.
You see, this guy sleeps ALOT which is common for Bassets anyway, and he just seems to be happy and comfortable almost all of the time. We realize that there comes a time when you just have to put an old dog down but it just hasn't seemed like he was hurting or in pain in a way that would warrant it. We love him to death and if we thought he was suffering we would do it in a heartbeat.
So . . . my question is about the thing I am talking about. The gasping for breath, having trouble breathing. Is anyone familiar with the "constricted trachea" I am talking about. Does it get worse as the dog ages? Are there other conditions that would cause the same kind of symptom, like lung problems, heart problems, etc . . .
Anyway, we know the time is coming where we are going to have to say goodbye but we just don't want to do it before the right time.
Any feedback from someone about the symtoms and condition I have talked about would be greatly appreciated.
I know this was lengthy but I wanted to be clear in what is going on.

May 3rd, 2006, 11:49 PM
Seventeen - bless his hard-working old heart. I can't give you any advice about his breathing I'm afraid but, I did want to tell you that - as cliche as this sounds - when it was Tai's time (she was almost 16 ) I knew. There was nothing that changed in her physical state - no sudden downward shift in her (poor) health - she just started looking at me differently at me one day. I "heard" her in my heart telling me that she wanted to go. It broke my heart of course but, I felt more at peace with it by having our Vet come to the house so that Tai could die in her own bed and to be holding her close as she passed. What a blessing our puppies are to us and how fortunate yours is to have you.

May 4th, 2006, 11:04 AM
Maybe a vet visit would be best right now your vet listen to his heart and lungs and possibly do an x-ray without anesthesia just to give you an idea of quality of life at this point and whether meds would help. That can help guide you in your decisions. I know it is not always easy knowing when to let go

May 5th, 2006, 09:01 AM
"Caila" our Golden died last January. Her laboring breathing started out 2 weeks prior and worsened during the 1st week. After 7 days, on Satuarday she vomited and I took her to the vet on Monday. During the next 5 days whicle waiting the results, the breathing became very worse and she wanted nothing to do except lay outside in the snow. This was due to the cold air that helped her breath easier. The test results " Luekemia" :sad: came on Friday.
We returned to the vet and he gave her meds to try and help her be comfortable. During this weekend, she would look up at me and stare, she was unable to sleep comfortably (waking up more than being sleeping). By Saturday night I knew the look from her was that "Mom, it's time". I made the appt for Monday morning for her to go to the "Bridge".

I am not sure if this helps, but it is the only experience that I have had with labored breathing. Good Luck

May 6th, 2006, 11:17 PM
I want you to know how much I sympathize and grieve with you over your pet. I lost a pet in circumstances very similar to those you describe. Our dog died - we did not put him down - because we thought he might get better or that he wasn't that sick. After he died, we learned that he was eaten up with cancer that had gone undiagnosed, and that was very painful. Even though he did not seem to be suffering, he was. I resolved that I would never let that happen again, even if it meant I might shorten my dog's life by a few months.

My experience may be very different from yours so my main message is: Trust your instincts. If you think your dog is suffering and it's time to end his suffering, do so. If you think he's okay and want to look for medical answers, by all means. You are your pet's advocate and no one knows him better than you do.

March 17th, 2009, 11:40 PM
Hi there
I just seen youe post and I understand that your dog was sick.. I just wanted to see were your are located and how much it cost for the vet check.

As I'm located in London Ontario. I have a 8 year old Collie/Lab cross. for the last three week she has had a runny nose. I thought that she just got a cold. As the weather has been changing. Last sat I noticed that she started to have a hard time breathing. I'm concerned about her but sadly I don't have the money to get her looked at until friday. Tonight I noticed that she wasn't eating. I got her to go over to her food dish and she looked like she could reach the bowl. I lifted the bowl up to her and she went nuts. Eating really fast. Like she hadn't eaten for about three days. Then I notice that she has a lump in her throat. I don't know what it is. She will eat if the bowl is up to her mouth. Now that I'm think about it she is drinking alot more then nomal.
Now that I'm putting things together now. I did clean up puke spot last week. But it was just bile. runny yellow stuff. I don't know what this could be and I'm very scared. I have to work tonight so I couldn't take her in. I'm going to the vets in the morning. Does anyone know or think they know what it would be. Does any one know how much I will need.

March 17th, 2009, 11:51 PM
Welcome to the board, finallyamommy. This is an old thread...davek never came back to update us. But I'm sure if you call around in the morning, the clinics will be able to give you their fees. It does sound like your dog needs to see a vet as soon as you can manage to get her in.

Please let us know what the vet finds. And :goodvibes: for a quick recovery!