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Rapid Breathing/Panting?
jwd50 posted:
My 13 1/2 yo yellow lab has a cancerous spinal tumor and his condition has been manageable for several months, although he doesn't walk. We carry him around and he has a cart. Today after consulting with the vet we increased his pain medication. He has had one dose of the increase and it's been 7 hours since his 1 pm meds. He's panting this because it's almost time for his next round of meds, meaning he's having breakthrough pain, or is this a sign of too much pain meds, even tho' it's only been one extra dose? He's on many meds, including prednisone, gabapentin and tramadol. Thanks for any help you may give me. I know it's only a matter of time, until the ultimate decision, but I want to do the right thing now.
MikkieKim responded:
Give him extra water, to start. Many meds cause extra thirst. Make sure he has all-hours access to lots of water. Since he can't move on his own, take him to the water bowl every 3 hours to offer it to him, or bring the water to him. (Except overnight, but do offer it right before sleep.)

No way to know exactly what is wrong, but some pain meds can affect breathing function (opioids in high doses do this -- dangerous). Please don't let your dog suffer needlessly. Consider his overall quality of life, and see if this is the way you would want to live. It sounds like the most humane thing might be to let him go to doggie heaven. I know you love him very much. Good luck.
Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS responded:
Panting can be a sign of many things and it is very hard to evaluate from a distance. It can be pain, excitement, heat, anxiety, and on and on. You and your veterinarian know your dog the best and it will be a lot more productive to discuss concerns with your veterinarian. You certainly are doing the right thing now and it is obvious that you are taking great care of your dog.


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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