Kimberly Bebar, DVM and Louisa Rahilly, DVM DACVECC
Respiratory distress represents a true and sometimes frightening emergency to be faced with as a veterinarian. Given that respiratory disease is the number one cause of cardiopulmonary arrest in veterinary medicine, it also represents a time when the correct actions can save lives. Patients can present with respiratory distress caused from upper airway disease, lower airway disease, pulmonary parenchymal disease, or pleural space disease. Clinical signs may include weakness, tachypnea, open mouth breathing, coughing, orthopnea, and increased respiratory effort. They may also include anorexia, weakness, decreased mentation, vomiting, and gagging/retching.