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Breathing Difficulties in Pets: Causes and Emergency Treatment Options

Difficulty breathing signals a problem with the respiratory system. The respiratory system brings oxygen into the body and removes carbon dioxide. A healthy respiratory system is essential for your health and well-being. It plays a vital role in supporting the body's various functions. These include maintaining proper blood pressure, pH balance, and body temperature.


What Are Breathing Difficulties in Pets?


Breathing difficulties refer to any respiratory distress or difficulty breathing. Several factors can cause this problem. These include infections, allergies, foreign bodies, and underlying medical conditions such as heart disease or lung cancer.




Symptoms of breathing difficulties in pets may include the following:

  • Open-mouth breathing.

  • Rapid or labored breathing.

  • Excessive panting.

  • Bluish gums ortonguese due to a lack of oxygen.

  • Discharge from the nose or eyes.

  • Coughing or sneezing.


Causes of Breathing Difficulties in Pets


Breathing problems in pets can stem from various factors, including the following:

  • Respiratory infections, such as pneumonia or bronchitis, can cause breathing complications. Viruses, bacteria, or parasites can cause these infections.

  • Foreign bodies that lodge in the airways, such as grass seeds or bits of food, can cause breathing problems in pets.

  • Certain types of heart disease, such as congestive heart failure, can cause breathing problems in pets.

  • Lung cancer can cause this problem in pets, as the cancerous tumors can obstruct the airways.

  • Allergies can cause airway inflammation, leading to breathing difficulties. Common allergens include pollen, mold, dust, and certain foods.

  • Conditions such as asthma or chronic bronchitis can also cause breathing difficulties.

It is crucial to work with a veterinarian to determine the specific cause of the problem. They will develop an appropriate treatment plan for your furry pal.


Emergency Treatment Options


Is your animal companion experiencing breathing problems? If so, it is best to seek immediate veterinary care. In the meantime, there are some emergency treatment options that you can consider.

If you suspect your pet has inhaled a foreign object, such as a grass seed or piece of food, try gently removing it if it is visible. Try to keep your pet as calm as possible, as agitation can worsen the problem.

If your pet is experiencing severe breathing difficulties, you may need to provide oxygen until you can get to a veterinarian. You can use a pet oxygen mask, if available, or cover your pet's nose and mouth with a towel or blanket and gently blow into it.

If your pet is on medications for a preexisting respiratory condition, such as asthma or chronic bronchitis, ensure you follow the prescribed treatment plan. It is important to remember that these are only temporary measures; do not consider them a substitute for veterinary care.




If you suspect your furry friend is experiencing breathing difficulties, it is best to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. If left untreated, this problem can be life-threatening. A veterinarian will perform a detailed examination and may recommend diagnostic tests, such as X-rays or bloodwork, to determine the cause of the breathing difficulties. They will then develop an appropriate treatment plan.

For more pet care tips, contact Emergency Pet Hospital of Redlands at our office in Redlands, California, at (909) 793-5999.