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too excited-can't breathe

by chris lee

I am not sure if it this normal behavior for Maltese , when our maltese gets very excited he sounds like he cannot breathe. Any comments?


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

Chris, Our Maltese has had this problem all her life. She will have two or three of these episodes a week. We call her "asthma-dog." Thus far all the episodes pass within a minute. It doesn't appear harmful, but then again, we haven't gotten a vet's opinion, either. I've never read of this problem in any of our dog books. Hope that helps!

I would suggest you take your dog to a specialist to have a few things checked. First colapsed trachea, second, asthma, and third reverse sneezing. The only other thing that comes to mind would be heart worms, and this is generally checked by the vet every year or Kennel Cough, which your vet can treat also.. Our Bubba did this and it turned out to be asthma. After he was on treatment for a few months and neutered, he was fine. He has very few attacks now, maybe 1 or 2 per year, and is very healthy. The important thing is to get it diagnosed quickly so treatment can get underway.
-Marsha A.

This is NOT uncommon behavior for a Maltese. A couple of my dogs do this - did it as puppies and still do it as very mature adults. I have had no problem simply talking to them gently until they calm down - or an even faster remedy is to hold them gently on the floor or in your arms, console them with a soothing voice, and gently cover their nose with your hand. Iusually cup my hand loosely around the muzzle - not to interfere with breathing in any way - the physical act of holding them in this way instills a reassuring and calming effect very quickly. Some Maltese have a physical condition known as a Collapsing trachea - my dog that exhibits this behavior the most has been examined by our vet and does not have this condition. Still, on your next visit to the vet you may want to simply discuss this with the doctor.
-Larry Stanberry Divine Maltese

I have a one year old female maltese who does the reverse sneezing that makes you think they are having trouble breathing. There are some good articles on this in the archives that you could read and see if it sounds like thats what this is . Hope this helps.

Same thing happens with both of our maltese from time to time. Our vet says that they are such small dogs, that makes the opening of their trachea very small and the walls very thin. When the get excited, the walls constrict and collapse causing the choking/gagging sound you hear. It only lasts a few seconds and then they are O.K. We usually talk softly to them and gently pet them when it happens. This calms them down and reduces the amount of time they are choking. To be safe, I would have yours checked by your vet to rule out any problems.
-Chuck Norman

Chris Lee: Shayna does the same thing, also after a drink of water. We call it "that drinking water thing that she does". I have heard from others that their dogs also do it. Shayna does it after she pulls on her leash, but she still continues to pull when she wants to go somewhere that I don't. I think it bothers me more than her.

I also have that problem with "Baby" all her life and she's going on 10 years old. Check with your vet of course, and don't get nervous or she will be more frightened. Cuddle your pet and act as though it was nothing, even though it is scarey to watch! Sometimes Baby gets it from drinking water or getting excited too.

My mother and I both own malteses that do that cough thing. Actually they make a honking sound. When I take my Bobo over to play with Gretta they both get so excited they just sit there and honk. Its scarey, but funny to watch. Its almost like their own private greeting.

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