How to Tell If Your Pet Has a Respiratory Tract Infection?



If you notice your pet showing a few of these symptoms, there’s a good chance that they have a respiratory tract infection. However, if you’re unsure about the severity of your pet’s illness and want to know precisely what condition affects them, then schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a more accurate diagnosis.

What Is a Respiratory Tract Infection?

A respiratory tract infection is a disease that affects the lungs and the respiratory system. Infections of the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat) are usually caused by viruses, while bacteria usually cause lower respiratory tract infections (lungs).

Pets can get upper respiratory tract infections from exposure to other infected animals or through contact with humans. Pets can also get lower respiratory tract infections by inhaling dust or smoke.

The symptoms of a respiratory infection depend on the type of infection and where it is located in the body. Upper respiratory infections usually cause sneezing, coughing, runny nose or eyes, watery eyes, and fever. Lower respiratory infections often cause difficulty breathing due to fluid buildup in the lungs.

Shallow Breathing

One of the first signs of a respiratory tract infection is shallow breathing. An average respiration rate for dogs and cats is about 20 breaths per minute, but when an animal has a respiratory tract infection, it will breathe more slowly.

Shallow breathing can also be caused by heart disease or other health problems; therefore, it’s essential to consult a vet before attributing it to a respiratory tract infection.

If your pet has been diagnosed with heart disease in the past and shows signs of shallow breathing, consult your vet immediately as there may be something else going on.

Open-Mouthed Breathing, Panting, or Yawning

Open-mouthed breathing, panting, or yawning is a sign of discomfort. If your pet is panting, they may be feeling heat stressed. Panting could also be caused by pain or anxiety.

In cases of respiratory distress, breath rate is rapid and shallow compared to expected. The animal may also appear to hold their head up high while they breathe in excess air; this is known as open-mouth breathing or “snorting.”

Panting can also indicate heart disease in dogs and cats since the heart cannot pump blood effectively when the lungs fill with fluid during an infection.

Discharge From the Nose

The discharge color will help you determine your pet’s respiratory infection. It could be clear or yellow, thick or thin, watery, bloody, pus-like, and frothy. If it smells foul, that could indicate their infection is severe.

If your pet is experiencing difficulty breathing due to an upper respiratory tract infection, they may also have a runny nose with discharge from it and sneezing and coughing.


A cough is a symptom of a respiratory tract infection and can be caused by lung inflammation. Coughing is a common sign of viral or bacterial infections, such as kennel cough, a highly contagious disease spread through dog saliva. It’s also a sign of heart problems, like heartworms or congestive heart failure.

If your pet has been coughing, then give it an antibiotic medication. Antibiotic medicines such as Cephalexin for dogs and cats are safe and effective in helping your pet fight such infections. Cephalexin is a strong antibiotic against gram-negative bacteria and can help fight many infections.

However, if coughing continues for over two days and doesn’t go away after giving them medication for three days, take him to the vet immediately because this could be a sign of an underlying condition.

Snoring and Wheezing

Snoring and gasping are signs of upper and lower airway obstruction, respectively. Both are signs of respiratory tract infections, but they also can be signs of other health issues in your pet.

If you notice your dog snoring or a cat wheezing in addition to the other symptoms listed above, talk to your veterinarian about getting an X-ray done on your pet’s chest.

If there is any doubt about the health status of your pet’s lungs or heart, then it would be advisable for you to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in small animal medicine at once!

Gagging or Vomiting

Gagging or vomiting in pets can be because of Respiratory Tract Infection. Respiratory tract infections are common in cats and dogs. These infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. Pets may have difficulty breathing, coughing, and sneezing. They may also develop a fever and runny nose due to this health condition.

If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, you must take them to the vet immediately. A vet will perform a physical examination on your pet, then perform tests to determine what is causing the infection and what treatment options are available for your pet.

Weakness in Muscles of the Neck and Throat

If you notice your pet doesn’t have the same energy level, as usual, is less interested in playing or eating, and seems to be breathing more heavily than normal, this could be a sign of an illness.

Weakness in the neck and throat muscles can sometimes indicate a heart condition or neurological problem, so you must see your vet immediately if you think these symptoms are present.

If your pet has been sleeping more than usual, it might have a respiratory tract infection (RTI). This is where bacteria enter the lungs through tiny cracks in their airways, causing inflammation and making it difficult for them to breathe correctly.

No Barking or Purring

Pets speak to us through barks and purrs. We depend on those sounds to know if our pets are happy or in pain, hungry or too full, stressed out, or bored. The ability to communicate with us is part of what makes our relationship with them so rewarding.

But there are times when these communications go silent, leaving us wondering what happened to our beloved furry companions when they stop talking. The answer to that can be that it is suffering from respiratory problems.


If you notice that your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it’s essential to give them anti-biotics, or if the signs seem serious, get them checked out by a vet as soon as possible. If it turns out to be an infection, treatment can help them feel better and avoid complications in the long term.