Dyspnoea means difficulty breathing. Animals with dyspnoea have slow, laboured breathing sometimes accompanied by respiratory noises. Dyspnoea can be due to difficulty experienced during inspiration, during expiration or during both these phases of the respiratory cycle. Dyspnoea is different to tachypnoea which is an increase in respiratory rate, orthopnoea in which an animal adopts an unusual position (usually with the neck extended) to help it breath or hyperpnoea in which the animal takes deeper breaths.

Common causes of dyspnoea in animals are:

  • Airway obstruction
  • Lung disease
  • Fluid in the chest
The likely cause of dyspnoea can be identified from the presence of abnormal respiratory sounds on auscultation. See abnormal respiratory sounds.  


Last updated : October 2013