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Respiratory Distress

Elizabeth Rozanski, DVM, DACVIM (Small Animal), DACVECC, Tufts University

Respiratory Medicine

|April 2016|Peer Reviewed

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This article was previously published in an earlier issue of Clinician’s Brief. It has been updated and modified for present use.

Is it a sign of lung disease? Pneumothorax? Evaluate respiratory distress in your patient using this diagnostic and management tree.

 

Clinician's Brief

Canine Respiratory Distress Tips

  • Loud murmur and weight loss often signal heart disease.
  • Eosinophilic disease may be idiopathic or parasitic.
  • Fever may be present with pneumonia.
  • Dorsal caudal infiltrates are commonly noncardiogenic.
  • Consider endemic fungal disease based on geographic  location and travel.

Feline Respiratory Distress Tips

  • Hypothermic cats often have heart disease.
  • History of cough is likely signal of airway disease, but not all cats with airway disease cough.
  • Severe heart disease may exist with soft/absent murmur; loud murmur may be innocent flow murmur.
  • Isolated lung masses should not cause shortness of breath; if breathing labored, interstitial fibrosis possible.

Related Articles Respiratory Distress in a Cat Heart Disease: Diagnosis & Treatment Acute Respiratory Distress: The Blue Patient Respiratory Distress & Intermittent Coughing in an Italian Greyhound

CHF = congestive heart failure, FIP = feline infectious peritonitis, T-FAST = thoracic-focused assesment with sonogram for trauma

For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

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This article is published as part of the Global Edition of Clinician's Brief. Through partnership with the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, the Global Edition provides educational resources to practitioners around the world.

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