Ok, that really helps - I understand much better now what may be going on!
With what you are describing, it sounds like Baby's heart is pushing on her main airway, and compressing it a bit. This will lead to gagging and wheezing, especially if she struggles.
This is a very tough situation to handle! It might be really worthwhile to have an ultrasound (echo-cardiogram) done on her heart to determine how much of this coughing is due to heart disease
, and how much is due to compression of the trachea and bronchus (the major airways). It is very tricky to determine this just from x-rays and thus hard to know how to treat.
If this is due just to irritation to the airways, it is called bronchitis.
More here about this: chronic bronchitis
So, if we assume that this is just due to compression of her airways (and NOT to fluid in her lungs), then we usually manage this with:
- cough suppressants, and/or
- short "pulse" treatment with steroids.
For cough suppressants in dogs with airway compression, I have used:
1. Dextromethorphan (which is a cough suppressant used in human cough medicines - though you have to be VERY careful that you find one with just this ingredient and no others in it).
- this is a prescription drug available through your veterininarian
- this is again a prescription drug that your vet would likely send you to a human pharmacy to obtain
For steroids, I usually reach for dexamethasone tablets, and only use them for a few days to decrease the irritation.
With your little Baby, I do feel that she needs treatment for this as her resting respiratory rate is definitely high. Most sleeping dogs will have a respiratory rate of under 20 breaths a minute... and her's is double to triple that.
In a perfect world, where we did not have to think about money, I would strongly recommend an echocardiogram to see exactly what is going on with her heart and to be able to determine if part of this problem is due to congestive heart failure. I am worried it might be.
Please talk to your vet about starting Baby on one of the cough suppressants to see if that helps her at all. I do hope that it will so that she feels better soon!
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The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.
Best wishes, Fiona