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Old October 21st, 2014, 09:46 PM
sunfirefarms sunfirefarms is offline
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Dog with excessive panting and other symptoms

Hi everyone. I'm new to this forum--reaching out to as many sources as I can to try to come up with ideas and suggestions. Here's our story:

I have a 12-ish year old spaniel mix (Trixie) that I got from the humane society 6 years ago. She’s had a few health problems over the years—almost 3 years ago we had a major bout of ITP and almost lost her, but after a plasma infusion and 10 days of intensive care, she pulled through. Then last year she had a small issue with pancreatitis but she bounced back very well. She also takes a daily thyroid pill, and she’s overweight, at around 48-50 lbs (no idea what she's mixed with but she's bigger than a typical cocker, and 35-40 lbs would be optimal weight). The vet has her on Science Diet light food now, and I’m trying to take her for a short walk every day. Aside from these issues, she’s been a pretty happy, healthy dog. No vomiting, no coughing, very healthy appetite (possibly TOO healthy--this may be a symptom).

About 2 months ago, I noticed that she was panting more than usual. With it being the heat of the summer, I just figured she was due for a trip to the groomer—her coat is dense and curly, especially on her ears and legs, so I get her shaved down every few months. But the panting actually continued and eventually got worse. At times, it is so bad that I can’t sleep through it, and I have to lock her out of the room when I’m on the phone because the panting freaks people out. Not surprisingly, the panting is accompanied by a great thirst for water…and the unfortunate increased urination, including in the house.

Long story short, my vet is stumped. We’ve done all the blood work, including a glucose test and the 2-hour ACTH Stim test. Everything has come back normal—the only exception is an elevated GGT level, and my vet couldn’t draw any conclusions from that. One night last week I gave her a Tramadol, thinking it might be pain-related, but there was no change. The next morning I gave her a Vetprofen…also no change. She doesn’t pant loudly while she’s sleeping, but she still breathes rapidly. And the panting is almost constant when she's awake. When I brought her home from the vet after the ACTH test last week, they’d given her a bath while she was there and her legs were still a bit damp, plus we had a cold snap and it was pretty chilly in my house, and she didn't pant for about an hour. It gradually went back to her normal panting, though. Over the past two weeks, I've given her two cold baths at home, and then put a fan on her, and she's been fairly quiet and gone right to a deep sleep (albeit still with increased resp rate around 37-40 breaths/minute).

So…any ideas? I’m willing to take any and all suggestions to my vet, who at this point seems like he's run out of ideas. We did a round of antibiotics with no effect. We haven’t done any xrays yet or an ultrasound yet--trying to financially recover from all the bloodwork first.

Thanks for any suggestions you can provide!
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  #2  
Old October 22nd, 2014, 10:28 AM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Welcome to the board, sunfirefarms.

We had a similar occurrence with Cass a while back. Everything tested normal, but her T4 was in the low range of normal. She, too, is on thyroid supplement and we've been told that when they're on the thyroid meds, they should test in the upper 1/3 to 1/4 of normal for the meds to have the proper effect. We upped her thyroid supplement dose by half and the panting went away.

It's certainly a lot cheaper than xrays or ultrasound so it might be worth a shot. Also, if it turns out it's unnecessary, dogs clear excess thyroid hormone out of their systems really quickly, so there's no long-term consequence if you don't see improvement and decide to lower the dose again.
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Old October 22nd, 2014, 02:33 PM
sunfirefarms sunfirefarms is offline
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Thank you for the welcome! Your reply is interesting. Initially, before we did any bloodwork, I thought that for some reason her body was getting too much of the thyroid medication (even though she's been on the same dosage for a couple of years), because when she was first put on it, her dosage was too high and she was panting like this. So I took her off of it for about a week, but it didn't seem to help. It's very confusing, because she has some of the common symptoms of a too-high dosage, including the panting, increased thirst, and increased urination, but at the same time she also has symptoms of a too-low dosage, such as I've noticed she's had more dandruff lately like she did before the medication, and she has stayed at the same weight even as I've switched her to light food and decreased the amount. It's all so very confusing--and frankly, my brain is exhausted from listening to her pant all the time, and I haven't had a good night's sleep in weeks because of this! We visit the vet again tomorrow...hope he has some new thoughts!
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Old October 22nd, 2014, 06:13 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Good luck with the vet appointment tomorrow! I hope you get some answers soon.
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Old October 22nd, 2014, 07:01 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunfirefarms View Post
Hi everyone. I'm new to this forum--reaching out to as many sources as I can to try to come up with ideas and suggestions. Here's our story:

I have a 12-ish year old spaniel mix (Trixie) that I got from the humane society 6 years ago. She’s had a few health problems over the years—almost 3 years ago we had a major bout of ITP and almost lost her, but after a plasma infusion and 10 days of intensive care, she pulled through. Then last year she had a small issue with pancreatitis but she bounced back very well. She also takes a daily thyroid pill, and she’s overweight, at around 48-50 lbs (no idea what she's mixed with but she's bigger than a typical cocker, and 35-40 lbs would be optimal weight). The vet has her on Science Diet light food now, and I’m trying to take her for a short walk every day. Aside from these issues, she’s been a pretty happy, healthy dog. No vomiting, no coughing, very healthy appetite (possibly TOO healthy--this may be a symptom).

About 2 months ago, I noticed that she was panting more than usual. With it being the heat of the summer, I just figured she was due for a trip to the groomer—her coat is dense and curly, especially on her ears and legs, so I get her shaved down every few months. But the panting actually continued and eventually got worse. At times, it is so bad that I can’t sleep through it, and I have to lock her out of the room when I’m on the phone because the panting freaks people out. Not surprisingly, the panting is accompanied by a great thirst for water…and the unfortunate increased urination, including in the house.

Long story short, my vet is stumped. We’ve done all the blood work, including a glucose test and the 2-hour ACTH Stim test. Everything has come back normal—the only exception is an elevated GGT level, and my vet couldn’t draw any conclusions from that. One night last week I gave her a Tramadol, thinking it might be pain-related, but there was no change. The next morning I gave her a Vetprofen…also no change. She doesn’t pant loudly while she’s sleeping, but she still breathes rapidly. And the panting is almost constant when she's awake. When I brought her home from the vet after the ACTH test last week, they’d given her a bath while she was there and her legs were still a bit damp, plus we had a cold snap and it was pretty chilly in my house, and she didn't pant for about an hour. It gradually went back to her normal panting, though. Over the past two weeks, I've given her two cold baths at home, and then put a fan on her, and she's been fairly quiet and gone right to a deep sleep (albeit still with increased resp rate around 37-40 breaths/minute).

So…any ideas? I’m willing to take any and all suggestions to my vet, who at this point seems like he's run out of ideas. We did a round of antibiotics with no effect. We haven’t done any xrays yet or an ultrasound yet--trying to financially recover from all the bloodwork first.

Thanks for any suggestions you can provide!
Why are you giving your dog cold baths and putting a fan on her ? I never heard of doing that to a dog.
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Old October 22nd, 2014, 09:53 PM
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Dog Dancer Dog Dancer is offline
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Hello Sunfirefarms. Sorry to hear your pup is having these issues. Let me say that the same issue of heavy panting took me and my 13 year old lab to the vet last year. The vet thought cushings disease and we did an ultra sound that showed enlarge adrenal glands. To confirm the cushings we did blood work. Like your pup, we had panting, drinking, urinating, the whole deal. Anyhow, the blood work came back normal and he simply told me she had "atypical cushings" but really didn't offer me anything to help her. We just lived with it and tried various things ourselves.

I changed vets a few months ago and took Halo in as she had a very bad skin rash. The vet felt the rash was from a food allergy, so we switched her food to a duck based food and put her on an antibiotic. The panting and drinking continued. The vet also noticed her lymph nodes were enlarged, but felt it could be from the allergic reaction. So we waited a bit. The skin cleared a bit, but not much, and I took her back. I told the vet I didn't think it was just an allergy. She biopsied the nodes and it was lymphoma. We had her put down yesterday at 14. Her breathing was so erratic and panting so loud, like you I could no longer sleep, so imagine how she felt.

I am not telling you this to scare you. Just to tell you that your pups symptoms are so like Halo's and that was our answer. I wish you luck times ten with your vet and your pup. I truly hope you have a better result than we did.
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  #7  
Old October 23rd, 2014, 02:19 PM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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I really hesitate to post here, because my boy had similar issues, and we never did find the exact cause.

We suspected chronic tick disease, and a pathogenic form of e.coli.

xrays showed that there were changes in his heart size, and he was actually hypovolemic, not enough blood going through his veins. The IMS (internal medicine specialist) thought that the veins were leaky from ongoing systemic infection. Rule out was Addison's disease, and the vet I contacted at Texas A&M said to rule out pancreatitis (which we didn't do since our treatment wouldn't change).

I had him on a cocktail of different antibiotics, a physiological dose of pred (2.5 mg a day, he was 80 lbs), and tramadol as needed, but I used DLPA instead. What helped him A LOT was an adrenal support by Gaia herbs, I think called Adrenal Support, or Adrenal health - they only have one such product.

Heat dilates the blood vessels and makes it harder to pump blood, so the cold would help, but it's just temporary and doesn't get at the cause. I would look for a better quality food, but stay simple....

There are a lot of things that can cause this type of panting.
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