It’s better to be proven wrong with us than proven right at home.

Labored or Rapid Breathing

Our pets pant when they are excited or its hot outside. When they are breathing with short rapid breaths at rest, or cats breathe with their mouth open, it can be a sign of underlying serious illnesses.

Any number of diseases within the chest can cause short breaths. Fluid can fill around the lungs, the heart can enlarge, or a growth can form that reduced the space needed to breath appropriately.

Anemia from infections, autoimmune disease, internal bleeding, or any other cause will also make pets breath rapidly.

Heatstroke is always possible and life threatening. If your dog doesn’t want to get up and keep playing while breathing hard in the sun, help cool them down or call us if they don’t seem to get comfortable.

The list of possibilities goes on but the most important thing to remember is that difficulty breathing is a critical condition that needs thorough assessment immediately.

Pale or Blue Tinted Gums

Frequently, but not always, animals that have pale or blue tinged gums are also experiencing shortness of breath. There are a few basic physiologic causes that can make gums pale or blue, like being very cold, but most causes are more significant.

The color of their gums can be the initial sign that there is a serious underlying condition affecting the red blood cell numbers and it could soon lead to labored breathing.

Do not hesitate to have your loved one seen by a veterinarian should you see this, especially if they are acting abnormal in any way.

Enlarged Abdomen—Is it a GDV? (Gastric Dilation Volvulus)

The term “Acute Abdomen” is used for a number of disorders causing abdominal discomfort. A pets stomach can be hard and appear painful or become large and look fluid filled. The possibilities are very broad, ranging from a sprained back, pancreatitis, metabolic conditions effecting the blood, UTI’s, and even cancers.

If your pet has a large tense abdomen and looks uncomfortable or has vomited it is good to have them seen as soon as possible. The worst case scenario, a Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) is time dependent and needs to be addressed within a few hours to provide the best prognosis.

We will guide you through some diagnostics, ruling out life threatening ailment or treating them immediately should they be identified.

Unwilling or Unable to Stand

Pets love to show us their best selves. When an animal is not willing to get up or cannot stand up the cause is usually significant.

  • Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) can cause paralysis that can become permanent if it’s not addressed in a timely manner. 
  • Severe dehydration from various metabolic diseases can be so severe that your loved one barely moves. In many cases IV fluid therapy can be life saving and necessary get the body to return to function. 

Waiting can make hospitalization and therapy more involved and prolonged with many illness and time is of the essence. When you veterinarian steps in during initial illness it may not feel like it was a necessary step but it may be the care that limited disease progression and more critical illness. 

Ongoing Seizures

When seizure activity continues it can become life threatening quickly. If the cause of the seizures are due to internal electrolyte imbalances they need to be corrected immediately.

When they last longer than a couple of minutes heat stroke becomes a major concern! You can put cool wet towels on the abdomen and feet to help keep them cool on their way to see a veterinarian immediately.

Heat stroke is life threatening and causes serious damage to the body. Treating heatstroke is complex and can become impossible if it lasts too long.

Fainting or Collapse

When an animal is unsteady on their feet, falls down or faints it is rarely a simple accident. Causes can range from toxin ingestion to heart disease. During the summer heat stroke can be a significant concern as well as smaller focal seizures. Other possibilities include metabolic conditions such as an Addisonian crisis or Myesthenia gravis. 

The body is a complex system with a number of factors that can lead to weakness. An evaluation is necessary to look at electrolyte imbalances or organ failures that would disrupt function. Do not wait for an evaluation since some of these issues can become very critical and become more costly to treat if they progress.