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My Shih tzu is about 11 years old and for the past year and a half she has been having these little breathing attacks that scare me it is like she can't get enough air! Does anyone know what this could be? and if there is anything that I can do to either help her or stop it from happening?
By julie from West Valley, NV
Is your dog overweight? If so, that causes breathing problems and she need to go on a diet and the breathing problems will go away. If this is not the case then you need to take her to the Vet. It could be something serious. Better to have it checked out.
My 10 yr old Shih Tzu Darby has the same occasional wheezing, gasping, abnormal breathing noises. Vet said most smushed nosed dogs do this. I just baby him till it's over, about 30 seconds to a minute.
This sounds a little like "reverse sneezing." It is fairly common. However, I would have a Vet check her out to rule out other possibilities, especially given her age.
We have a Shitzu and we're pretty sure that what most of these comments are referring to is a snoring-type noise, and we're 99% sure it's caused by Heartburn. i.e. an acid bubble coming up from the dog's stomach, and popping in their nose. Squeeze the nose lightly, and get the dog to drink some water if possible, to clear the acid.
I have learned that when either one of my dogs has this problem, I just pick them up and blow in their nose and they stop right away. I think I read that on this site and it seems to do the trick.
My 10 year old Shih Tzu is having troubles breathing. He is gargling and struggling, sneezing, and having nose bleeds.
I would consult the vet. Your dog may have Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome or other condition that needs surgery.
He needs to go back to the Vet. Or perhaps he needs to see a new Vet. This sounds serious. Antibiotics is probably not going to be adequate.
My Shih Tzu has been almost snoring when she breathes. It sounds like she is congested, but there are no visual problems. I think maybe she has mucus stuck in her throat?
Your dog may have allergies or a cold. If I were you, I would be concerned about a change in breathing and see a vet in the area.
Breathing issues always warrant a call to the vet. If your dog was traveling with you when this started, detail all of when/where/how things started. If you think it is getting worse or the pup is lethargic or not eating, drinking, or there are changes to potty habits, consider taking the pup in to a vet or vet hospital immediately. Prayers for all. Post back what you learn!
Per this website Shih Tzu are prone to breathing issues. It is hard to self diagnosis, recommended to see a vet.
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I know a lot of you ThriftyFunFans have Shih Tzus. We have two. One of ours makes this funny noise like he can't breath from time to time. We just try to get him to calm down and it eventually goes away. Does anybody know why they do that? I've heard several theories from allergies, heart problems, etc.
Peggygv from San Antonio, TX
I have two Shih tzu also and both of mine have issues. My female snores really bad and then sometimes sounds like she is snorting; that does not concern me so much; however my male goes into an all out fit with his choking, coughing, and doing this thing that sounds like he can't get any air into his lungs.
I usually pick him up and calm him down and this helps some. Sometimes I take a medicine dropper and get water into his throat, that seems to help some; and then sometimes I feed him some Vaseline off the tip of my finger and that will sort of lubricate his throat. One thing for sure is when this happens to either one of them they want to be very close to me. I often wonder what happens when I am at work and they have one of these fits. I can only pray that does not happen.
If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them. (06/25/2010)
I know a lot of you ThriftyFunFans have Shih tzus. We have two. One of ours makes this funny noise like he can't breath from time to time. We just try to get him to calm down and it eventually goes away. Does anybody know why they do that? I've heard several theories from allergies, heart problems, etc.
Peggygv from San Antonio, TX
My vet said it's because they have such a short nasal passage, pug nose. Mine tends to choke sometimes so I pat his chest and it seems to help.
Also, they seem to have more allergies than most breeds, too. Mine gets a foot fungus in the summer.
They are precious though, mine will be 18 soon (04/20/2006)
By CEIL ACHS
My Shih Tzu also has this problem. My daughter said it is a reverse sneeze and a friend called it "herfing". I know this is scary, but it seems to pass with patting her on the back. My Gwendolyn is about 12 years old and her brother, Galileo, is well over 15 now. Both are precious. (04/20/2006)
We just took our Shih tzu to the vet. He said it could be 3 things, reversed sneezing, nose mites, or allergies. We are in the process of eliminating these to figure out what is going on. I will keep you updated. (05/11/2006)
We too have two Shitzu's a male and a female brother and sister.
They have this extreme problem you have just described.
It's horrible listening to either of them when they really get going.
The breathing really sounds as if the trachea is collapsing and she can't catch her breath unless we calm her down.
The male does not do it quite as often, but he's just as bad when he gets going.
It only seems to happen when they are either just falling asleep or are already asleep and suddenly awake and they can't catch their breath.
I really don't have an answer, but I am looking for
The last time she had an attack was just 1/2 hr ago and I usually kind of massage her throat and talk to her and try and calm her down which usually works eventually.
This time by accident I grabbed her lower jaw and slightly opened it trying to open her airway and this had a very positive quick response, so next time I will try this again. I think from reading how many shitzu's have this problem it seems that the trachea collapses and if you open the airway it helps.
Have you had the dogs nostrils checked? Sometimes they are not as open as wide as they should be, which is why air cannot pass through the nostril as well as when the dog is not excited. Simple surgery will correct the problem, but it is not always needed. It is like having a stuffed nose, and not being able to breath correctly. Many dogs have this problem, but often it is not a major problem. (03/30/2007)
We have also had breathing problems with our 11 year old Shitzu. Our vet has used the term reverse sneezing or reverse hiccups. Rubbing the throat with head up helps. It seems to be worse during allergy season (summer). His recent bout led to antibiotics and prednisone to calm his spasms. (07/29/2007)
My vet also said it was reverse sneezing. It was scary when my dog did it the first time. One thing I found to work is to use your fingers and plug it's nose. It makes my dog breath through her mouth and it stops it immediately and she goes on about her way as though nothing has happened. (11/09/2007)
My mom just bought a Shitzu yesterday and took to the veterinarian today and he said that many of these dogs have nostrils that are too small. He said that as the dog gets bigger its nostrils will, but many have to have a laser surgery to correct the problem. However this will not happen until it is around six months old. The laser surgery is not suppose to be a big deal and isn't very expensive.
Our vet told us the most un-evasive method to help our dog with the reverse sneezing is to blow into their nose when they do it and after until they are back to normal.
This forces them to actually focus on their breathing.
I have a 4yr old Shih Tzu. He sometimes starts making an awful snorting noise. My vet is also a Shih Tzu owner. He describes the condition as "reverse sneezing." He suggested cupping my hand over the dog's nose. This will cause him to swallow and this somehow stops the distress. It works for our dog and it works for his. I hope it works for yours! That sound scared the poop out of us the first time it happened. (11/21/2008)
I also have a Shih-Tzu that did the reverse sneeze. My vet said it's nothing to worry about and to just rub her neck to calm her down. She did this at least once a day when she was a puppy. She will be 2 next month and has not had an episode for almost a year. I don't know if she out grew it or because we moved and whatever was bothering her is now gone. It might be allergies. I moved from a carpeted apartment to a house with wood floors. Even my allergies have gotten better! (01/24/2009)
I suggest that everyone that has a dog research that breed and see the things associated with the breed. I did about a half year research on my Shih-Tzu and investigated the breeders to find one that had purebreds and mine has a 200 dog history of only Shih-Tzu. I asked many questions to find out what I was getting into beforehand knowing that was the fair thing to do for my dog.
I found that when you buy them they should be checked for something that is similar to the bulldog. Soft pallet issues. If there is a soft pallet problem it may need surgery to prevent that flap of skin from blocking the wind pipe. I would suggest that anyone with a Shih-Tzu have a reputable vet check the puppy when it is young to rule that out and not rely on postings about people's other dogs, that is not your dog.
It is a suggestion, but to make sure I would check that first. Once you know that is not the problem then ask your vet what the other possibilities are. I treat my animals as I would my kids and I would not guess or rely on my friend for anything that had to do with their breathing unless I knew for sure she/he was an expert or very, very experienced. That is my suggestion and opinion and you know what they say about them. (02/06/2009)
By another shih-tzu owner