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The dog or cat breathe with difficulty and produces a hoarse whistling sound. Wheezing in pets is characterized by loud and difficult breathing. Perhaps the most common issue that can cause wheezing in dogs and cats is asthma. Nevertheless, others medical problems that can result in wheezing among both cats and dogs include upper respiratory infections, pneumonia, inhalant allergies, obstructions in the nasal cavities or windpipe, heat stroke, congestive heart failure and a short muzzle.

How to Recognize

Occasional wheezing can be quite common in such short-nosed pets as Pugs, Bulldogs, Persians and Himalayans. However, when it occurs in other breeds of dogs and cats, it is most often a symptom of an underlying health condition. So, just how do you determine whether or not wheezing is a cause for concern? Read on to find out. Wheezing is actually a broad term that refers to loud breathing. It occurs when the pet's airways are constricted for one reason or another. Wheezing may not sound the same from one breed to another or even one animal to another within the same breed. Nevertheless, this symptom can best be described using one or more of the following words and phrases: Loud Breathing, Rattling, Snorting, Snoring While Sleeping, Reverse Sneezing, Raspy Breathing and Whistling Sounds While Breathing.

Causes of Wheezing

As stated above, wheezing can occur when the airways become constricted for one reason or another. When this happens, there will be a whistling or rattling sound when the affected dog or cat inhales and exhales. Airways can become constricted due to obstructions, spasms of the bronchi or trachea, or narrowing in the bronchi or trachea.


In order for your veterinarian to obtain a correct diagnosis for your pet, you will need to provide him or her with a complete medical history of your dog or cat. The vet will then give your pet a thorough physical exam. It will also be necessary for the vet to listen to the chest using a stethoscope. Other tests that may be performed are as follows: Complete Blood Count, Heartworm Test, Fecal Test, Urinalysis and Chest X-rays.

Similar Symptoms

There are some symptoms that can occur in pets that are similar to wheezing; however, they are indicative of entirely different health issues. For example, excessive panting typically indicates such conditions as exertion, heat stroke or dehydration. Additionally, labored breathing can be a sign of shock, poisoning or kidney failure.

Possible Conditions

There is actually a large number of conditions that can lead to wheezing in cats and dogs. Furthermore, while some of these conditions are minor and can be treated quite easily, others can be chronic and a bit difficult to handle. Nevertheless, some of the most common health issues that can cause wheezing in pets are as follows: Asthma, Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (Brachephalic Breeds), Chronic Bronchitis, Sinus Infections, Collapsed Trachea, Congestive Heart Failure, Tumors of the Lungs, Trachea or Larynx, Inhalant/Airborne Allergies, Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough) andPneumonia.

Treatment for Wheezing

The treatments your pet will need if it is wheezing depend primarily on your veterinarian's diagnosis. For example, allergies will require much different treatment methods than infectious diseases. Nevertheless, some medications and procedures that are often used for wheezing-related conditions are as follows: Surgery, Permanent Tracheostomy, Oxygen Therapy, Steroids, Anti-histamines, Nasal Decongestants and Antibiotics. Wheezing is a symptom of a large variety of health issues that can affect dogs and cats. Although some of the issues are quite minor and can be treated rather easily, some can be extremely serious. As such, if your pet begins wheezing, you will want to make an appointment with your vet immediately.

Pet Insurance

When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.

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