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Pitbull with difficult breathing

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Our question this week was:

I have an 11-year-old pitbull that recently changed dramatically in many ways. She has had extreme difficult time breathing. She breathes extremely hard and loud. When she inhales, her ribs protrude a lot. Her eyes are also dark red. Aside from these symptoms, she does not desire to eat very much at all. Today, she has sat in the same spot for over 7 hours and it is well past nine o' clock at night. She does not want to come to anybody nor me. It is as if she does not want us to know she is suffering.

What is going on?

Ben Azad


Hi – thanks for your email. You described that your 11-year-old pitbull is having difficulty breathing and has a lack of appetite. These are very serious symptoms and sounds as if they are life-threatening.

There are several cause for difficulty breathing including heart failure, lung disease, heart worm disease, bleeding abnormalities and cancer just to name a few.

The best thing to do is to see your local veterinarian or go to your local veterinary emergency clinic immediately. This sounds like it is life-threatening.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our is "Dyspnea (Difficulty Breathing in Dogs)"

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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