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Fast respiration rate in dog - Answered by Dr. Van Lienden

October 1st, 2007, 08:06 PM
I know this sounds a bit scary, so i'm just wondering about some possibilities that could explain - obviously we need further follow-up with the vet.

First I'll say that this is not something that started all of a sudden. Molly (9 yr Golden Retriever) has been to a vet since i've noticed this. Vet wasn't overly concerned, just something to keep an eye on. We've done full blood tests, heart sounds good, only thing that comes up with Molly is itchy skin, concentrated urine, some struvite crystals and one of her tyroid hormones is a bit high (but the other is not low which would indicate tyroid condition). None of these things come up as any kind of red flag for the vet, just things to watch. We've been to the vet a couple of times since I got Molly in May and she always says she's in great shape for a 9 yr old. Molly has also lost 10+lbs since i've had her... from slightly restricted diet and more exercise (I hope), 5 more lbs can still be lost according to the vet (she's not fat by any means).

So now i'm wondering what I should be watching for? What kind of things can result in respiration rates at rest in the 50-60 breaths per minute range. Not laboured, no noise, nothing funny like that. No coughing, no excessive panting (though she pants sometime when not entirely expected, I think more anxiety related), very active, excellent energy level, good appetite... pretty much good everything, just FAST breathing.

Any ideas from your experience?:confused:

October 1st, 2007, 08:14 PM
Any ideas from your experience?:confused:

Poodletalk could second me on this (her friends adopted this foster) 8 yr old golden , always breathing / panting. Nothing is wrong with him , he's just real active dog.

October 1st, 2007, 09:51 PM
...We've done full blood tests, heart sounds good...

When does Molly's respiratory rate increase? When she's resting (laying down?) after play? Has your vet done any cardiac testing other than listening to Molly's heart? Has her blood pressure ever been monitored?

Not that there may be any relation but, my father has a heart condition, and when he's not feeling so well, his breathing is extremely rapid when he lays down to rest. :shrug: Just an idea you may want to look into.

October 2nd, 2007, 09:25 PM
I'd say Molly's resp.rate doesn't really increase, I think it's just always fast only i've only ever timed it at rest (even sleeping).

Haven't had her blood pressure measured nor any cardiac testing. Will ask about this next time at the vet. From previous experience I thought heart problems usually had symptoms that included coughing. Maybe that's later down the road. Chloe (rip) had a heart murmur and the vet always said not to worry unless there is coughing.

Heart trouble seems like a likely cause of increased resp. rate but in the absence of other symptoms any other ideas? It's a long shot but could this be related to an infection (skin) or something else that would make her itchy?

Ugh, i'm sooooo paranoid!:frustrated:

October 4th, 2007, 01:57 AM
Hope Molly is ok :fingerscr:goodvibes::pray:.

October 4th, 2007, 07:55 PM
Thanks TeriM... I hope so too.:fingerscr

October 4th, 2007, 08:03 PM
Otter , I think Molly had blood work at my vet , and I'm sure he would have mentioned something if she had an heart problem. Do you have to go to the vet soon ?

October 4th, 2007, 10:30 PM
I got blood work done mid July also ... a CBC, full profile, urinalysis, thyroid profile - all were OK (a couple of things were a bit off but just stuff to "watch" over time - nothing of concern) no heart related issues. That's why i'm looking for things not heart related. She's not playing with such intensity like she did, who knows whether that's just cause she's more comfortable with things (and knows that play time will come again, and again, and again so she doesn't have to give it her all each time) or whether she's actually getting tired out.

Well go to the vet in less than two weeks - once i'm back from my travels, so I'm trying to think of things to ask about. :fingerscr again that i'm just paranoid.

October 18th, 2007, 10:30 AM
Increased situational respiration frequency is usually one of three things: increased temperature (home, pet or both), pain, or anxiety. Certainly some medications are notorious for increased respiration, such as cortisone. Check your pet's pharmacy regimen.

Physical causes of increased respiration can be impaired acid-base balance (kidney disease is an example), chest tumor, infection, obesity, cardiac disease, etc. Your description would seem to negate all these physical causes, however.

If your veterinarian has checked all the potential physical causes, then I would consider an analgesic for a few days to rule pain out. If that did not work, then an anti-anxiety drug to rule out fear/stress. Response to medication is a valid diagnostic test under these circumstances.

Unfortunately, you can't put pets on Freud's couch and probe for psychic clues. I leave that to the channelers and pet psychics. Oh, and do check your thermostat setting.

Dr. Van Lienden

Dr. Raymond Van Lienden DVM
The Animal Clinic of Clifton
12702 Chapel Road, Clifton
Virginia, U.S.A. 20124

October 20th, 2007, 11:13 PM
Dr. Van Lienden thank you so much for your information. I'm definitely going to ask about a few of these things when Molly sees her vet next.
impaired acid-base balance (kidney disease is an example), chest tumor, infectionall could have possibilities with Molly - none of these things come up as being definites or things I would previously have considered but she has had a rash of infections (skin, ear, eye) and i've noticed that now that she is on antibiotics for a skin wound her breathing is a little slower. I would never have imagined that infections could effect breathing but maybe that's the case here. Would chronic infection and fast respiration rate be correlated?

You've opened up lots of possibilities for me to consider, which is really nice cause I worried that a heart condition was going to be really the only thing to consider.

June 29th, 2008, 11:14 PM
I realize this is an old thread but i'll just put in an update for anyone who comes across it looking for info....

Seems infection was at the root of Molly's fast breathing. I didn't know she had an infection when I made the original post but upon a hot spot infection flaring up and a visit to the vet she most probably had an infection at the time. Antibiotics settled things down.

Thanks again to Dr. Van Lienden for pointing out this cause to me, I would never have guessed to correlation :thumbs up

July 4th, 2010, 09:38 PM
ok my dog Zee is 2 year old GSD mix. He has been breathing rapidly- panting excessively. Respirations are at almost 60/minute. My other dog will be not panting and laying down, Zee will be next to her panting non stop. The vet said it was "anxiety" but I made him do a CBC and other blood tests. they were all basically normal, a few of his neutrophils/eosinophils were a bit off but nothing major. His attitude has also changed suddenly. He is very clingy. Has gone from not wanting to lay next to me to almost laying on me. He is getting grumpy and growly at our cats whom he always loved. The only time he isn't panting is when he is sleeping- but still breathing heavily. When we go on walks he starts snorting like a pug or smooshed face dog. He is on the heavery side but not obese. 55lbs for s GSD/golden (?) mix. I'm at a loss. I'm about ready to try another vet. I know something isn't right but i don't know what. If he was a person I would say he is suffering from Respiratory alkalosis. But that is for people- i don't know dog medicine. Anyone have an idea??