Orthopnoea means adopting an unusual position to help with breathing. Animals usually stand or lie with their necks fully extended and often breath through their mouths as well as their nose. Often they adopt a typical position resting on their sternum, with the forelegs splayed apart, neck extended and their head on the ground. Animals demonstrating orthopnoea usually have dyspnoea as well and may have increased respiratory rate (tachypnoea).
Orthopnoea is a sign of extremely severe respiratory distress.
Administer oxygen. Identify and treat the underlying cause.
Last updated : October 2013