Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
Guide To Australian Shepherd Training and Care

Aussie Health—Rapid Breathing

by Sydney
(Cape Cod, Ma.)

My 10 year old Aussie has developed a very fast breathing rate... up to 90 breaths a minute, and not in a panting state. This is at rest. He is not overweight. He is otherwise healthy—good appetite, normal bowel and urination. He had a normal chest x-ray. They did an abdominal x-ray which was clear as well. All blood work is normal, however his thyroid numbers are on the low side of normal. They did an EKG and found a slight arrhythmia of an additional heartbeat. The condition the vet said is seen in Boxers frequently, but not in Aussies.

They put a heart monitor on him for 12 hours and decided to try heart medication to help the arrhythmia. This fast breathing rate is not consistent, either. Much of the time it is a normal breathing rate of aprox. 30 breaths a minute.

We considered anxiety but we don't think it correlates to the episodes of fast breathing. It seems to be most frequent at night.

I am very frustrated and the Vet is too. We plan to try the heart monitor again and see what the arrhythmia is like since he has been on heart medication. Not sure arrhythmia has anything to do with the breathing.

Has anyone had this condition with their Aussie? I would love to hear from you.



Comments for Aussie Health—Rapid Breathing

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pacing and panting
by: ashley

Well...I just posted similar characteristics with my older Aussie. My that it could be Cushings Disease. My yellow lab died of that dreaded disease...last year about this time. It is basically a misfunction of the adrenal glands and cortisol is being poured in their bodies...theras causing the pacing and panting. It is more complicated than this but this is the short version...

In my experience the "Meds" for this have even more dreadful side effects then the disease itself. I found my lab had a great quality of life for two extra years because I gave her "Cushex" drops which is basically homeopathic....My Aussie isn't nearly as bad as my lab was at the final end so I am just hoping it is something else, because Cushings is not suppose to be contatgious...but I thought I would at least pass this info on...... ;(

Rapid Breathing
by: Anonymous

You might want to consider pain. My dog was 10 he had episodes of pancreatitis. When he was in pain his breathing would be very rapid like he just ran a couple miles. Even though he would only be laying there. Just a suggestion if you haven't thought of pain. Because its at night, it might be that your dog is moving around during day and then sore from it in some way by evening?? I hope you figure it out. Might want to get a 2nd opinion from another vet.

fast breathing
by: Becky

Prayers for your aussie. Our girl has done this off and on most of her life, but not quite this fast fast 65. She has had everything ruled out.. Does it seem to scare or bother yours?

in response
by: Sydney

Thank you for your responses.
We have ruled out Cushings because his thyroid numbers are ok and there are no other symptoms. My Aussie has normal appetite, still goes about the day normally...lies his walks, runs to get the paper, still has enthusiasm....although tires more on walks and we have shortened our normally long walks.
I went to a new vet for a second opinion and he has suggested possibility of Colitis. We have started a trial of medication. I don't think this is it. Only in the morning after breakfast on our walks does he get some symptoms. He has normal poops at first, them keeps trying to do more but nothing happens. He chews on a little grass during the walks, but that is all. The rest of the day he is fine.
The next step is pain Meds to see if there is any relief.
This is so frustrating. I hear him all night breathing so fast. The heart medication for arithmia does not seem to make a difference and I want to take him off that..
A dog version oz Xanex seems to help a bit at night , but that appears to be a very temporary Thank you for your ideas.

my dog has the same problems
by: Bonnie

pants continuously, cannot walk more then 100 yards and then lays down. Stared having seizures 1 month ago now on Phenobarb... Back to the vet again on Mon... trying to figure whats going on but if it keeps up not sure if he is going to live much longer... he is only 6 rescued so we have no background info on him... he is a blue merle gorgeous... and a sweetheart...

It was Colitis!
by: Sydney

My Aussie was treated for Colitis by the new Vet and was put on a medication called Metronidazole 500mg.
It worked!!!! Blue is back to his old self..The panting that we had for four long months is over. He is sleeping soundly and is a very happy camper, and so am I. I never would have thought stomach distress could make him sick like this, and no one caught it. I had chest xrays, ultrasounds, heart monitors ...and it was his stomach. Thank goodness it is treatable!
Thanks for all your input. We were lucky this time!!!

Aussie seizures
by: John

Aussie seizures-- potassium bromide (KBR) from lab supply company. Better for the dog than phenobarb & cheaper if from lab supply company-- (they want you to tell them that you're a business).

Aussie heavy breathing
by: Karen

Our Aussie is currently experiencing the same symptoms as Sydney's Aussie for the past month. 13 year old Aussie that is breathing very, very heavy and fast for no reason. Her heart rate also increases for no reason. She doesn't feel well and doesn't want to play. Eating less also but urinating/pooping OK. Two days ago we took her to the vet - they said heart, lungs, stomach and chem panel were all fine. She has arthritis in her back leg so they decided she was in pain and put her on carprofen (100 mg/day). Thus far there isn't any improvement and she seems to be getting worst.
Any ideas anyone - besides trying an older experienced vet? Sydney's did you ever figure out what was wrong with your dog?

aussies fast breathing
by: Anonymous

I have 2 Aussies and have had them since they were puppies and they have always had a very fast breathing pattern. They pant all the time even when resting and there is nothing wrong with them. They are now 7 and 10. I think it may just be a breed characteristc

Does anyone know whats wrong
by: Anonymous

I have a 9-10 week old miniature aussie and she breathes really fast when asleep then she wakes up panting and moves a little then goes asleep but continues to pant she stops for like 1 minute at most. When awake she's a ok breaths fine. The people we got her from didn't seem right they looked as if they might have hurt her because of the environment they had her in. She had an infection when we got her but cleared up when we washed and cleaned her. Is it the infection doing it or something else?

fast breathing in Ausies
by: RH

I tried to get several vets to notice this condition in my and for the last few years and was blown off as not that unusual. FINALLY: I took her in for problems with one of her joints she is16 and brought a stool sample in was told they would take it themselves. I told them I had seen 2-4 very tiny white worms in this stool sample.( There were not any eggs in the sample) if not for the tiny worms she could not have been diagnosed with a TAPE WORM and treated. She now breathes normally .
I asked about this on numerous occasions and was told it was round worms. She has had this problem for years and without my being fed up with this idiot she would still have it TAPE WORM MUST HVE GROWN TO BE ENORMOUS><

fatigue/fast breathing
by: RH

check her for Tape worm

Similar problem
by: Amanda

I have recently noticed that my 2 year old, mini Aussie Gambit is always "out of breath" or breathing like he just ran a lot. He's the happiest most loveable little guy so it's hard to tell if something is bothering him. But I've always noticed he has a hard time getting comfortable on a soft surface like a dog bed, couch, or bed. He'll turn and turn and make grunting noises like he's frustrated, slam himself down, pout for a few minutes and repeat the process until he ends up laying on the ceramic tile in front of the door. He falls asleep laying flat with his back against walls. He wants to sit on the couches with us but can't get comfortable. So it makes me wonder if something is going on with his breathing or lungs because I have lung problems as well and I know I can't get comfy certain ways I lay. So therefore, my little fluff will be going to the vet soon. Fingers crossed it's nothing serious. xx

Rapid breathing Aussie
by: PonyMom

My Aussie is 8 and for a year or so, I noticed she is rapidly breathing even when she's sleeping. I will also hear her pant at night when she's been in and not active. I was afraid it was cushings or something wrong. She had blood work and the vet said he heart and lungs sounded good with no abnormalities. We're stumped, and I just hope since she's still active and looking bright and happy, there's nothing wrong. She's a ranch bred, working dog with 2 healthy parents.

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