Respiratory Noise in Dogs

In most cases it is the result of some type of blockage but it could also be the result of an infection

Noisy breathing or respiratory noise in dogs can result in an increased effort on the part of your pet just to breathe properly.

It also produces a lot of stress in your dog as the chances are very high that there is an increased resistance in their throat or the windpipe which is restricting their air.

This resistance is generally caused by the narrowing of the pharynx, which is the throat, or the larynx, which is the upper part of your dog’s windpipe.

It will produce two different very alarming sounds; a stertor or a stridor sound and when you hear these sounds your dog can very easily be deprived of air and may be very close to collapsing as they fight for air just to breathe.

Respiratory noise in dogs is usually very easily to identify if you understand the sounds to listen for.

The first sound you may hear is what is referred to as stertor, which is a low pitched sound that sounds almost like your dog is snoring, even when they are awake.

This sound is the result of vibrations coming from either soft or weak tissues or by fluid, and is almost always the result of an obstruction of some kind.

As this respiratory noise in dog increases, it will become very apparent when your pet is asleep as it becomes much louder.

The next sound is referred to as a stridor, which is almost exactly the opposite.

It is a very high pitched sound and is the result of the vibration of rigid tissues that are also being restricted.

This sound may be caused by a blockage of the airways, but can also be the result of an infection in the respiratory system.

In humans, it would be very similar to the sound that is made with the croup and it may cause your dog’s noise to run as well as coughing to occur.

Coughing in dogs is perhaps the most dangerous sound that you will ever hear and should never be ignored.

In the normal breathing process, as your dog inhales, fresh air moves through their nose or mouth where it than goes into the pharynx and larynx, and then proceeds into the trachea.

From there it is carried into the bronchi, which in turn supplies it to your dog’s lungs.

Air exchange than occurs in your dog’s alveoli, which is also called an air sac, where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place.

Once this occurs, the used air follows the same path, but in reverse. It then exits out of your dog’s nose or their mouth.

The breathing process in your dog is relatively simple, until something interferes with the process and results in respiratory noise in dogs.

Symptoms:

Respiratory noise in dogs will have some very distinct and identifiable symptoms. The first symptom that you will see will be an increased effort by your dog to breath.

This may not be noticeable at first, until you hear one of the two sounds.

Once this occurs, they are usually followed by your dog coughing.

Once the coughing starts, you need to examine any of your dog’s mucus membranes.

The mucus membranes are any of the linings of your dog’s body that communicates with the air supply and it could range from the mouth to their anus.

These linings are moist and rely on the entire process to stay healthy.

If you see a blue color to any of these membranes, especially the lips, they may be very near the next symptom, which is a partial or complete collapse.

Causes:

There are several potential causes of respiratory noise in dogs, but the most common is called laryngeal paralysis.

Laryngeal paralysis is most common in large breeds and is a condition where the nerves and the muscles that help operate the larynx cease to function properly.

Instead of opening during any type of a vigorous inspiration, or closing during the swallowing process, these nerves and muscles hang loose, almost in a neutral position.

This leads to inadequate ventilation by your dog in any type of exercise and when they get hot at all, the panting process does not ventilate properly.

As a result, the swallowing process also becomes compromised and all of these conditions can result in aspiration pneumonia.

The first symptom you will see with this condition is the stertor sound as well as coughing.

Another potential cause of respiratory noise in dogs is a condition made up of several disorders, called brachycephalic syndrome.

It affects short nose breeds with wide heads that include English bulldogs, Boston terriers, Pugs, and Pekingese.

This syndrome causes resistance to the airflow through the nose and larynx, and it is caused by the shortness of these breeds bones in their face.

Because of the short bones, they do not have the same proportionate overlying soft tissues and this often compromises the flow in their airway.

The next potential cause is called Acromegaly.

This is the abnormal enlargement of your dog’s extremities as the result of the overproduction of growth hormones.

With this disorder, there is an abnormal release of a particular chemical from your dog’s pituitary gland.

This is located in the brain that causes increased growth in the bone and soft tissues.

Although this is rare in dogs, it is especially dangerous as it also alters your dog’s ability to process fats and sugars.

However, outside of laryngeal paralysis, perhaps the leading cause of respiratory noise in dogs is from edema, which is the accumulation of large amounts of fluid in the circulatory system or between the body’s cells.

It can affect the palate area of your dog, as well as the pharynx and larynx.

Although it is a secondary condition, meaning it is the result of another condition, it is still very dangerous.

The actual cause may be an upper respiratory infection or a hemorrhage, but it can also be the result of a coughing. It must be reiterated again on how dangerous coughing is in your dog.

Coughing can be a byproduct of another condition that has caused the respiratory noise in your dog, or it can be the contributing cause that produces conditions like edema.

Edema is a situation where the normal body balance of liquids that enter and leave the body is disrupted and it causes either too much fluid to enter into the blood vessels or tissues, or does not move enough liquid back into the blood vessels.

The sound that you will hear with this respiratory noise is definitely the stertor noise as there is fluid involved.

Summary:

Respiratory noise in dogs is never a good sound, but if you learn the different sounds that it makes and identify them very early, there are several forms of treatments that can help you dog unless it is structural problem.

But even with structural problems, surgery may help to relive these breathing difficulties, but only if your catch it early.


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