Pet owners can be trained to measure, record, and track their pet’s RRR and SRR at home to collect data that the veterinary team can use to assess cardiopulmonary status. Increased RRR and SRR may indicate early decompensation and the need for veterinary care before the next scheduled appointment. Early intervention (ie, before respiratory distress occurs) can help avoid costly hospitalization or death.
Several studies have demonstrated a correlation between increased RRR or SRR and congestive heart failure (CHF). A 2010 study that evaluated dogs with heart disease of varying severity found that in-hospital respiratory rates greater than 41 breaths/min were predictive of CHF.1 A subsequent study that investigated the ability of different parameters (eg, echocardiographic measurements, cardiac biomarkers, physical examination findings) to predict resolution of CHF in the first 2 weeks after diagnosis confirmed the value of home monitoring.2 Of the parameters studied, only home respiratory rates measured by owners the day before a pet’s follow-up examination were predictive of the presence or absence of radiographic CHF. A home RRR or SRR greater than 40 breaths/min was shown to be highly sensitive in predicting CHF.