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Dr. Gene
Dr. Gene, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2663
Experience:  DVM degree from Ontario Veterinary College
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My eleven year old dog has had thick mucus coming from s

Customer Question

My eleven year old dog has had thick mucus coming from his nostrils for 45 days. My vet prescribed two weeks of Clavamox but it didn't help. Is there a mucinex for docs?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gene replied 1 year ago.

Hi there!

Mucinex-like medication (guaifenesin is the active ingredient) can help loosen mucus associated with certain types of respiratory infections, but it's not commonly used because it's not terribly effective. Most importantly, dogs don't commonly get common cold or flu-like illnesses, like people, especially older dogs, so it's important to figure out why there is mucus coming out of the nostrils. Bacterial infections, such as what Clavamox may be used for, are typically secondary to something else, i.e. bacterial infections do not start by themselves. The most common reasons for long standing nasal discharge (condition called rhinitis) in older dogs are:

1. inhalation of foreign material stuck in the nasal passages
2. dental disease (infected roots of upper teeth can have extended infection into the nasal cavity)
3. fungal infections (inhaled spores from the ground)
4. nasal tumors

I can't overemphasize the importance of getting a diagnosis. There are several ways to find out what is going on: x-rays of the nasal cavity (done under sedation), nasal flushing (also under sedation; this is done to obtain a fluid sample from deeper within the cavity for analysis), certain types of blood tests and CT scan.

Without knowing what's going on, it will be hard to fix; going back to your original question, Mucinex is very unlikely to help, mostly because it's not very effective and also because it's a symptomatic treatment only, used in conditions in which mucus is a side effect of something that resolves on its own (like a cold) and does not address the primary problem.

Hope this helps!!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My vet thinks it is his teeth, though most have been sugically removed already. My vet says his health is too poor for more surgery now. I was hoping to help him breath easier. Clavamox and verapamil did not help. Thanks though
Expert:  Dr. Gene replied 1 year ago.

You're welcome. I'd get a second opinion on his anesthetic candidacy. Many older dogs can have uneventful anesthetic procedures as long as they are healthy otherwise and appropriate precautions are taken. Specifically, pre-surgical blood testing to evaluate organ functions, thorough physical exam, individualized anesthetic protocol selection, intravenous fluids and careful monitoring during anesthetic procedure should be part of every pet's anesthetic even. In many cases, the benefit of the procedure by far outweighs the risk as long as the above precautions are taken.

You can try an antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, but without a decongestant, just regular Benadryl) at a dose that equals 1 mg per 1 lb of body weight (rounding up), every 8 hours; so if Patrick is 20lbs, for example, he would get 25mg of diphenhydramine every 8 hours.

Also, if it was teeth, Clavamox should have helped temporarily because the infection associated with periodontal disease is bacterial and often responds to Clavamox; if you saw no improvement, it's likely something else is going on, so I'd pursue some of the other options suggested above...

Best of luck!