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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17682
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My 16 year old male mix, medium size has developed a severe

Customer Question

My 16 year old male mix, medium size has developed a severe hacking cough, constant panting, and sleeps most of the time. He has also become clumsy
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 7 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long has he had the cough?

Does he bring anything up or have any nasal discharge?

Are his gums pink or pale/white?

Is he a small mixed breed or larger dog?

Since you noted that he is getting clumsy, does he seem tired on walks quicker? Any sitting down during walks? Any fainting?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Had the cough about 4 months, gotten much worse 2 weeks ago. Acts like he is gagging, nothing comes up. No real nasal discharge. Gums are whitish, up higher reddish. he is a medium small mix, maybe papillon-terrier. He gets tired right away on walks and does not rise from his bed much. Still eating, drinking a lot of water. His feet seem to slide out from under him, especially when eating or drinking. No fainting, but sitting down after about 10 minutes on a walk. Has trouble coming up the stairs. Majority of coughing and panting at night, he goes into fits of this. And, he lost his 14 year old buddy 2 months ago
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 7 months ago.

Oh dear,

Now I have to say a chronic cough that isn't settling for an elderly dog over recent weeks is a concern that needs to be looked into. Especially if his gums are pale or white appearing since that is a sign of oxygen uptake compromise and could fit with underlying heart disease, anemia (low red blood cell levels) and lung based issues. Just to note, the oxygen compromise will make them weak and clumsy as you have reported. And given his coughing signs, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, lung tumors, or heart issues that enlarge the heart (and thus push up on the trachea) would be real worries here.

With all these in mind, it would be best to consider having a check-up with his vet urgently. Ideally, we want his vet to listen to his upper airway, lungs, and heart. Depending on their findings, it may just be a case of antibiotics to treat any infection present but if they find anything amiss with his lungs or heart then an xray or heart scan may be indicated to let you see what is actually going on within in his chest so that appropriate treatment can be started for him to soothe that cough. And if he is struggling as you report, they may even need to put him onto oxygen for the short term.

Overall with the length of his signs and those alarming gums, we need to be proactive here before he has any further oxygen intake compromise. If we get him seen, then can listen to his chest and help you pinpoint the cause of his cough and issues with absorbing oxygen. And once that is diagnosed, you will be able to treat his cough effectively and halt it for him.

All the best,

Dr. B.

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