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Licking, Gulping, Panting at Night -- Solved

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

  
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Koorazh

You can't catch- me!
 
 
Barked: Sun Apr 15, '12 4:01pm PST 
I've posted here a couple of times over the past years as I tried to find a solution to Koorazh's problem. He had night time distress, licking, gulping, unable to settle, and panting. Sometimes he would throw up. He was also a picky eater, sometimes eating, sometimes not. After two years (?) we finally found the answer. I'm sorry it took so long, but thought I'd post in case our trajectory is of use to others. The issue was not just an issue for Koorazh, but also for me, as he frequently woke me up and I spent a couple of years short on sleep as a consequence.

When it started, I thought he had to go potty in the middle of the night, so would take him outside where he would want to eat grass. Usually he wouldn't do anything bathroom-wise. This started a cycle in which he would pant to wake me up so that I would take him out. Had to cut that short.

But still night time distress. Took him to the vet, over and over again. He was normal weight, seemed healthy to the vet. We did bloodwork, all normal. Could not get the vet to take the issue seriously as he didn't seem to be a sick doggy.

We tried to eliminate food intolerance/allergy. Put him on a limited ingredient diet (Natural Balance Limited Ingredient kibble only) for weeks. He does seem to be intolerant to chicken, so eliminated that from his diet. Tried changing his kibble. Tried going to wet food. Tried a combo of kibble and wet food. Tried feeding him mainly in the morning. Tried feeding him three times a day. Tried slowing his eating with a special dog food bowl.

But still night time distress. I took him to a doggy orthodontist. He found that two of Koorazh's canines were dead and needed root canals, plus extracted a tooth that had never developed and broken the gum line. Cost of $2500. Needed to be done, I suppose, but didn't solve our night time distress problem.

Went to the super fancy and expensive dog clinic where they suggested acid reflux and 1) put him on a kibble only diet (Natural Balance limited ingredient fish) and 2) gave him both Omneprazole and Cipracide, very strong acid controllers, for six weeks, where he had to get meds multiple times a day, before meals. But this didn't solve our problem either.

The only time he did not seem to have distress was either 1) when he ate nothing, or 2) when I put him on rice and tuna (because he was sick). This suggested to me that the problem was gastrointestinal, and that it was caused by something he was eating. Since changing his kibble didn't seem to solve the problem, maybe the problem was . . . kibble.

I read up on homemade diets. Decided I wasn't comfortable with BARF (raw food) diet, but that I could start by introducing cooked food and see how it went. I started serving up real food breakfast and . . . surprise, surprise . . the problem went away almost instantly. He still eats limited ingredient kibble for lunch and dinner. But now for breakfast he eats meat (turkey/tuna/beef), cottage cheese, sometimes an egg, and a small veggie portion, with calcium supplement. Since we switched, no more gulping, licking, panting, or distress at night, and he has a regular appetite.

I'm not sure whether it was just reducing the amount of kibble in his diet, giving his stomach other things to work on, or incentivizing him to eat a big meal in the morning. But it works, and I am not looking a gift dog in the (orthodontically improved) mouth.
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Maxwell

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
 
 
Barked: Sun Apr 15, '12 4:07pm PST 
Congratulations on figuring out the problem! What a journey.way to go
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Kali earned- her wings- 10/21/14

She's game for- anything that's- fun.
 
 
Barked: Sun Apr 15, '12 6:02pm PST 
Good for you for figuring it out. We've had a similar thing with Kali. Only she not only had the discomfort, she had diarrhea too. We finally went to z/d dog food and added home cooked, let it soak overnight, doubled her Prozyme, and bingo, problem solved, at least for now. Kali has been well for 2 weeks now. We are crossing our fingers. I think sometimes the vets are not educated enough on the food portion of care for our pets. It's unfortunate, because if they were, our pets wouldn't have to suffer so long, while we try to figure out the problem ourselves.
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Simba Zulu ~- In Loving- Memory

Beach Baby
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 16, '12 6:35am PST 
Thanks so much for both your stories. When Simba developed epilepsy due to a scorpion bite in February, the vet suggested changing his diet to the BARF diet. I compromised with the vet and put him on a home cooked diet, but I'm worried that he isn't getting enough vitamins and minerals. He also loves fish, so I'm hoping somebody can give me a 'recipe' for a tuna meal (how much tuna in relation to the amount of grains and veggies, if applicable). And what extra vitamins & minerals should I provide? Right now, he's only getting chicken/beef/pork/ocean fish and rice. Seems as if it's too limited for a 70 lb. dog, but the vet would rather I just throw him a raw chicken leg for dinner!!! Can anyone help me out?

By the way, his obsessive licking/panting in the evenings has stopped since he's been eating his cooked diet too!

Edited by author Mon Apr 16, '12 6:37am PST

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Maxwell

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 16, '12 7:07am PST 
Wow, that is great that he is better now. There is a home cooking forum down the page with some good threads in it. See Sedona's thread about 21 steps to balancing the diet.

Agree, feeding raw is much easier. Eating just a little bone adds the perfect amount of calcium and phosphorus and the 10% liver and other organ make the minerals and vitamins come out just right but you can do it cooked as well.

Tuna isn't a good choice of fish as it is higher in mercury than other kinds. Sardines, mackerel and salmon are better.
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Koby

I'm a big brat- and I don't care- :)
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 16, '12 5:43pm PST 
I would make sure the salmon is cooked. Don't feed it raw. I've read, somewhere, that it is very bad for dogs raw.
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Koorazh

You can't catch- me!
 
 
Barked: Sun Oct 7, '12 6:17am PST 
OK, not so solved. Koorazh developed a runny nose, night time spasms of some kind, and hard panting at night. Went to the super vet, which suggested a sinus infection that had passed to the brain. However, after a radiograph and a MRI of the sinuses, a MRI of the brain, a radiograph of the chest, biopsies of the sinuses, and scoping of sinuses all that showed up is that he definitely had one sided congestion but there was no evidence of bacterial or fungal infection. They had me put him on 30 days of zeniquin (antibiotic) to be on the safe side.

The spasms have gone down, but now he is back to licking, gulping and panting half the night. We have been on a half home made half limited ingredient kibble diet since I last wrote, so apparently the problem is not dietary. And it is ONLY AT NIGHT. I am beginning to think it may be cardiac (although his chest radiograph was fine) or neurological (although brain MRI was fine). Anyway, still sleep deprived, still unsolved. But we did have a nice six month or so hiatus.

I am updating in case anyone else is having similar problems with his/her dog.
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Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 9, '12 6:52am PST 
Hi...I'm sorry he's going through all of this. Has the neurologist tried to give any kind diagnosis as to what is causing it? I have never heard of it before. I sure hope someone else has a similar experience so that they can help. Sorry I don't know much about it. I hope they figure it out!

hughughughughughughughughug
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joey

I'm working on- three toys!
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 15, '12 4:46pm PST 
Hi. I hope you're still following this, as I remember your posting some time ago when Joey and I were struggling with a similar problem. I believe you live in my area, too, (MD suburbs of DC) and know a Christi I used to work for.

I am still having similar stuff going on with Joey, although it is not as severe as your case. He wakes me up usually around 2:30 in the morning with his slurping and swallowing, and then again in early morning (maybe 7:30 or so, but perhaps that's just when my brain wakes up and hears him doing it - may be more frequent than that; not sure). I was thinking that because the room is pretty dry and I wake up with dry mouth, perhaps it's just a simple case of dry mouth. Last night I got bold and left the window cracked open to increase the humidity. I have to be careful because we (still) think Joey may lick his paws due to allergy (and I have allergy problems too - leaving windows open is risky). It seemed to have helped a little, but who knows, maybe I was just sleeping more soundly than usual.

I am also trying (still) different foods. I'm thinking that the current food is a bit high on fat, which may upset his stomach. For the first time ever, I heard Joey let out a big belch, and I wondered if he had a gas problem. The problem seems to be more food related than anything, but like you, we're limping along with not much help from the vet. The vet HAS in the past suggested giving him an antacid, and/or a snack at bedtime, and at another visit, when Joey had been sticking his tongue out a lot, thought it might be due to either discomfort or pain, including possibly dental pain. I am really working the food angle now, and about to try a new food (Canine Caviar, which I've heard is good for dogs with a sensitive stomach). Until it comes, I am adding a bit of brown rice to each meal, and feeding Joey a small bit of kibble and rice pre-bed. I also bought some Gas-X and some Pepcid and use that on occasion.

I have tried home-cooking, although obviously there are lots of variables there, so maybe I just need to try another home cooked recipe. It's very frustrating to me because Joey licks his paws and we've never figured out whether it's due to allergies (food or inhaled or contact or all 3) or what, and I have to be careful with what I feed him.

Anyway, I didn't mean to ramble on like this, but was so flabbergasted to see your post after all this time that I read it with interest. It is really a strange thing about the breakfast working - and also a strange thing about your latest setback.

Good luck. It sounds like you don't think food is involved, but I might still try working the food angle, or possibly try probiotics, or a snack at night, or Gas-X (someone I know got that rec from a vet, so assume it's OK, although I don't know the dosage for dogs.) Could your bedroom be too warm, or too cold, or too dry? (Got a humidifier?) What does he sleep on at night versus day - could he be allergic to his bed? My email is howardruthalliejoey@gmail.com - if you ever figure this thing out, I'd appreciate hearing about it, as my endless detective work is still ongoing and Joey's symptoms are so similar to Koo's. I feel your pain - both financial (was it VCA or Cats & Dogs??) and mental. At least I sleep fairly well, as there's no panting involved, just mostly swallowing for a few minutes and changing positions a lot (which to me might suggest acid reflux). -Ruth

Edited by author Mon Oct 15, '12 5:04pm PST

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joey

I'm working on- three toys!
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 15, '12 5:12pm PST 
Meant to add that gas is different from acid, so who knows, maybe he gets gassy at night? Maybe? Beets, broccoli, carrots, corn, green peppers, bean (including chickpeas, peas, soybeans, potatoes, parsley, wheat, barley, oats, dairy products, sugar, and fatty foods are big offenders, at least for people.

I figure that just by licking his paws so much, Joey might be taking in air, which can cause gas, so I'm careful about what I feed him.

Edited by author Mon Oct 15, '12 5:15pm PST

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