We're new with questions

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We're new with questions

Postby Abby's Mom » Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:41 pm

Hi- I'm Wendy, Mom to a 10 year old Brittany, 2 bassets, and a pound puppy :)

We have had Abby since a pup- She is hyper... her nickname was Wild Child... Currently her nickname is Crabby Abby :( I'm guessing it's age realted issues we are dealing with but wanted to see is any of you had other thoughts. She has always been a "panter" breathing very heavy when excited. It has gotten much worse in recent months to the point we have to turn up the tv or put her in a quiet room because we can't hear over her breathing. She has a senior exam in May and was pronounced just fine- heart, lungs, blood work- She was put on Rimadyl; for arthritis stiffness but otherwise the vet says she's just fine. He said the panting was related to her breed- She was just excited... But it is all the time except when she is sleeping- I don't want to be ignoring something I shouldn't- She is active, eating- a bit more crabby with the other critters but has been for the last several months. Is this a common trait to older Brittanys?
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Re: We're new with questions

Postby Barb Wright » Mon Jun 26, 2006 9:27 pm

Welcome to our discussion group.....always very happy to have another Brittany person join us :D

Abby's Mom wrote:.... She has always been a "panter" breathing very heavy when excited. It has gotten much worse in recent months.....


So, because you noticed it and mentioned it, it must not be just when she is excited? Is this going on while she is lying quietly, just after exercise, or constantly?

...The vet.....he said the panting was related to her breed


Sorry, but that is pure nonsense.

.... a bit more crabby with the other critters but has been for the last several months....


If she is experiencing discomfort from arthritis, or anything else medical, then she will be fussy. This is common to ALL OLDER DOGS, not just Brittanys. If she is on Rimadyl it will relieve the pain and discomfort for certain periods of time, but will wear off. See if there is a pattern to when she has had it and when she starts acting uncomfortable. Also, have you read the Client Information Sheet on the the possible adverse reactions to Rimadyl??? Very important that you know what to look for when giving this drug :!:

JMPO but if she is panting when she has not been exercising or from any other stimuli, then something is wrong.....some kind of pain would be my first thought. On the other hand, if she is able to sleep peacefully all night long that sort of rules out pain, but could still be related to stress of some kind during waking hours. What else if "off" about her demeanor?....there must be some situation that gets this going....am thinking we need some more info about her life style, and any changes that may have taken place in the last few months, to make some guesses and suggestions.

Other members will weigh in on this I am sure :D Hopefully we can help you get a handle on this :) Or, you may need to go to a second Vet for a second opinion..... panting for no obvious or apparent reason is a health issue.
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Postby Lisa » Mon Jun 26, 2006 9:52 pm

Welcome! I second Barb on what she said....both the welcome, and the "pure nonsense" about panting being related to the breed. I've met many older Brits that were prefectly capable of not panting to the point of driving one batty.

Panting could be related to a lot of things....pain, tiredness, difficulty breathing, thyroid problems, cushing's disease, diabetes, being overweight....well, you get the idea. Personally, if my vet just dismissed it out of hand, I'd be looking for a new vet (or at least a second opinion). If it's severe enough for you to notice and question it, then it's a problem.

As for the arthritis, you might try giving a supplement such as Arthroplex and you might be able to give smaller doses of Rimadyl.
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Postby swillow66 » Mon Jun 26, 2006 10:45 pm

Welcome and elcome again! Caring for senior dogs does take a special and patient touch, which sounds like you have.
This is a great website http://www.srdogs.com/Pages/care.fr.html

It does mention that panting can indicate a heart problem. Sometimes things can change rather quickly in older dogs so you might want to check back with your vet. Nice to know you already did blood work, so that should give you a good baseline if things are changing. Barb and Lisa are great health resources, like them I'd be concerned that something is going on.

Also, do you think it could be from the heat? Sometimes older dogs are more uncomfortable in it. We had a Golden and as she aged, the less she could handle and tolerate being hot. Sometimes a little fan blowing on them can bring some relief.

Good luck and PLEASE keep us informed what you find out!
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Postby Dave » Mon Jun 26, 2006 11:03 pm

Welcome !!
It is ludicrious about the panting , I've owned 6 Brittanys over 17 years and several to the end at old age . I would have her kidney functions checked if they already weren't . Acidosis can cause panting and panting helps relieve them of some if the kidney function isn't up to par . Many other tests also , thyroid being top . Anyway get a second opinion .

We are always glad to have other Brittany owners join us . Actually 10 really isn't that old in a Britt , mine lived to 15 and 17.5 years . My girls that is , my boys were sick fosters I adopted and lived to 9 and 13 . 8) Dave
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Postby Helen E. » Tue Jun 27, 2006 12:25 am

Welcome! Panting can be a symptom of heart problems. Did the vet do a chest x-ray?

Three years ago, our 14 yr old britt had her yearly exam including senior blood profile, EKG, etc. Everything was fine and she wasn't on any medications. About one month later, she started panting heavily and sort of holding her head up higher than usual. She also wasn't as interested in her food. Took her back to the vet who listened to her heart, did a chest x-ray and said she had congestive heart failure. I've heard of many dogs doing well for a long time with the usual medications for CHF. Sadly, Bailey passed away 2 weeks later. We had only had her for 11 months (adopted from NBRAN).

Hopefully, your brit doesn't have anything this serious, but I would take her back to the vet and tell him it isn't a "breed" thing!

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Postby Cindy » Tue Jun 27, 2006 6:12 am

Ditto to what everyone has said!

a bit more crabby with the other critters but has been for the last several months. Is this a common trait to older Brittanys?


I can't imagine a Brittany ever being grumpy. My Annie and Jessie both lived to 15 and neither became grumpy. Maybe a little less tolerant of being bugged, but never grumpy.

Welcome to the board and please keep us posted.
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Postby HOPE » Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:58 pm

Welcome!!! Same as everyone, I would get a second opinion. I had a brit that lived 11.5 and started with Kidney problems and later Thyroid problems. When they gave him the thyroid medicine he began panting very strong and loudly and he would not stop. Luckily the vet suggested reducing the dose and it work. Panting is not a breed issue. :( Have her thyroid check too, that was the main problem when my Britt began doing that. I hope everything is fine and keep us posted.
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Postby plkoslov » Tue Jun 27, 2006 4:49 pm

I agree that grumpiness isn't an old-age trait (except in people.) :D
My 15-year-old Malone is definitely "showing" his age, but he is an absolute sweetheart!
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Postby Abby's Mom » Tue Jun 27, 2006 6:54 pm

Goodness- so many replies! Abby pants pretty much continuosly except when asleep- Just sitting beside me here at the computer she is panting away. It's worse when she is excited or anxious about something. The crabbiness is more a snarling or snapping at the other dogs usually if they get too close when she is sitting, or sometimes out of the blue if they startle her. The rimadyl has helped a lot with that- We do monitor liver because of the rimadyl. Is the arthroplex similar to glucosamine? She has a regular vet visit scheduled in August but it won't be difficult to move up- I had wondered about diabetes because she drinks lots and lots of water but her sugar was normal in May- I just hated running her in and having the vet look at me like I've lost it because she pants- I'm there quite frequently with the bassets! I have had two different vets tell me Abby is quite healthy except for some skin allergies and the arthritis- She is a very good girl- a bit stubborn- but quite smart! We love her dearly- but the panting has become a problem :( Thanks so much for the advice. I'll try and post a picture later- Wendy
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Postby Abby's Mom » Tue Jun 27, 2006 7:01 pm

Forgot to add- She sleeps fine through the night- She doesn't get up and down during the night. She wakes up and starts the panting and it goes on throughout the day. The only time we hear silence is when she is napping. There have been no changes in lifestyles or pets in more than a year. She eats everything- We have to pen her separate to feed the others because she will eat till all the dishes are empty- I think that answered everyone's questions!
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Postby Dave » Tue Jun 27, 2006 7:34 pm

Wendy ,
I don't want to sound like an alarmist , but what you are explaining are signs of renal failure . I've had quite a bit of experience with this malady in Brittanys and the two signs of frequent drinking and panting are signs . I forgot to ask if where you live is hot . This can explain some panting and more drinking . If you want to check her kidney functions just tell them and check her BUN and creatinin . Anyway food for thought . 8) Dave
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Postby Abby's Mom » Tue Jun 27, 2006 8:15 pm

I'll do that :( We are hot (Texas) but she has lived here her whole life and is indoors in a/c all during the day- I don't remember if kidney was checked when they did blood work a couple months ago- They did lots (lots $ too) but all was normal- I specifically remember the CBC and liver profile and chemistry-
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Postby Lisa » Tue Jun 27, 2006 9:22 pm

Is the arthroplex similar to glucosamine?


Similar, but I've had better results on it than a straight glucosamine supplement. It has some natural anti-inflammatories and other herbs to help with pain/joint problems. My girl has severe hip dysplasia, and has managed to put off surgery for almost 3 years now.

I just hated running her in and having the vet look at me like I've lost it because she pants-


Nah. It's what you pay them for. If you're worried, then it's their job to find the problem...or run sufficient tests so that you're not worried any more. Like Dave said, I'd have her kidney function checked. If you kept the blood profile that your vet ran, it should say on there if the BUN was checked or not. Usually, when I have a dog on Rimadyl, I do both liver and kidney.

We are hot (Texas) but she has lived here her whole life and is indoors in a/c all during the day


Me too! My dogs are inside all day as well, and I haven't noticed a significant increase in water consumption/panting.
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Postby Catharina » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:35 am

If you have the $$ to do it, I'd definitely get her thyroid levels checked. Clinical symptoms of thyroid problems are so variable and diffuse that it is really easy to overlook them or misdiagnose them as something else. The reason I'm thinking it's important for her to have a full thyroid panel done (more info on how this is different from what your vet could do in house in the previous thread, see link below) is that she has so many symptoms that could all fit:

skin problems (maybe allergies -- or could they be thyroid related? Does her coat seem dry or dull? Is there some hair loss, particularly on the back?),
panting (could be all kinds of things, including poor heat regulation due to thyroid problems),
crabbiness (could be pain, but could also be thyroid),
high appetite (could be anything, including thyroid),
drinking lots of water (could be many things, including thyroid).

If you can afford it, I'd pay the $100 or so to get this done -- if it really is a thyroid problem, medication could take care of all her problems and nothing else you do will help. If it isn't a thyroid problem, at least you have the peace of mind that you've ruled it out.

http://forum.americanbrittanyrescue.org/viewtopic.php?t=2247&highlight=thyroid
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