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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 9115
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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My daughters dog is coughing hasnt been anywhere to catch

Customer Question

My daughters dog is coughing hasnt been anywhere to catch canything has his kennel cough vaccine, we are thinking maybe he got in the trash?
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: he was at my fathers and he thinks he got in the trash so we were thinking chicken bone maybe because he couldnt find one in the trash that should have been there
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Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
he is a two year old mini dachshund mix, he was at my fathers Thursday and got into the trash, since then he has been acting normal, but yesterday started coughing like he was choking on something. When my father picked the trash back up from him getting into it he wasn't sure if he had gotten a chicken bone that should have been there that he couldn't find. Now he is still coughing, but the closest vet to us is 40 miles and closed mondays so I can't go there and the next closest is 80 miles away. Would a chicken bone cause a cough to start two days later?
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 9 months ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm sorry for this concern for your dog. While the ingestion of such things like a chicken bone can certainly cause coughing secondary to initial irritation when it was ingested, it seems a little less likely that you'd be seeing signs two days later....perhaps a delay of 24 hours or so but 48 hours seems like a long time to me for this to be the problem.

While there's a fairly long list of reasons why a dog might cough (ranging from bronchitis to collapsing trachea to cardiopulmonary disease), the most common cause of coughing in a dog this age is going to be tracheobronchitis aka kennel cough. Even though he may not have exposure to other dogs, we can bring home pathogens on our clothes and shoes and expose our pets.

Additionally, the vaccine he received only protects him against the most common bacterial cause of this condition. It's a common misconception that he's completely protected since he could develop symptoms if exposed to a virus. And, if this is a viral infection, it will have to run its course which may take 7-10 days.

As long as he's otherwise active and eating, I wouldn't consider this to be an ER type of situation; you can continue to monitor him for a few days.

But I do have a few suggestions which may be of help:

1. Feed kibble soaked in water for 15-20 minutes or canned food so that the throat isn't irritated further.

2. Over the counter cough suppressants can be given to dogs although I'm sometimes hesitant to use them if I suspect Kennel Cough.

I want those secretions removed from the upper airways and I rarely want to inhibit this reflex. But acceptable ones to use include Dextromethorphan: http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/dextromethorphan-robitussin-dm

The dose would be 0.25 to 1 mg/lb 2-3 times a day. You just want to double check labels and ensure that the formulations only contain this ingredient although inclusion of Guaifensin is fine.

If one of your other dogs starts to cough within another day or so, then you'll know that you have a contagious condition. But, even if he remains the only symptomatic patient, if he continues to cough then a vet visit might be prudent so that his heart and lungs can be evaluated since there are other reasons why a dog might acutely start coughing.

I hope this helps and that you see improvement soon. Deb

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
If he'd gotten a chicken bone it would be more rapid onset and would it be worse like vomiting with or a constant cough? I'll keep watching him and call Tuesday when the vet is open if he is worse or not better
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 9 months ago.

Most dogs who ingest chicken bones do so without any adverse consequences although it's certainly possible that some damage could be done during the swallowing process. If/when this happens, I'd expect the patient to be coughing less than 24 hours after ingestion of the bone since the damage happens within a short period of time....not 48 hours later....so, yes, a more rapid onset of symptoms.

Vomiting would typically only be seen if the bone became lodged or caused an obstruction which is also possible but stomach acids tend to dissolve these bones which is why the majority of dogs who eat them never have a problem.

I think your plan sounds like a good one at this point.

Please keep me posted if you have a chance. Even after you've rated (if you do, of course), we can continue to discuss this issue at no additional charge to you.

Best of luck with him. Deb