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Thread: rapid breathing?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    3

    Default rapid breathing?

    We suspect our dog Stan (a 9 year old Westie) has Cushing's due to increased drinking hunger and panting. The blood tests are not conclusive. My questions is about his breathing. He started out about three weeks ago with panting, while his breath rate was often not that fast, e.g., under 30-40 breaths per minute. Now he is nearly always breathing rapidly (60-80 or more breaths per minute), with our without panting. He can still be playful. I have, of course read about the panting with Cushing's, but what about the rapid breathing? We have a wait of about three weeks to get an appointment for more tests, and I am concerned he might have something more acute. I have asked his vet about it, and not heard back. btw, when Stan breaths, he has a strong exhale, and I do not hear crackles that might indicated degenerative lung disease.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    York, PA.
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    Default Re: rapid breathing?

    Hi and welcome to you and Stan!

    Could you do us a favor and share the results of all tests that were done on Stan, you need only to post those values that are abnormal, please! I'm really not sure what to make of his rapid breathing, does this seem to happen when he is active or does he do this while sleeping too?

    Lori

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Tennessee
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    Default Re: rapid breathing?

    Are you checking the respiration rate when your dog is at rest? I have done that a lot with my dogs with congestive heart failure. You can either watch their chest rise and fall or what I do is put my hand on their side when they were sleeping. I count the respirations for 15 seconds and multiply by 4. Persistent rapid breathing can be due to heart disease, pulmonary disease, cancer, anemia and I'm sure a few others. Westies are high on the list of breeds with a predisposition to pulmonary fibrosis so even though you are not hearing any chest rattles, you definitely want to mention this predisposition to your vet. What symptoms associated with cushing's does Stan have that prompted you and your vet to test for cushing's? I second Lori's request for abnormal results on blood and urine labs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    3

    Default Re: rapid breathing?

    Thanks so much for getting back to me!

    Here is a summary of blood and urine analysis:
    Abnormal blood values:
    reticulocytes 115 10 - 110 K/μ
    White blood count 18.7 4.9 - 17.6 K/μL
    Neutrophils 14.493 2.94 - 12.67 K/μL
    Monocytes 2.281 0.13 - 1.15 K/μL
    Platelets 785 123-448 K/μL
    Cholesterol 353 131-345 mg/dL
    Creatine Kinase 243 10-200 U/L

    Normal blood values of interest:
    ALT 21; 10-121 U/L
    AST 29; 16-55 U/L
    ALP 60; 5-160 U/L

    Urine tests - note, the urine catch was done by me at the vet (on a short walk), and was by no means clean. It was not his first pee of the day either.

    Observations:
    some white and red cells, and some bacteria - subsequent culture indicated a mix of bacteria, and the lab concluded that the bacteria were not likely from a urinary infection

    Urine cortisol 19.5 ug/dL
    Urine Creatine 53.7 mg/dL
    urine cortisol to creatine ratio 113

    At rest Stan's respiration rate in high - e.g., 80 breaths per minute, measured multiple ways. I always see him breathing that fast, at least for the last 5-7 days. He has short forceful breaths that are easy to see (so I don't do it by putting my hand on him, which he reacts to).

    Today, Stan has been more active - coming to wake me up and wanting me to play with him. He ran fast to our fence to bark at passing dogs with great gusto, looking pretty normal (i.e., being his Westie self). He pants a bit more after this, but it seems to pass fairly quickly. We know he needs further testing, its just that getting the right appointments is taking time, and I was getting anxious about his condition. I feel somewhat better about this today. We are in Northern California were Davis Veterinary School has very good care and the best diagnostic equipment. Last year Stan had surgery for batter stones, was diagnosed with Cytinuria. He also had his spleen removed due to a reason they saw in surgery, which was benign. They did various diagnostic imaging, but I am not sure what is relevant to this condition. Stan was also neutered (at nine years old), as recommended by Davis, as there is a possible association testosterone with this condition.

    I agree its not at all clear what is causing Stan's panting. Some this were consistent, and some not so much (e.g., liver enzymes not elevated, or even on the low end of normal). The vet (around April 20) though it might be a urinary infection due to his elevated white blood counts and bacteria in his urine, but he pulled back on this after the urine culture. Besides the panting, we had the feeling Stan was drinking more, and more hungry, however I cannot give you actual measurements.

    Stan's vet called in response to my updates on his breathing suggesting a chest x-ray. Maybe to rule out a tumor and look pulmonary fibrosis diagnostic, though for that a CT seems better, but maybe very expensive, idk.

    Anyway, it seems that you guys do not immediate recognize breathing like Stan's as a common Cushing's symptom. Right?

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Georgia
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    14,130

    Default Re: rapid breathing?

    Hello, and welcome from me, too. You’ve already done a great job as far as identifying the labwork that is both consistent and inconsistent with Cushing’s. Based on the inconsistencies — especially those liver values — I personally don’t see Cushing’s as being too likely. While panting is a common Cushing’s symptom, the rapid respiration that you’re describing sounds somewhat different to me. A chest x-ray does sound like a reasonable next step. And you’re very lucky to be within reach of UC Davis if more involved diagnostics end up being warranted.

    Do keep us in the loop, though, even if Cushing’s ends up being ruled out. We’ll be anxious to know what happens with Stan, regardless, and the information you gain may also be helpful to others who come here struggling to clarify a diagnosis.

    Marianne

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: rapid breathing?

    Thank you Marianne,
    I will let you know. btw, Stan had x-rays 17 months ago when he had bladder stones, with no abnormalities in his lungs noted. I looked at these pictures today, and his lungs were clearly imaged in some of the views, and looked healthy compared to aged matched normal and fibrotic lung reference images I found on the web (as far as my un-professional impression goes!).
    Thanks again!

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