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Thread: Stops breathing while asleep

  1. #1
    Baxter Tiberius
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    Default Stops breathing while asleep

    One of the reasons I brought Bax to the vet the other day was actually because he continues to stop breathing while he sleeps.

    Today for the first time, I didnt wake him when it happened. I waited, and counted how long he went without air.

    25 seconds. An entire 25 seconds without a breath.

    He will heave and you'll see his ribs trying to expand, but there is no airflow. Its really upsetting for me because I know its damaging his brain, kicking his blood pressure sky high, which will cause heart problems eventually.

    I mentioned this problem to no less than three vets the other day. He had two appointments, and my friend is a vet.

    All three looked at me cross eyed. They had nothing to contribute to the conversation. I wanted to discuss the possible options for sleep apnea, as well as complications that arise from it, but they were dumbfounded. Fascinating.

    Someone here mentioned that there's a surgery for this issue. Baxters Trachea is miniscule. In the X ray I saw, it was less than pencil thin. No wonder he can't get air.

    Is there a tracheal surgery for dogs to widen it? His nose opening is fine.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Stops breathing while asleep

    Aww poor guy. This must be so worrisome for you though, to watch him go through this. You're right to be worried about sleep apnea and less oxygen symptoms damaging the heart, brain, and increasing blood pressure. It does the same to people. I have sleep apnea, and sleep,with a CPAP machine. Too bad there wasn't an equivalent type of machine for bullies. Have you tried asking a specialist regarding surgery for his trachea. I know that noses can be done, but not sure what can be done for a narrow trachea.


    I actually looked this up for you, and found this article on sleep apnea in pets. Hope it helps.

    Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder in dogs that causes disruption of sleep. Untreated sleep apnea can be dangerous for your pet’s health.


    Sleep Apnea


    Sleep apnea can cause your pet’s breathing patterns to become altered during sleep. His breathing may become very shallow or interrupted and the interruptions in breathing could last from 10 to 20 seconds. Your pet might have as many as 100 interrupted breathing episodes in one night resulting in a drop in blood oxygen levels. When the breathing is paused or interrupted, the pet is jolted out of his normal sleep pattern and breathing resumes with a gasp.


    The pet may or may not be aware of the interruptions in breathing. Sleep apnea can result in chronic sleep deprivation that can, over a period of time lead to health problems.


    Breeds Prone to Canine Sleep Apnea


    Sleep apnea is most common in dogs that have flat faces. Such dogs are termed as brachycephalic, the Greek for short head. Breeds with short heads such as English bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers are prone to this sleeping disorder. This is because dogs with short heads have small nostrils, a very long soft palate, small sacs in their throats that protrude in the airway and a short windpipe.


    Dogs that are overweight are also prone to sleep apnea as the internal fat causes the airways to collapse partially during sleep resulting in interrupted breathing.


    Symptoms of Canine Sleep Apnea:


    Choking or gasping during sleep
    Loud and chronic snoring
    Interrupted breathing with long pauses between breaths
    Sleepiness in the day
    Daytime fatigue
    Morning headaches
    Breathlessness if the pet wakes up due to interrupted breathing
    More prone to accidents
    Irritability
    Depression
    Sleep deprivation


    Health Problems Caused by Canine Sleep Apnea


    If a pet suffering from sleep apnea is not treated for a long time, it can lead to chronic sleep deprivation and health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, heart disease and stroke.


    Causes of Canine Sleep Apnea


    Swollen air passages can cause the airway to get narrow. A narrow airway could result in interrupted breathing and cause disturbances in the normal sleep patterns. Anti-inflammatory medication can help control the swelling and widen the airway. Allergies to food, chemicals or toxins can also cause disturbances in breathing and sleep patterns. Anti-histamine medications can help control the allergic reaction and provide relief.


    Dogs find it difficult to breathe in warm and humid weather and this too can result in sleep apnea. If your pet has sleep problems in the summer, you should let him sleep in an air-conditioned room. It’s best to ensure that an overweight pet loses undesired weight to help resolve his sleeping problems.


    Treatment of Canine Sleep Apnea


    Surgery to correct abnormal anatomy is the standard treatment to cure a pet suffering from sleeping disorders. There are several types of surgeries that can cure a pet of sleep apnea and these procedures depend on the part of the body that has to be corrected. Some such surgeries are maxillofacial surgery, nasal palatopharyngeal surgery and upper airway surgery.


    Canine sleep apnea can be life threatening and should be treated by a qualified vet at the earliest.
    Last edited by Vikinggirl; 10-24-2013 at 10:12 PM.
    LEARN A LESSON FROM YOUR DOG, NO MATTER WHAT LIFE BRINGS YOU, KICK SOME GRASS OVER THAT AND MOVE ON.

  3. #3
    Baxter Tiberius
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    Default Re: Stops breathing while asleep

    Thank you @Vikinggirl

    As always, the real challenge isn't finding valuable info on the internet.

    its finding a doctor who has a clue about that information and is willing to act on it ... unfortunately.

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    Default Re: Stops breathing while asleep

    That's true, but it does say that there are surgery options such as reducing tissue in the throat. A good place to start would be to find a good animal hospital, or teaching hospital, where they have all the specialists, and find a vet specialist and surgeon who is experienced with this type of surgery.
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    Default Re: Stops breathing while asleep

    If he does have sleep apnea and needs any type of pallet or nares surgery to help him breathe better, the vet will likely wait until he's older.... @2BullyMama can give you more advice with this.

    It's a shame knowing his trachea is so small- that puts him at high risk for anesthesia . I hope it's only small because he still is though...


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    Default Re: Stops breathing while asleep

    Hey Kevin --- yes, there are procedures, both my boys had to have this done (Bulldog and Frenchie).

    Nitschke had his done without issue back in 2007 by a specialist that our vet recommend to us. Our vet was not comfortable doing the procedure because of how much work Nitschke needed as well as the small (not miniscule) trachea. Joe felt it better that he be in the hands of a specialist (surgeon) and be better monitored during and after the procedure. The hospital we took him to actually had a vet tech sit with Nitschke for 8 hours and just watch his breathing after the process was over. He was in the hospital for two full days before he came home. Notschke was almost 3 yrs old at the time and turned into a raging puppy after that surgery. The snoring never stopped, but the apena was only around during high allergy seasons.

    Chelios, our Frenchie, had to have this done twice this year... his apenea is horrible. Joe told us when he gave us Cheli, 'the boy will need palate surgery, but we will not discuss until he is at least two years old'. Cheli turned two in April we did the first surgery in May and went well, his nares were done and he stayed over night for observation. Joe did the procedure this time as he has more experience and Cheli was not as bad as Nitschke. The mistake we made was allowoing Cheli to bark when he got home. The barking caused major scar tissue which had to be removed. He still has some apnea but nothing like it was.

    As for the trachea, there are specialists at University of Florida that I read online... maybe give them a call and have Baxter evaluated.

    hope this helps somewhat.... good luck and let me know if you have any other questions
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  7. #7
    Baxter Tiberius
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    Default Re: Stops breathing while asleep

    Thanks everyone. Its too bad we have to literally reconstruct our dogs just so they can live normal.
    Would it behoove breeders to analyze things like "largest trachea" and "best hip joint formation" when breeding their lines?
    I doubt these things would adversely affect the look of the dog (the all important factor apparently) ... and it would result in english bulldogs that can breathe normal and don't develop hip dysplasia.
    Seems like common sense to me.

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    Default Re: Stops breathing while asleep

    I don't think a breeder can analyze tracheas. It's something that's checked while the dog is under anesthesia.
    Same with hips. To get a proper hip x-ray, the dog needs to be put under anesthesia.

    There are breeders that do have their dogs checked for hip dysplasia and register their healthy bulldogs with OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals). But they're few and far in-between.
    Also, my personal opinion of why more breeders aren't doing this (and this is solely based off of speaking with Vets and, and researching this issue for the last month), is because the majority of bulldogs actually do have Hip Dysplasia.
    To not breed these dogs would severely reduce the amount of Bullies out there, and put most breeders out of business.

    But, breeding those that have it doesn't guarantee the pups will have it. Studies also show that environment plays a large role, especially in the first few months. Meaning, you need to give their joints a chance to catch up with their size. If your pup grows too fast, and this is very common due to overfeeding, it could be the deciding factor in whether or not they develop hip dysplasia.

    Anyway, there's just so much involved. So it's not always about common sense, especially when there's no guarantee either way.


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    Default Re: Stops breathing while asleep

    Poor little Baxter. Give him giant hugs and kisses from me and Brutus.

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    Default Re: Stops breathing while asleep

    I have heard Chumley take a very deep breath while sleeping and then hear nothing for awhile before he finally exhales..not as long as 25 seconds though. Hopefully you find a vet whos knowledgeable in the subject and comfortable doing the procedure to correct it. Poor Baxter..Ill be praying for him.

  11. #11
    Baxter Tiberius
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    Default Re: Stops breathing while asleep

    Yeah he did it all night tonight while I was watching TV.

    He will continue to move his lungs and ribs like he's trying to inhale, but nothing happens.

    He has to come "conscious" again and then he will inhale properly.

    I guess it just relaxes too much inside him when he's asleep, and maybe closes completely. He can only lay in certain positions or it happens every minute practically. Im constantly jiggling him to wake him up, and get the air flowing again. Can only imagine how it goes when Im not there.

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