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Old July 27th, 2009, 12:35 AM
Susan Mary Susan Mary is offline
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I've never heard breathing like this before!

I have a ten year old intact male Chocolate Labrador. His name is Max. We use to call him Max the Wonder Dog but he recently went blind so now we call him Max the Stevie Wonder dog. Max has been diabetic for about six months and takes 30 units of caninsulin, twice a day. Sorry, off the top of my head, I can't remember his fructosamine test result.

Recently, he developed allergies (weepy, puffy eyes) and now takes 50 mg of Benadryl three times a day as prescribed by his vet.

I take him for slow, short walks and let him take as much time as he wants. Sometimes he even lays down for a few minutes and pants. I allow him this pleasure because his breathing sounds a bit labored when we go for our walks. I had asked the vet about it and she thought it was just age.

Last night his breathing changed. On our walk, he started to wheeze loudly, exactly like a human asthmatic. Within a few minutes, his breathing changed again and went from bad to worse. The wheeze was replaced by a loud ratchet type sound. (I don't remember if it was on the inhale or the exhale.) I've never heard anything like it. It reminded me of the sound a computer chair makes when you lean too far back on it and was just as loud. Once we were back at home his breathing returned to normal slowly, from ratchet to wheeze to labored to normal, the whole thing took about two hours with lots of drooling but no vomiting and no signs of edema. (The walk was only about three blocks total but it was hot outside. My dog had a drink of water just before we went out. Urine and stool were both normal.)

Today the exact same thing happened, again.

Any ideas?

I don't have a vet appointment until the middle of next week unless I go to the emergency which is very expensive.

Thank you for you help.

Last edited by Susan Mary; July 27th, 2009 at 12:53 AM.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 12:57 AM
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growler~GateKeeper growler~GateKeeper is offline
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I would call the vet to see if you can get him in sooner if possible. During the appointment I would make a point to ask about the condition of his heart ie does he have a murmur or any abnormal sounds etc, as well as the condition of his lungs

Are you in a heartworm prevalent area?

What are you feeding Max? I'm not familiar with diabetes but we do have a member who is, I'll pm her the thread perhaps she'll have some suggestions for better regulating the diabetes.

When did the allergies start and has the vet determined the cause? Seems like an awful lot of meds

In the meantime since it has been so hot here and will continue to be hot all week - skip the walk.

let us know how Max is doing
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  #3  
Old July 27th, 2009, 09:24 AM
Susan Mary Susan Mary is offline
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Originally Posted by growler View Post
I would call the vet to see if you can get him in sooner if possible. During the appointment I would make a point to ask about the condition of his heart ie does he have a murmur or any abnormal sounds etc, as well as the condition of his lungs

Are you in a heartworm prevalent area?

What are you feeding Max? I'm not familiar with diabetes but we do have a member who is, I'll pm her the thread perhaps she'll have some suggestions for better regulating the diabetes.

When did the allergies start and has the vet determined the cause? Seems like an awful lot of meds

In the meantime since it has been so hot here and will continue to be hot all week - skip the walk.

let us know how Max is doing
Thanks for responding to my question.

In answer to your question, we don't live in an area known for heartworm. Max has been back and forth to the vet lately having his insulin level adjusted. It's nothing unusual, just maintenance but he does get a quick once-over. The vet listens to his heart but has never shown any concern.

Max gets two meals a day because he gets insulin twice a day. Insulin has to be taken after food. It's very important that his insulin level is maintained so Max gets food he likes to insure his eating it. We feed him Iams mixed with cooked lean ground beef. His treats are cubes of medium cheddar cheese. (Carb's turn into sugar - so we have to watch for that) His diet has been ok'd by the vet.

Max has a good appetite. He is still a tad underweight. The vet is trying to get him to gain another couple of pounds. Last February he had a bout of pancreatitis that caused ketoacidosis landing him into intensive care for a few days. He lost close to twenty pounds and I lost a little over three thousand dollars. (Diabetes sucks)

I sold my house a couple of months ago and we moved into a condo. I couldn't keep up with the yard work (age, I think ) and Max couldn't handle the stairs anymore (blindness). The move was a good thing for both of us. I think Max likes it here. He's his usual clown self but he sleeps a lot. I think that's because of his age.

The condo is new and the lawn is now getting sod. The vet suspects his allergy was from the manure preparation for the sod. Max's eyes are still a little weepy but the puffiness is gone and I don't think they're itchy anymore. Much of the sod is now in place so it doesn't explain this new wheezing and ratchet sounding breathing.

I have to take Max out to relieve himself. His huffing and puffing starts almost immediately, just hearing the leash seems to set it off. Since the new, more severe, breathing problem started I'm just taking him to the edge of the property. He doesn't like that, he wants to go for his walk, but I know his breathing will get bad if I take him any further and he'll have to lay down. Frankly, his breathing has concerned me for awhile but this new ratchet style breathing scares me.

I'm waiting for the clinic to open to try to get an earlier appointment. I have a sense of foreboding about this.

Fingers and toes crossed.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 11:14 AM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Hi Susan Mary, welcome to pets.ca. Sorry that you and Max are having a rough go of it. I hope you're able to get him an earlier appointment, breathing problems can be very serious. Expanding on Growler's suggestion, I think it would be a good idea to get a chest x-ray or ultrasound if you can. Heart disease and diabetes go hand in hand, so it's important to rule that out before assuming it's related to allergies.

As for Max's diabetes, have you ever considered testing his blood glucose levels yourself, at home? You can use a human glucometer and lancet device, and it's waaaaay cheaper than having to take him to the vet so frequently. Plus, there's nothing like being able to know instantly what his glucose level is. It would give you much more info on how well his diabetes is regulated overall.

As for food, there are much better products than Iams. Not sure which variety you're feeding, but Iams tends to be heavy on the grains, which translates into sugary carbs, not good for a diabetic as you know. A grain-free, higher protein and lower carb food along the lines of Orijen or Wellness or Nature's Variety is preferable. Even better would be a raw diet. But be cautious with a diet change until you're testing Max's bg yourself, as his insulin needs may drop. I'll try to find some links for you on home-testing so you can decide if this is something you want to do.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 12:44 PM
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Dog Dancer Dog Dancer is offline
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Susan Mary so sorry to hear about Max's problems. I agree with the previous two posters that the earlier you get to the vet the better. And I also agree that you should be looking for a different food. I feed EVO Red Meat, which is high protein and pretty well grain free. Any food with corn and such is going to spike Max's blood sugars. (Not to dis vets, but most are not totally up to snuff on foods.) There's lots you can figure out by reading some of the dog food threads on here. And yes the heat here in BC has been huge lately and the humidity is making it worse. My dogs are getting very short walks also - for the sake of us all! Good luck to you with Max. Keep us posted.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 06:55 PM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Okay, got some links. You may have seen some of them, but if not they have a ton of useful info for diabetic pet owners. The first 2 have info on home-testing:
http://petdiabetes.wikia.com/wiki/Ho..._blood_glucose
http://www.caninediabetes.org/bloodtesting.html
http://petdiabetes.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page
http://www.caninediabetes.org/
http://www.petdiabetes.com/
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Old July 27th, 2009, 09:12 PM
Susan Mary Susan Mary is offline
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We were able to see the vet this afternoon. Max had his fructosamine test for diabetes, I get the results tomorrow. I'm expecting an A-ok on that one.

As for Max's unusual breathing episodes. The vet did chest x-rays to check out his heart and lungs. There was a little edema but not enough to warrant diuretics and his lungs were clear. The vet is sure the problems is with his trachea. She suspects the cause is nerve damage from the diabetes. Max is not a good candidate for any kind of surgery, so he's out of luck on that one.

The boy is to have no physical stress.

So this is the plan.

Max is to avoid the heat of the day by taking his first morning pee at 5:00 am or earlier while it's still on the cooler side. His second pee is at 10:00 am (or so) while wearing a cold T-shirt (soaked, wrung out then frozen). His third pee is to be as late as possible. If it's still hot we are to repeat the T-shirt routine. Last pee just before bed. Repeat until heat wave is over.

We are also to keep a couple of towels at the ready, frozen in the freezer, in case our home gets a little too hot for him.

Last edited by Susan Mary; July 27th, 2009 at 09:18 PM.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 09:14 PM
Susan Mary Susan Mary is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
Okay, got some links. You may have seen some of them, but if not they have a ton of useful info for diabetic pet owners. The first 2 have info on home-testing:
http://petdiabetes.wikia.com/wiki/Ho..._blood_glucose
http://www.caninediabetes.org/bloodtesting.html
http://petdiabetes.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page
http://www.caninediabetes.org/
http://www.petdiabetes.com/
Thanks for the links, sugarcatmom. I'll get busy and start reading.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 10:02 PM
Jim Hall Jim Hall is offline
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ohhh a doggie sickle best of luck
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Old July 27th, 2009, 10:49 PM
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growler~GateKeeper growler~GateKeeper is offline
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I'm glad to hear you got in today and that the news from the visit is pretty good

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan Mary View Post
The vet is sure the problems is with his trachea. She suspects the cause is nerve damage from the diabetes. Max is not a good candidate for any kind of surgery, so he's out of luck on that one
Does Max wear a collar all day and when you take him out for a pee or walk do you clip the leash to the collar? If you aren't already you might want to consider completely removing all collars and using either a body harness where his tags can be clipped to the shoulder rings or using a head harness such as the Halti or Gentle Leader and the tags can be clipped either to the halter rings or to the leash. This will remove all pressure on the trachea caused by either pulling or even the slight pressure from him laying on the collar.

I know it's hard to resist when they want to go for a walk so badly & it's not in their best interest to do so. Stay strong.

for Max
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Old July 27th, 2009, 11:22 PM
Susan Mary Susan Mary is offline
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Originally Posted by growler View Post

I'm glad to hear you got in today and that the news from the visit is pretty good

Does Max wear a collar all day and when you take him out for a pee or walk do you clip the leash to the collar? If you aren't already you might want to consider completely removing all collars and using either a body harness where his tags can be clipped to the shoulder rings or using a head harness such as the Halti or Gentle Leader and the tags can be clipped either to the halter rings or to the leash. This will remove all pressure on the trachea caused by either pulling or even the slight pressure from him laying on the collar.

I know it's hard to resist when they want to go for a walk so badly & it's not in their best interest to do so. Stay strong.

for Max
A harness!!! What a good idea.

Max only wears a collar when he goes for a walk. He doesn't wear anything around his neck while in the house. I'll buy a harness tomorrow and toss the collar.

So far, the frozen towel is a big hit. He thinks the towel is an excellent chew toy when it's first taken out of the freezer and is very stiff. Once the towel relaxed a little he was rolling on it till it warmed up. Now he's off for a snooze and I'm re-freezing the towel.

My vet is brilliant.

Max the pupsicle. Very cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by growler View Post

I know it's hard to resist when they want to go for a walk so badly & it's not in their best interest to do so. Stay strong.
As for Max wanting to go on his walks and not being allowed to, bribery my friend, bribery.

(Isn't that what they made cheese for?)
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Old July 27th, 2009, 11:37 PM
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growler~GateKeeper growler~GateKeeper is offline
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Max has the right idea about chewing on the frozen towel, lots of people use small wet towels frozen for teething puppy chew toys

You can also lay a wet but wrung out (not frozen) towel over him as well.

Yes cheese has many uses for bribing both dogs and cats
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