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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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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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What is it when my dog is coughing/puking up mucus foam

Customer Question

What is it when my dog is coughing/puking up white mucus foam constantly?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

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

How long has she has these signs?

Is she coughing and then recthing to bringthis up? Or do you think she is vomiting?

Can she keep food and water down?

Are her gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?

If you press on her belly, does she have any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing?

Could she have eaten something she should not have (ie bones, toys, rocks, plants, chemicals, etc)?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
It has been going on for two days now. She sounds like shes coughing then she sortta like dry heaves up what looks like white mucus. Ive seen her eat and drink water at her leasure and after checking her gums they are pink in color and seem moist.I don't believe she has any discomfort or tenderness in her belly as when I stroke or rub her to comfort her she does not try to move or pull away. We have no plants in our area as we only have dirt in the front yard and back. About a week ago we had BBQ pork ribs for the fourth of july and as treat we let her have a couple of the rib bones, but just two; and I watched her eat them to make sure she was chewing them properly and not trying to bite and swallow them whole. We have no children so toys are out. We do have a lot of rocks around but I assure you shes as smart as whip and knows not to eat rocks. All cleaning products are away and out of reach as I would do for a small child if I had any. I treat her like she is my child.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

Thank you,

I have received your reply, will review it and post in full shortly.

Dr. B.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

Thank you,

Now the challenging part of these situations is determining if we have vomiting from GI upset or retching from throat irritation with upper airway issues. Based on what you have reported, your lass sounds to have the latter. And while I have to admit I cringed to read that she was given rib bones (the #1 bone to cause blockages), if that was a week ago its likely not playing a role here. Instead, this sounds more suspicious of a brewing upper airway infection (viral, bacterial, etc), possible throat irritation (tracheitis) or esophagitis.

In this situation, since she can keep food/water down, we can try to soothe her throat. To do so, you can try him with plain over the counter glycerin/honey cough syrup (with no drugs in it) or even plain honey. Both can be very soothing to the irritated and tickly throat. Typically we will give a 1-2 milliliter (~1/4-1/2 teaspoon) as needed. Alternatively, you can try Robitussin DM with him. I would just say to make sure to use this preparation and avoid any similar syrups that may contain other medications like Paracetamol, Acetaminophen, Pseudoephedrine, Phenylephrine or caffeine (since these can be toxic). If it also contains Guaifenesin that is okay. Dose-wise, we tend to give this as 1/2 (half) teaspoon per 10lbs of the dog's body weight every 8-12 hours. And this can just break the coughing/retching cycle to get her settled.

Of course, if her signs linger (making the infectious concerns even more suspect), then we'd want to plan to have her seen once her vet is open to confirm our concerns and get her started on antibiotics +/- dog safe anti-inflammatories to nip this in the bud and get her settled.

All the best,

Dr. B.

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