Thank you for your reply - based on your agreement that the cough sounds similar to a goose honking, the most likely diagnosis is a condition known as a collapsing trachea.Here is a general summary of the trachea and options that you may find helpful. The trachea is the scientific name for windpipe. It consists of muscle connecting a group of cartilage rings. The rings are actually not complete circles; they form a C shape. The remainder of the trachea that is not cartilage is a tissue called the tracheal membrane. Tracheas collapse because the C cartilage flattens due to weak cartilage and then the membrane becomes floppy and weak. The tickling sensation of the membrane touching the tracheal lining generates coughing and if the obstruction interrupts breathing, the patient may become distressed. Panting or rapid breathing for any reason makes the collapse and anxiety worse, which unfortunately tends to generate more rapid breathing and a vicious cycle of distress. Making things worse still is the inflammation generated in the trachea. The collapse creates increased secretion and inflammation thus promoting yet more coughing which creates yet more inflammation. Ultimately the tissue of the trachea changes and loses its normal characteristics and the condition gets worse and worse. TREATMENT: (MEDICAL VERSUS SURGICAL) MEDICAL MANAGEMENT The following steps are often helpful in long-term management of the tracheal collapse patient: 1) Weight loss - An overweight condition can make exercise more difficult and lead to respiratory distress. 2) Cough suppressants are used - such as Hycodan or Butorphanol prescribed by a veterinarian3) Corticosteroids such as prednisone can be used, but are best used on a short term basis due to side-effects potential. SURGICAL MANAGEMENT/INTERVENTIONAL If medical management does not produce satisfactory results, and the respiratory distress is still present, either a placement of a tracheal stent or surgical rings to widen the trachea should be considered. Surgical therapy of tracheal collapse requires a surgery specialist. Usually surgery, or tracheal stent placement are not first line treatments, but if medical management fails, tracheal stent placement or surgery can be considered.
If the coughing is severe, and you are unable to get to a veterinarian, you can try to stop coughing using robitussin.This link will provide all the information needed to find a dose based on your dog's weight!http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/dextromethorphan-robitussin-dm/page1.aspx I hope this information is helpful :)