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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18196
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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My dog is coughing up white foam

Resolved Question:

Our dog is coughing and gagging and spitting up white foam. Nothing is in it, just plain white foam.

We took him to the vet today (for a different reason) and the vet asked if he had been coughing because this happened before and we said No because he hadn't coughed in months but as soon as we left the vet's office our dog started the coughing in the car.

The funny thing is that the only times this has happened is when we have left him with my sister to care for. She has a black lab. Not sure that would have anything to do with it but it's funny that it happens after he comes home from her house. Our vet did say that our dog has a heart murmur and on a scale of 1-6 he is a 3.

Any ideas?

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the question.

In direct answer to your question : There would be two general possibilities here, it could be that your dog has contracted an infectious respiratory disease such as kennel cough but be aware that heart disease in the dog can present in the same way and your dog does have a heart murmer.

Kennel cough is a common contagious respiratory disease of canines. This disease is usually associated with recently having been in kennels or having been where dogs congregate, but dogs living on their own can sometimes catch it as well as it is an airborne disease.

This is a disease which vets will see quite a lot, we often have to explain the symptoms to clients :

1. Most owners whose dog has kennel cough think there might be something stuck in the throat due to the strange retch that these dogs have - a bit like a seal honk!

2. The dog may sneeze a little but the cough is the main symptom, some dogs are quite bright and alert but others can be lethargic during the course of this disease. The green nasal discharge would be a further sign of a respiratory infection.

3. The dog will retch for a few minutes and in the end it will be productive, he will bring up some white sputum, some owners take this for vomit. Once he has done this he will settle down for a bit.

4. It is normally not a serious disease but will run its course given one to two weeks without treatment, however antibiotics will speed up recovery and make your dog feel better very quickly.

Here is a link for more information on this disease : LINK

My advice to you is to have your vet check your dog over again out as soon as possible, there is not really much you can do on a home treatment basis if this is kennel cough that you are dealing with and as I said there are other possibilities other than kennel cough such as heart disease.

If I have not answered your question fully enough or if you would like to ask more I will be on line for the next hour or so and I will be pleased to discuss your question further.

Scott Nimmo BVMS MRCVS
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Your answer pretty much talked about Kennell Cough instead of heart murmurs. We were told that he does have a heart murmur. I was told that you can give a dog aspirin for heart murmurs. Other people say not to that it's not good for the dog. Would this hurt and is there anything we can do?
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 5 years ago.
Hello again,

It is tricky to be specific via the internet so I have to just talk over possibilities.

1. Lots of dogs have heart murmers and it does not seem to affect them much but it can be a progressive disease and it may reach a point where the dog passes into congestive cardiac failure. The symptoms then could be coughing and gagging amongst others. Very similar to some infectious respiratory diseases, of course a vet will pick up the difference on clinical examination.

2. Aspirin I think is used in some human heart conditions where there is a danger of a circulating blood clot as it thins the blood. Dogs rarely suffer from that form of heart disease, they have heart valve defects and murmers and aspirin would be of no use at all in this situation.

3. Home remedies will not be of much use here I am afraid, the best thing to do is to get a vet involved.

Good luck,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have one more question and then I'll let you go. The coughing and gagging and the spitting up of the white foam is only something he has had twice since we have had him which has been about 7 years. He is pretty much a healthy dog and still eats good (which he just did tonight) and gets exercise daily (walks). Short of taking him to the vet again, is there anything we can do in his daily life to help with this problem or is it something that comes and goes and we just have to watch him? Is there mediation for heart murmurs? Thank you again.
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 5 years ago.
Hello again,

No problem, please ask as much as you like about your dog's condition, I am glad to advise you ...

1. If he has had this sort of condition twice before then this would point to an infectious respiratory disease of some kind. There is no real prevention if this is the case as they catch it from contact with other dogs when they are out. Prescription drugs such as antibiotics would be the best way to tackle this ...

2. If you are dealing with a heart murmer then there are a range of drugs which can be used. While these are not cures they can effectively compensate for what is going on and make your dog very much more comfortable.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your time and answers Scott. They've been most helpful.
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 5 years ago.
Glad to help out ..

Good luck with your dog,

Dr Scott Nimmo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18196
Experience: BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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