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Brachycephalic Syndrome – Owners of Flat-Faced Dogs Beware!

Have you seen the viral post that’s been going around this summer written by a woman in England who lost her adorable French bulldog to Heat Stroke? As you might imagine, this story and the events it describes saddens me… but not only for the reason you might imagine.

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Topics: Dog Health, Brachycephalic, Breathing problems

Police Hero or Dog Rescuer? Both!

We animal lovers know the feeling when your pet is sick and you feel helpless.  Well, imagine if your dog is struggling to breathe, desperately gasping for what could be his last breath while you're otherwise helplessly racing to get him to the vet!

One Texas woman didn’t have to imagine this horrific scenario — it actually happened to Carolina and her 13-year-old dog, Scrappy, who had recently been diagnosed with Laryngeal Paralysis.

She "put the pedal to the metal" and was stopped by a patrolling Dallas police officer, who by the way has a series of (crime) prevention tips on YouTube - a kindred spirit for us at Preventive Vet - anyway, he didn't miss a beat. He grabbed Scrappy and took both of them to the Animal ER, stat! Likely saving Scrappy’s life, and definitely saving Carolina quite a bit of distress and anxiety!

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Topics: Dog Emergency, Dog Behavior, Dog Roar, Laryngeal Paralysis, My dog sounds hoarse, My dog is coughing, Larpar, Raspy breathing, Breathing problems, Respiratory problems, My dog is gagging often, Police Hero, Dog Rescuer

Rat & Mouse Baits—Dangerous For Cats & Dogs... Know the signs

Many cats and dogs will be the first to take the bait

Each autumn and winter, there is a concerning rise of dog and cat poisonings due to rat and mouse poisons (rodenticides) that are seen in veterinary hospitals and animal ERs throughout the world.

With the declining temperatures and summer’s food bounty going away, rats and mice start seeking shelter and food in our homes, garages, sheds, and barns. To combat them, many people will put out rodenticides — chemicals and “baits” designed to kill rats and mice.

Unfortunately, cats and dogs will often be the first to take the bait. And as if that weren't enough, they can also be affected by eating poisoned rodents! Signs of rodenticide toxicity can be seen within hours to days, depending on the type of rodenticide used. Common clinical signs include:

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, toxicity, toxicity in cats, Dog Emergency, Kidney Failure, poison control for dogs, Cat Emergency, Toxicity in dogs, Poison control, Poison control for cats, Breathing problems, Seizures, Rat Bait, Lethargy, Internal Bleeding, Coughing, Rodenticides, Vomitting

Laryngeal Paralysis in Dogs

Does your dog roar?  This may seem like a weird question, but the answer is actually quite important.

Of course, I’m not talking about an actual “roar” like a lion does. I’m talking about a loud, raspy breathing pattern, which may indicate a common condition, especially in older dogs, called Laryngeal Paralysis (“LP” or “LarPar” for short) - a very serious, but correctable condition.

Some common signs of LarPar include:

  • Change in bark (more hoarse sounding)
  • Loud, raspy breathing noise, especially when breathing in - see video example here.
  • More easily “winded,” even following mild exertion or exercise
  • Frequent coughing or gagging

In normal canine anatomy, there are two pieces of cartilage that cover and protect the airway (trachea) from food, water, and other “non-air” items gaining access. In this respect, these two pieces of cartilage, the arytenoid cartilages, function like French doors, actively opening (abducting) when the dog breathes in, while actively closing (adducting) during swallowing.

In cases of Laryngeal Paralysis, one or both of the arytenoids fails to open fully during the breathing in (inspiratory) phase of respiration. This results in a much more narrow opening through which the dog can breathe - which, as you might suspect, is a serious problem. Which would you rather breathe through when snorkeling - a garden hose or a cocktail straw? You can think of dogs with LP constantly having to breathe through the straw.

Dogs with LP are at increased risk of a variety of conditions and complications, most notably:

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Topics: Dog Behavior, Dog Tips, Dog Roar, Laryngeal Paralysis, My dog sounds hoarse, My dog is coughing, Larpar, Raspy breathing, Breathing problems, Respiratory problems, My dog is gagging often

Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.