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Hello all,

Wanted to get some feedback on detecting pain. Ruby has been panting. I know, gasp! Yes, it is summertime, but Ruby periodically has been having these tongue haning down to her paws, heavy panting moments. They don’t last very long <5 minutes, and they aren't because of heat (sometimes happen indoors in the AC) and not because of exertion.

(Ruby’s cancer background–Stage 1/low grade fibrosarcoma, amputated rt. hind 3/18. In April, noticed some small, subcutaneous bumps on chest/front legs. Had a needle biopsy on 4 of them, and one sample came back low grade cancer. Currently 6 small bumps total, a few have changed slightly in size, still quite small in appearance. I made decision to not remove because they were all over, with the margins needed I was concerned that she would be miserable, and was worried that we would be “chasing bumps”. Her preop chest xray in March was clear, Kidney ultrasound in May was clear)

Which brings me to my question–panting. Should I be concerned about pain? Lung mets? If you have any personal experience, could you share? Until the amputation, I thought Ruby was much softer than she actually is–she was a trooper during recovery, and still is. I defintely worry enough for the both of us!

Tripawd Ruby & Daisy’s mom

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8 Responses to “The (Overly) Worried Pawrent…”

  1. admin says:

    By all means, don’t jump to that lung mets conclusion when Ruby pants. We freaked out when Jerry first started panting, and it just turned out to be the summer heat.

    Dr. Jessica Waldman addressed pain management and symptoms in our video interview from Cal. Animal Rehab. Panting can be an symptom, but if a full regimen of stretching and probing results in no other indicators, it is probably just heat. We sure hope so! Try cooling her off all day to see if she still pants.

  2. Carmen (Catie's Mom) says:

    As someone with a lifetime propensity to anxiety, I can relate, Kim. Every once in a while, if I watch Catie too closely, my worry levels sometimes – if I’m not vigilant on harnessing them – will creep up. I will say though that after lots of determined scrutiny, I have come to realize Catie pants when she’s hot; when she’s ill; when she’s excited; when she’s scared (i.e., thunderstorms) and even when she’s just plain happy (like after these inexplicable little bursts of joy where she’ll suddenly run around the house, muzzle the piano and shove her face with great energy into the nearest available lap. Serious panting after those.)

    That’s probably not helpful at all. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m trusting myself – because she’s always been a little emotionally high strung – to recognize, and for her to let me know, when she is in pain.

    Hang in there! It’s tough for us worriers for sure.

  3. jakesmom says:

    Sometimes panting can also be from pain… or too much pain meds… If you’re worried… talk to your vet… and at home… you can check Ruby’s gums from time to time to make sure that they are nice and pink… not grey or white!

    Angel Jake and Wolfie’s Mom

  4. rubydawg says:

    Thanks for the helpful info/links–I’ll check out Dr. Waldman’s video.

  5. rubydawg says:

    Thanks. Ruby isn’t on any pain meds currently. It happens sporadically, so I haven’t talked to the vet yet. But if the episodes increase, I defintely will. Thanks for the tip on the “gum check” too–didn’t think of that.

  6. rubydawg says:

    Thanks Carmen. I’m much more anxious about Ruby’s health than I ever have been about my own. I too want to trust that I’ll be able to read the signs if/when she experiences pain, but as you know you still worry. Your comments are helpful, and I love your description of the many faces of “Panting Catie”. In a couple weeks I’ll be leaving for a 4 day weekend, and it will be the 1st time I’ve left Ruby since her surgery. But that’s a whole ‘nother post about anxiety!

  7. Carmen (Catie's Mom) says:

    Oh, Kim, I know about leaving the babies behind too! We just came back from our daughter’s destination wedding and were gone a whole week! Some heavy “missing” moments but all turned out okay.

  8. Ginger says:

    That sounds kinda scary. I’d say talk to your vet. Hope she’s doing better by the time you read this.

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