Can a dog have sleep apnea? I swear that when Hunter falls into a deep sleep he stops breathing at times. I say this because he will be sleeping and then all of the sudden he will start making all kinds of noises that sound like he is gasping for air. After a few seconds of this he will either wake up or will fall back into sleep. If he's laying on his side when making these noises I have noticed that his little belly is all sucked in like he 'sucking' for air.
Erin I have no idea but it's probably worth mentioning next time you go to the vet. My friend's shi tzu is snoring bad. She said she sometimes goes to sleep on the couch because her husband and her dog are snoring so loud.
I've never heard of sleep apnea in dogs but I'm sure it's a possibility. Def talk to your vet Erin. Benny snores b/c he sleeps on his back but it doesn't sound like what you are describing. Do you think it could be allergies? Like a stuffy nose?
There are two basic types of sleep apnea. Central and obstructive. Central apnea is more of a neurological problem, where the brain forgets to tell the body to breath during sleep. Obstructive apnea is a mechanical problem involving the anatomy of the upper airways. Some dogs (including some Maltese) are quite bracheocephailc, as seen with very short muzzles. This can cause snoring. Snoring if severe enough can cause apnea, when the tisses of the upper airway way are closed and no air can pass. Then you will see what is called hypopnea, or movement of the diaphagram with no air movement through the nose or mouth. The movements will become greater and greated until enough pressure is generated to open the airways, or it wakes the person or dog in this case. This can happen repeatedly during sleep. I know a bit about sleep apnea in humans. I do not know the effects on dogs. But basically anyone with the type of airway structures (humans and dogs and cats are remarkable similar) we have can have sleep apnea. Hope this helps.
Wow Pam!!!!! Thank you for such a great answer, I honestly read it twice to make sure I understood it all. I do believe that what Hunter is experiencing could be the obstructive form of apnea as while he doesn't have a short snout he does have deep wells between his eyes and nose which makes his nasal passage smaller towards the back of his head.
I did call our regular vet who said that unless it is happening each time he sleeps (which it is not) we should not be alarmed. That it could be related to his seasonal allergies (thanks Lisa!) so we are going to do the very scientific method of determining the issue called . . . "wait and see"