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What is Noisy Breathing?

When a dog has a noisy breathing problem, we as pet owners, cannot easily dismiss it. Not only is the sound disturbing, the actions of our pets as they deal with uncomfortable breathing is a concern as well. Noisy breathing is described as stertor and stridor. Stertor is an inspiratory snoring or gasp. Stridor is is a raspy, wheezing, or vibrating sound upon inhalation (most common) and exhalation.

Noisy breathing can be an indication of many different medical issues. When a dog has a breathing abnormality, whether acquired or congenital, this means an indication of a respiratory issue, which should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

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Noisy Breathing Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $4,000

Average Cost

$950

Symptoms of Noisy Breathing in Dogs

Noisy breathing can be displayed in many ways; the causes for why your dog is breathing with a raspy sound can range from mild to serious. Always see your veterinarian for any changes in your pet’s breathing patterns.

  • Open mouth breathing
  • Exercise intolerance
  •  Restlessness
  • Noise upon inhalation, exhalation or both
  • Coughing
  • Snorting
  • Gagging
  • Labored, difficult breathing (dyspnea)
  • You may see movement of the chest
  • The sounds may be heard even at a distance
  • Snoring
  • He may be asymptomatic at rest, and only breathe noisily during exertion, or he may make the noises all of the time
  • Change or loss of bark
  • There may be a nasal discharge
  • He may have blue mucus membranes (cyanosis)

Types

 

Abnormal breathing will result when air passes through areas that may be affected with disease or malformation.

Nares and nasal cavity

  • The nose openings, the nasal cavity, and internal nares open to the pharynx

Nasopharynx

 

  • Connects the windpipe with pharynx above the soft palate

Pharynx

  • Connects the mouth and the nasal passages with the esophagus

Larynx

  • Connects the pharynx to the trachea, and is also known as the voice box

Trachea

  • Connects the larynx to the lungs, and is commonly called the windpipe
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Causes of Noisy Breathing in Dogs

The causes of stertor and stridor in dogs are many. Some are congenital (present at birth), while others may be acquired due to illness or trauma. Always consult your veterinarian if you notice that your canine family member is having a breathing issue. A few of the causes you may want to have your veterinary care team investigate are listed below.

Nares and nasal cavity

  • Neoplasia (new, uncontrolled tissue growth)
  • Foreign body
  • Collapsed nostrils (stenotic flares)
  • Chronic nasal disease like rhinitis

Nasopharynx

  • Neoplasia
  • Foreign body
  • Nasopharyngeal stenosis (results in poor airflow when the mouth is closed)
  • Polyps

Pharynx

  • Neoplasia
  • Abscess
  • Tonsillar prolapse
  • Retropharyngeal lymphadenopathy (enlargement at the back of the throat)
  • Soft palate elongation

Larynx

  • Neoplasia
  • Laryngeal paralysis (breeds congenitally prone are Bouvier des Flandres, Dalmatian, Siberian Husky, Bulldog and Bull Terrier, while  breeds prone to acquire the paralysis are Saint Bernard, Great Pyrenees, Labrador Retriever, Irish Setter and Great Dane)
  • Laryngeal collapse
  • Everted laryngeal saccules (masses between the vocal folds)

Trachea

  • Tracheal stenosis (windpipe becomes narrow or constricted)
  • Tracheal collapse (tracheal loss of rigidity and prevention of airflow to the lungs, seen in Yorkshire Terriers, Poodles, and Pomeranians) 
  • Foreign object

It should be noted that Brachycephalic syndrome is common to breeds classified as such; the complications are a combination of the elongated soft palate, the stenotic nares, and the everted laryngeal saccules. Breeds predisposed are the Bulldog, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, Chow Chow, Pug, Lhasa Apso, Boxer, Shar Pei, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and Boston Terrier.

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Diagnosis of Noisy Breathing in Dogs

Sometimes our family pets become very excited when they walk through the veterinary clinic doors. Whether it is the elation about the outing or the stress of the clinical visit, the excitement will perhaps exacerbate the noisy breathing that is already present. While waiting in the reception area of the clinic, try to calm your pet if he is so enthusiastic that the veterinarian will have a difficult time assessing the problem.

Give your veterinarian as much information as possible. Let her know the changes that you have seen in your furry family member, such as a difference in his bark or exercise tolerance. Tell the veterinarian if your pet has had any accidents or trauma of late. As she listens with the stethoscope, your veterinary caregiver might hear sounds that will provide clues as to if there is an obstruction or abnormality.

Radiographs of the head, neck, lungs, and chest may give some insight. Sometimes an elongated palate or a polyp on the windpipe could be evident. Fluoroscopy, which can clearly show the cardiorespiratory system, may be suggested. Further diagnostic tools, like the ultrasound or the computed tomography (CT) scan could be invaluable to assessing the noisy breathing.

In addition, a complete blood count, biochemical profile, and urinalysis will be done to add information to the health evaluation of your dog.

If absolutely necessary, a pharyngoscopy or laryngoscopy will be considered. This will clearly show anatomical changes, but will only be done if the risk of complication (such as airway collapse) is low. Rest assured, if the veterinary team feels this must be done in order to fully diagnose the reason for the stertor and stridor, your pet will be carefully monitored, and the team will be prepared for intervention measures if required.

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Treatment of Noisy Breathing in Dogs

Treating the cause of noisy breathing is important, especially if there is risk of respiratory collapse or secondary complications like hyperthermia, aspiration pneumonia, or consistent regurgitation.

Surgical measures are usually what is needed to correct noisy breathing problems. Shortening of an elongated palate, removal of obstructionive polyps, enlarging of nasal openings, and foreign body removal are all possibilities that can bring dramatic improvement for your beloved pet. Your veterinary specialist and her team will discuss with you the best options, cost, prognosis, and aftercare.

Of course, if when you bring your dog into the clinic the situation has already reached critical stages, emergency measures will be taken to permit your dog to breathe more easily, once he has been stabilized.

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Recovery of Noisy Breathing in Dogs

Once your pet has been released from the hospital, it is essential that you provide a quiet resting place. A soft bed would be a nice feature to offer your recovering pet. There will be pain medication and antibiotics prescribed, and exercise will be forbidden for 2 weeks. You may notice that your pet still makes noise when he breathes. This is normal, and will last for a week or two because of the swelling at the surgical site. Your veterinarian will advise you on follow up appointments in which to verify that all is well.

As for the future, it is in the best interest of your dog to remain at a weight healthy for his stature. Over strenuous exercise, stress, and exposure to extreme heat and high temperatures must be avoided.

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Noisy Breathing Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $4,000

Average Cost

$950

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Noisy Breathing Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Pitbull

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Ten Weeks

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Unknown severity

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5 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

Puppy is making a popping noise on inhale and exhale while asleep

Sept. 8, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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5 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It can take some time for the nasal passages and Bones of puppies to develop, and they can also develop infections or parasites. If this is something that has just started happening, or he also is breathing loudly when awake, then it would be best to have him seen by your veterinarian. If it only happens when you sleeping, and he seems fine otherwise it is probably something that you can just mentioned that his next vaccine appointment. I hope that all goes well for you.

Sept. 8, 2020

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American Bully

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Three Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

My American bully puppy sounds like she’s having difficulty breathing I know these dogs snore but she said like she’s actually having a problem breathing

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If your puppy is actually having problems breathing, she needs to be seen by a veterinarian. Since I can't see her, they would be able to assess her breathing, see if it is normal for her breed or if she actually has a problem, and get treatment if she needs it. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 4, 2020

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English Springer Spaniel

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Ten Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

Sounds like he is snoring when he is awake

Aug. 3, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is possible that he has some upper respiratory congestion, infection, allergies, or a parasite. If this is something that does not seem to be getting better, it would be best to have him seen by your veterinarian. They can examine him, see what might be going on, and see what treatment he needs. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 3, 2020

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Pomeranian Mix

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Four Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

My dog had an allergic reaction today and he received a steroid shot at the vets office. Now when he’s asleep he has labored breathing. Is this still a side affect of his swelling from his allergic reaction or perhaps a reaction from the steroid? Or is this cause for another concern?

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Labored breathing can be a problem if dogs are painful or feverish, and that may be a side effect of the vaccinations. Labored breathing itself is not a side effect of vaccinations, and if he is having a problem breathing, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian right away. They will be able to examine him, see what might be going on, and get treatment if needed. I hope that he is okay.

Aug. 2, 2020

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Pomeranian Mixed

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4 months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

I took my dog to the vet today and he got rabies, nobivac, intra-tac, and leptosira. A few hours later he had an allergic reaction and I took him back to the vet. He received a steroid shot. He has labored breathing now and he didn’t before. I that a side effect?

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Labored breathing can be a problem if dogs are painful or feverish, and that may be a side effect of the vaccinations. Labored breathing itself is not a side effect of vaccinations, and if he is having a problem breathing, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian right away. They will be able to examine him, see what might be going on, and get treatment if needed. I hope that he is okay.

Aug. 2, 2020

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Poppy

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Morkie

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4 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Panting

Our 4year old Morkie seems very healthy and normal except when she is exerted, like when running hard playing fetch. She will be panting which I consider normal except her pant will be very harsh sounding. When she is not exerted and panting like when she is excited it sounds normal

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CH Chinook Wind (we just call her Breez)

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Brittany (Spaniel)

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8 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Loud Noise In Lungs

So i was listening closely to my dogs chest and it sounded like a goose. I have no idea what it could be, beacuse the sound is lower than the treancha I have no idea. I don't want it to be something serious but this scares me. I don't want it to be something serious like lung collapse or something so I'm genuinely worried.

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Penny

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Beagle

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Snoring
Wheezing
Scratching
Red Eyes

Recently adopted a 6 year old beagle, who has been wheezing on inhale without any exertion. Sounds like a snore, but can hear rasping in her chest as well. She also has very red eyes after walks, and often paws at them as if they're itchy. Owner handed over complete vet history and no signs of any infection or previous allergies - could it be something in her new home? Visiting vet next week but wpuld like to give her some relief in the interim.

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Doggy B

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Pomeranian

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1 Year

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Congested

Hi! My name is Amanda, my 1 year and a half pomeranian was diagnosed with kannel cough 3 weeks ago. He took the antibiotics and the cough syrup for 2 weeks. now he started to breathe like he is congested, and every time that i get home, the traqueia noise is worse, like he really needs more time to catch up the air. Is it possible that he still with the disease, theres any natural things i could be giving to him or just take him back to the vet for more antibiotics?

Noisy Breathing Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $4,000

Average Cost

$950

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