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Dr.B
Dr.B, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 81
Experience:  DVM from Purdue University.11 years in private practice.
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Tussigon and tracheal collapse question- My dog was recently

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Tussigon and tracheal collapse question- My dog was recently diagnosed (via x-ray) with a redundant dorsal tracheal membrane, which I have been told IS a form of tracheal collapse. Is Tussigon problematic due to it's respiratory suppression? I am concerned that my dog with this form of tracheal collapse, would potentially have a problem with Tussigon. I know it will suppress his cough but is it good to suppress respiratory response in a dog with this diagnosis?

Thank you.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr.B replied 3 years ago.

Dr.B :

Hello- I'm Dr. B a licensed veterinarian and I'd like to try to help you - are you still there?

Customer:

Yes here

Dr.B :

Hello! How bad and how frequent is the cough?

Customer:

He was just diagnosed 2+ weeks ago. Took him through the EM clinic in the middle of the night for a persistent cough that night. She suspected Kennel Cough and gave me Clavamox and Tussigon. After 1 treatment of Tussigon the cough stopped, but he's only been off the antibiotic for a couple of days (Tues) and this evening a little bit of coughing again. The x-ray/radiologist indicated 'mild' but everything I've read says that standard x-rays cannot show the true extent of the problem....

Dr.B :

No significant coughing in the 14 yrs prior to that night? And does he have exposure to other dogs- like grooming, boarding, neighbor dogs?

Customer:

Exposure to my own dogs....one of my dogs just had eye surgery so was in the hospital so she could have brought it home.....no history of cough BUT he had 2 procedures in the last 6 months that he was under anesthesia for 3 hours (dental) and then 2 (mri) after the mri session he would bark at me and look "fainty". I described it to 2 doctors and they didn't know, so this latest diagnosis explains it I think....

Customer:

I should say 'mild' redundant dorsal tracheal membrane seen on standard x-ray.

Customer:

He in 67 lbs and was on 625 mg of Clavamox for 2 weeks.

Customer:

is

Dr.B :

Yes- that makes sense. It sounds like the trachea is the underlying problem, but there may be an infectious component as well since it seems to be worse when off the antibiotics. SO- to answer your question: for problems like tracheal collapse &/or redundant dorsal memebrane, narcotic cough suppressants (like Tussigon) are frequently the ONLY things that work. Generally the times when you don't want to supress the cough are when the cough is productive.....

Customer:

so it's not a bad thing to suppress respiration with a tracheal collapse? This is a big concern to me.

Dr.B :

Generally the respiratory supression effects are extremely mild. And at my practice, Tussigon is the most used medicine to supress the cough. So I would feel perfectly comfortable using it. HOWEVER- if you are concerned you can try some non-narcotic cough meds. If it works for him, then why not use it! I'm sure your vet has some he could dispense. Worst case scenario is its not strong enough and you're back to the Tussigon.....

Customer:

I am on the fence to investigate further with internal medicine because I really don't know if I want to challenge his trachea with yet more tests that require intubation. I'm not sure knowing more will really help determine a different treatment. If his oxygenation is good and I control his cough, is there anything else I could reasonably do or should do? And what can be done if he is in crisis? Should I get some kind of 'emergency preparedness plan' i.e. bronchodilator or rescue type inhaler like we have for asthma attacks? Just not sure where to focus next steps/plan. Do you have a recommendation on that?

Customer:

btw, I like your idea about trying non-narcotic cough suppressant

Dr.B :

I tend to agree on the testing- sometimes the irritation of repeated intubations compunds the problems! Not to mention the potential to introduce bacteria into an already compromised airway. So I think that if the cough is controlled w/ meds (narcotic or not), I would simply use the meds as needed. Even if its long term. A far as emergency prepardness- honestly there isn't much you can do at home. Bronchodilators don't really help for tracheal collapse since they work more on the bronchi and alveoli in the lungs, and not so much on the trachea. I have heard of people using Doggie Ambue bags- those are those bags they use for CPR on humans, but have never used one myself. Getting him the the vet in and acute crisis is the standard.......are they close to hime?

Dr.B :

home? (sorry)

Customer:

The one I generally go to is about 40 minutes away (they are a full service EM/referral) but in extreme crisis I'm about 20 minutes away from the closest EM. I drove across my front yard trying to get to EM with one of my other dogs, so whatever I could have on hand to be prepared.....we had to start CPR and ever since I really always want to have something for those times of crisis.....

Dr.B :

Never a bad idea- I'm honestly not sure where to get the bags. I'm sure if you Google it you can find them somewhere....just make sure the mask is for dogs- the human kind won't fit on the snout well enough to force air down the trachea. FYI- in my experience, acute crisis from a dog with tracheal collapse/ redundant membarne is quite rare.....

Dr.B :

especially a dog his size.....

Customer:

That is good to hear (crisis being rare)....25 years of pet ownership and many different diseases, this is my first tracheal collapse, so feel a bit unprepared (as usual with all the previous first time diagnoses).

Dr.B :

It generally is a problem with smaller breeds, so if you're dogs have all been larger, it doesn't surprise me that you've never experienced it.

Customer:

I am also working to get his weight down. He is carrying a lot in his shoulders and upper chest. I'm hoping this helps. Also working to keep the air as free of allergens as possible, a work in progress....

Customer:

the inside air, can't do much for the pollen count outside :-)

Dr.B :

EXCELLENT! As with people, excess weight makes any respiratory problem worse. And trying to keep allergens down may help- it won't "fix " the trachea (obviously) but may decrease in general. So I like your thought process....

Dr.B :

decrease irritation....sorry again

Customer:

Thanks so much for the information/explanation you've provided. It helps ease my concerns and gives me some next steps too.

Dr.B :

Best of luck to you. Just from this chat, I can tell you really love him. He's lucky to have such a great home!

Customer:

He's a very funny/fun dog, makes me smile/laugh everyday and we're very attached. I try my best!

Customer:

Thank you again Dr. B. Have a good evening.

Dr.B, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 81
Experience: DVM from Purdue University.11 years in private practice.
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