I hope I can shed some light on this for at least those of you with Shih Tzus on here who are experiencing what I also described to our multiple Veterinarians as high pitched Shrieks - sounding like a Hawk in the wild or a Primal scream as someone else said.
My beautiful, sweet, smart and adorable dog Jezebel passed away on Friday December 7th. It was not how I envisioned her life would end nor was it how I envisioned her passing would be either as she was always my "healthy pet" and w/ the exception of being spayed at 8 mos old and having her spleen removed due to a small benign cyst two years ago, she never had any illnesses - was told her heart was fine w/ out any murmurs or mitral vavle disease and even her teeth were straight and white. I felt so blessed and counted my blessing every day with her - since Ihad also had a Maltese who had so many health issues his whole life - I was very experienced as a pet owner to see signs and symptoms of illness. Other than panting a lot - and suspected Cushings Disease although she was not overly symtomatic for it she did have some elevated blood levels over the last year or so which led us to suspect Cushings but not do the conclusive testing required. Anyhow, the screeching noises started about a year and a half before she passed away from upper and lower airway disease - but which was never really diagnosed properly til the very last week - if not days before her death. Panting in Shih Tzus can be due to air way obstruction - such as an elongated palate which we discovered during a Tracheal Wash during the last week of her life that she did have this condition. Thinking the panting was due to the "Cushings Syndrome" but not a big deal, we just accepted it as part of being Cushingnoid and Brachycephalic as Shih Tzus and short nosed dogs are classified as being. However, after repeated lung infections - including aspiration pneumonia 9 mos earlier and a very recent discovery of Allergic Bronchitis (a chronic condition) as in the last week of her life - she quickly went downhill in the breathing and oxygenating area. Instead of having these very loud and very primal sounding shrieks once a month or once a week, they were now coming every night and sometimes two or three times a night. I knew this was not normal and when I tried to describe it to Vets it was met w/ blank stares - even specialists who said it was not seizures but possibly periods of "apoxia" or "hypopoxia" basically where our dogs are not getting enough air and oxygen into their lungs especially when they sleep and their airways relaxes and restricts air from flowing thru easily hence, it's oxygen deprivation! My dog Jezzy was 14 yrs old and one month - and I was so unprepared for my otherwise healthy dog to have just had her symptoms ignored/shrugged off and then misdiagnosed as not being seizures - although they were seizure like activity in that she turned blue in her mouth, lips, tongue, and had passed out the point of being unresponsive and her body stiff as a board. She had to sleep right next to me w/ my hand on her heart all night during the last week of her life so that if she stopped breathing or had another shrieking episode I was right there to shake her and try to resuscitate her which I did every night for nearly a week. Finally, w/ further tests - an echo cardiogram - it revealed severe lung disease and pulmonary hypertension - as a result of the lung disease. The loud noises when they are sleeping is due to lack of oxygen getting thru their airways. She was pulse oxygenating well under 90 - about at 80 by the time we realized what was going on. She could not live outside of oxygen and passed over the rainbow bridge on Friday - unable to live outside of the oxygen cage. Don't ignore signs or symptoms of hypoxia- low blood oxygen caused her shrieks - not nightmares - especially in dogs w/ airway obstruction issues. Get a full cardiology work right away. You will be glad you did and may save a life.View Thread