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.

Aussie with rapid respirations at rest.
by: Anonymous

Yes. My 6 year old Aussie has always had rapid breathing which seems to be worse as of late. Had labs yesterday and waiting on results. Started grinding her teeth too. She is sensitive to Nexguard and got her first dose of Heartguard ever about two weeks ago which is the most significant dynamic in my opinion. I had suspected heart disease when she was younger but her heart is not enlarged. I don't think I will give her anymore heart guard. I have never lost a dog to heart worm here in Maine. The one dog of mine that my vet claimed to heart was treated with injections and then developed a crippling embolism that took months of rehabilitation to be able to walk and function on his own again so I will never again treat another dog in the same manner should my vet claim it has heart worm.

18 mo old mini Aussie, same issue
by: Cmickus

This rapid breathing - like panting breaths with mouth closed while at rest (including when sleeping) has recently started (or I just recently noticed it). She is very active and healthy appearing in every other way, and has had regular vet care. Heading to vet tomorrow.

18 mo mini Aussie w/ rapid breathing
by: Cmickus

I took her to vet today and learned something - there is such a thing as closed mouth panting - not uncommon among herding breeds.

Temp normal, heart sounds good, no increase in drinking, lungs sound clear, no signs of decreased oxygen levels (such as pale gums and tongue).

We have had an unusual spell of very hot, very humid weather, and I did not always have AC and fans going. Now I do - for the dog. Go figure!

Since she has only been outside for elimination, she might be a bit stressed by lack of playtime and exercise.

The vet says, dogs cannot really rest, much less sleep, while panting with the mouth open. So they pant with the mouth closed.

So, we will monitor her for a while and see what happens. If it continues, some possibilities mentioned to check for are pneumonia, diabetes, Cushing's disease, kidney or heart problems. Most of these would have accompanying symptoms.

Rapid respirations
by: Anonymous

My 7 year old female Blue Merle Australian Shepard has rapid respirations 100/minute at rest. She grits her teeth and practically climbs on top of me. This symptom was exacerbated after she had been given heart worm medicine which was toxic to her, cause vomiting and bowel movements with blood in it. I had to take her for emergency care. They vet denied her illness was caused by the heart worm led but the emergency room vet agreed she had been subjected to something that was toxic to her. I've since read that some herding dogs have a very negative reaction to heart worm medication, particularly blue Merle's. She's also sensitive to edible flea and tick meds. No vet has had a good answer for me and the tests are Sooo expensive.

Mine breathe heavy when happy
by: Anonymous

Hello there. I don’t mean to make light of your predicament by any means, but my Aussies, 7 years old and 9 months old, breathe quite heavily and loudly, and pant when they greet us and come over for petting or a good scratch. We all thought it was unusual when our original boy did it, and worried something may be wrong, but when we brought home our little girl and noticed she did the same thing, we realized it must be an Aussie thing.

I wish all of you the best with your health concerns and hope they are resolved soon.

sleeping position
by: Anonymous

We have had a rescued 5 yr old Aussie for about a month. Noticing the rapid breathing most of the time. However, when she sleeps on her left side with head and shoulder on a pillow (or on her back), the breathing seems much more normal. I'm no vet but could it mean she has a heart / lung size abnormality? Seems a bit young for tracheal collapse.

Fast Breathing
by: Tommy

My Aussie, Zoe will be 8 yrs old Dec. 25. She has always had fast breathing or heart rate as you say. She eats well, always ready to go, still runs and plays as she always has. I just thought it was the nature of the breed.
It's time to see vet. I will have my vet check her. Kinda wish I hadn't read this now.🤔
Good luck to you all!

Constant panting & rapid breathing
by: Rhonda

My Aussie is going to be 13 on Dec 20th and in the last year she has been panting constantly and even when her mouth is closed her breathing is rapid. I have had a Cushings disease test, chest x-rays, full blood work, and a neck/throat ultrasound and everything has come back normal. The Vet has been unable to figure it out. There are usually 1 or 2 nights a week where she is really restless at night and wants me out of my bed and down on the floor or on the couch with her. I am in tears. I am not getting much sleep and don’t know what to do for her. She eats her meals, does not vomit, or have diarrhea. We have tried pain meds and anxiety meds in case either of those helped but they didn’t. It will kill me if she is in some sort of distress and I can’t help her. I even have her on Prilosec in case she has acid reflux. I have noticed she seems to be more gassy this year so maybe her tummy hurts? Can anyone help?

Panting The Way We Got It Under Control
by: Anonymous

My Aussie Boo Boo is only 17 months old and started the constant panting to rapid panting within the last seven months out vet gave her a one-time cortisone and started her on allergy meds. She takes generic Claritan, it seems to be helping so far, 2 months.

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