Resting Breathing Rates (RBR)


Because fluid in the lungs causes increased breathing rates as the first sign of congestive heart failure, noting resting breathing rates is very important.
  • Breathing rates in animals can only be accurately assessed when they are asleep and it is cool (about comfortable room temperature
    • they pant at other times, which cannot be used for accurate determinations
  • Their normal sleeping breathing rates should be about 30 breaths a minute or less (about a breath every other second).
  • If their breaths per minute are in the 20’s and mid-30’s approximately
    • this is usually fine
  • If their breaths per minute are in the 40’s and 50’s
    • this is starting to be of concern
      • there are a couple of options
        • have a plan ahead of time developed with your veterinarian to increase diuretics temporarily
        • call your veterinarian to see if you can increase diuretics, or should be seen
  • If their breaths per minute are in the 60’s
    • Your veterinarian should be called and your pet should be represented as soon as possible
      • Radiographs (xrays) will probably be indicated

  • Since congestion in the lungs can wax and wane, we often have a plan ahead of time in different scenarios with our clients to transiently increase diuretics and by how much, and to keep us notified
    • We know it is expensive to keep coming into the hospital, so we try to avoid this and still provide excellent care for our clients and their pets

Rarely, fluid in the chest cavity can be the primary problem

  • These pets do have a bit of increased breathing rate
    • Though often not very noticeable
  • And importantly, they have increased depth or laboring of breathing
    • You can see this by increased excursions of the chest on inspiration (breathing in)


Other Resources for Monitoring Resting Breathing Rate


Boehringer Ingelheim