SLEEPING RESPIRATORY RATE
Monitoring sleeping respiratory rate (SRR) is a very sensitive test for detecting fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) or in the chest outside of the lungs (pulmonary effusion). It is sensitive enough that it can tell us if a pet is developing one of these problems before it is having obvious trouble breathing. Detecting the problem this early allows us to begin treatment earlier in the course of illness, and beginning treatment earlier significantly improves the chance that treatment will be effective.
SRR can be used as a sensitive test in various situations:
- Monitoring for heart failure in a pet that has known heart disease
- Confirming significant heart or respiratory disease in a pet that might be having trouble breathing, or that might be showing other signs of one of these problems
- Monitoring the effectiveness of medical treatment for heart disease
Be alert for other signs of illness, including, but not limited to, loss of appetite, loss of stamina, decrease in general level of activity, and coughing. We always consider these other signs along with SRR when we evaluate a patient.
- Your pet should be sound asleep.
- Your pet should be at normal room temperature, not next to the heater or wood stove.
- Your pet should not be dreaming.
- One complete in-and-out counts as one breath.
- Count the number of breaths in one minute, using a clock or watch.
- Alternatively, use the free iPhone / iPad app Cardalis to count and log SRR (there is a similar app for Android).
- If you are uncertain about counting, make a video to share with us.
- Count daily for 3 days to get a baseline, then count twice weekly.
- If the SRR changes substantially between counts then begin counting daily for 2 or 3 days again, in order to document the increase or trend.
Normal SRR, and when to call us, and when to see us:
- Dogs: Normal is less than 25. Call us if it is 30 or more. See us ASAP if it is 50 or more.
- Cats: Normal is less than 30 to 40. Call us if it is 40 or more. See us ASAP if it is 50 or more.