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Dyspnea (Trouble Breathing) in Dogs

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Other Causes

  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia, which is abnormal development of adult cells
  • Acidosis
  • Anemia, hypoxemia or hemoglobin abnormality
  • Neurologic (brain, spinal cord) lesions that alter ventilation
  • Neuromuscular weakness or disease
  • Rupture or paralysis of the diaphragm, including diaphragmatic hernia
  • Flail chest or rib fractures
  • Severe ascites or abdominal space occupying lesion
  • Drugs, such as steroids that may cause panting, phenobarbital, preservatives in injectables

    Lung Disorders

  • Pneumonia

  • Pulmonary edema from electrocution, airway obstruction, seizures, smoke inhalation, aspiration of gastric contents into the lungs, pulmonary embolism (the sudden blocking of an artery by a clot or foreign material), heartworm thrombus, drug reaction, uremia (an excess of waste products in the blood when the kidneys are not working properly) and DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation)

  • Pulmonary hemorrhage (heavy bleeding into the lung) from trauma; rodenticide coagulopathy, which is a disorder of blood coagulation due to ingestion of rodent poison; DIC; disseminated pulmonary neoplasia (tumor)

  • Pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of lung tissue)

    Tumors and Mass Lesions

  • Nasal tumor
  • Pharyngeal/tonsillar tumor or polyps
  • Laryngeal tumor or polyp
  • Chondromatous hematoma of the trachea
  • Tracheal adenocarcinoma (cancer)
  • Lymphoma (cancer of lymphoid tissue) in the respiratory tree, lung, mediastinum or lymphatics
  • Thymoma (disease or cancer of the thymus)
  • Primary lung tumors (carcinomas)
  • Metastatic (pertaining to the transfer of disease from one organ or part to another not directly related to it) lung tumors
  • Cardiac or heartbase tumors

    Cardiac and Vascular Diseases

  • Left bronchial compression from left atrial dilatation
  • Left-sided congestive heart failure (pulmonary edema and/or pleural effusion)
  • Heartworm disease (canine)
  • Pericardial disease (disease of the sac enclosing the heart and the roots of the great vessels)
  • Heartbase tumors
  • Pulmonary thromboembolism (blood clot in the lungs)
  • Air embolism (e.g. with IV lines or urinary negative contrast studies)

    Diseases of the Mediastinum and of the Pleural Space

  • Mediastinal mass, which is a mass in the tissues and organs separating the two lungs, including lymphoma, thymoma and teratoma

  • Thymic hemorrhage

  • Hilar lymphadenopathy (disease of the lymph nodes) with bronchial compression. These include mycosis (any disease caused by fungi), granulomatous lung diseases, lymphoma and other neoplasms.
  • Pleural effusion caused by:

    - Congestive heart failure (CHF)
    - Hydrothorax (fluid in the pleural cavity that encases the lungs and thoracic cavity)
    - Chylothorax (milky fluid in the chest)
    - Hemothorax (collection of blood in the chest)
    - Pyothorax (accumulation of pus in the chest)
    - Pneumothorax (entry of air into the chest)
    - Metastatic neoplasia (tumor)
    - Pleuropneumonia (pneumonia accompanied by inflammation of the pleura)
    - Pulmonary embolism
    - Diffuse lymphatic dysplasia
    - Protein losing enteropathy (disease of the intestine)
    - Idiopathic pleuritis
    - Idiopathic pleural effusion

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