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Dr. Amanda
Dr. Amanda, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 799
Experience:  Associate Veterinarian
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I have 3 dogs at home, a local breed and 2 golden

Customer Question

Hi,
I have 3 dogs at home, a local breed and 2 golden retrievers, who age 7 (bong), 7 (boo) and 1 (peanut) years old respectively. My local breed passed away very suddenly 3 days ago.
Before his passing, approximately 2 months ago, he sort of started to dry heaving, kept on trying to vomit but nothing came out. It sort of sounded like a old man's cough. He also had trouble barking, with sounds sometimes not coming out at all. We brought him to the vet the next day and had a X-Ray, blood test, and even a ultrasound on his liver done but all came back to be healthy. The vet prescribed a course of antibiotics which he completed. He seemed to be getting better, with the vomiting sound getting softer and his barking getting better. But a few days ago, while my wife and i were overseas, my mother-in-law, who was looking after him, broke the news to us that he had passed on. Before his death, he skipped a meal but was behaving perfectly normal, running around, playing with the other dogs, etc... But just 1 hour before his death, his heart rate increased significantly, my mother-in-law said that you could see his heart beat on his back, thumping up and down.
My 7 years old golden retriever, Boo, is starting to do the exact same thing. After the passing of Bong, Boo has now started to dry heave, trying to vomit but nothing is coming out. It was quite soft last night, but has become quite loud today, similar to an old man's cough. We have brought him to the vet yesterday afternoon to do a blood test and rushed him to the emergency last night to do a x-ray as we were worried that it could be canine bloat, but it all came back negative. He is also eating lesser today. What could have caused this and what should we get the vet to check?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 9 months ago.

Hi,

My name is***** and I am sorry to hear that Boo is so sick.

How were the blood work results? What tests did they run?

When he was x-rayed, did they x-ray his abdomen only or did they x-ray his chest as well?

Was he given anything to control the vomiting? Like an injection, like Cerenia?

Please let me know the answers to these questions so we can create a plan for Boo.

Dr. Amanda

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Amanda,Thank you for your quick response.The blood test result were all okay. His RBC and WBC were all perfectly normal.The X-Ray was done on both his abdomen and chest. The vet did mentioned that there were some white shadows on his windpipe, which might be a slight inflammation or infection and have given him a course of antibiotics as well as phlegm medication. Apart from these 2 medication, there wasn't anything else. But he did take his yearly injection yesterday as well.You can see a short video of Bong dry heaving from the link below. Have not been able to capture one of Boo as of now. Do have a look.https://www.dropbox.com/s/kezvinbgk6xofkg/File%2015-8-16%2C%2011%2047%2044%20AM.mov?dl=0
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 9 months ago.

Okay. Thanks for the additional information and the video.

It appears in the video that Bong is more coughing vs dry heaving from his stomach.

What antibiotics is Boo on now?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi,Thanks. It will help me when i'm explaining to the vet. I have thought that it was actually dry heaving.Boo is on a course of Doxycycline Monohydrate for 2 weeks currently. He just had his first dose a few hours ago.
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 9 months ago.

Okay. Great. Doxycycline is a great first choice for coughing in dogs. It works for bordetella and mycoplasma, which are the two most common bacterial infections that cause coughing.

If it progresses to pneumonia, you will want to switch to Baytril and clindamycin.

If Boo just started the antibiotics tonight you need give him at least to 24 hours to see if there is a good response.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thanks Amanda.In that case, i will continue monitoring him. What should i keep a look out for and is there any specific reason he's coughing? And could this be what caused the death of Bong?
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 9 months ago.

The best way to monitor him through the night is to count his breathing rate while he is sleeping. Do not disturb him and watch his chest and abdomen rise up and down and count how many times this happens in 15 seconds and multiply that by 4. A normal breathing rate for a sleeping dog is 12 to 36 breaths per minute. Up to 60 is still okay, but not great. Greater than 60 is considered labored breathing and he needs to go to the ER.

I can't give you a good reason why he is coughing, but there is an upper respiratory panel that your vet can submit to the lab if you want. It is just a swab under the eyelid, in the nose and down the throat. It takes 2-3 days to get results and costs about $160.

Also hard to say if this is the cause of Bong, but not likely. Based on the description of his final hours, I would worry about heart problems and fata arrhythmia.

Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 9 months ago.

I am getting ready to log off for the night. Do you have any more questions tonight? I will check in tomorrow evening to see how everything is going.

Dr. Amanda

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Amanda,Apologies for the late reply.I've finally managed to capture Boo coughing on video. Please see below link.https://www.dropbox.com/s/k7679uybu2u8lnv/File%2015-8-16%2C%204%2040%2054%20PM.mp4?dl=0He's doing it more and more often. In the last hour, he's been doing it every 5 to 10 mins. My wife had just fed him a small amount of food as he did not eat much for breakfast. He has been doing it more often after eating. And when i put my head on his chest to hear his breathing, he started doing it as well.His breathing also seems to be a little short and fast. I will try to capture a video of his breathing to show you.
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 9 months ago.

Great video. I rarely get a good example of what dogs are doing and usually have to guess. :-)

He is trying to bring something up from his lungs with that behavior.

I would try to count his resting breathing rate, as your vet will want this information to make a treatment plan. I also would strongly consider taking him to the vet today and have them repeat chest x-rays (front to back view and a side-to side view) to see if anything has changed in his lungs over the weekend.

If his lungs are clear, you can talk about cough suppressants, but if his lungs are worse, I would consider stronger antibiotics.

Dr. Amanda

Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 9 months ago.

Hi,

How is Boo tonight? Any change in the cough? Did you end up taking him to the vet today?

Dr. Amanda

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Amanda,My sincerest apologies for the long pause. Had been busy bringing Boo to and fro the vet the last few hours.Last evening at approximately 1830hrs, Boo's condition seemed to have worsen, gagging/coughing continuously for at least 15mins. We immediately brought him to a different vet to get a 2nd opinion and they did a new set of x-rays on him. It seems that there were some infection/inflammation going on on his lower respiratory tract when we rushed him to the ER 2 days back. But the new X-rays have shown that the infection/inflammation has actually gotten better, the cob webs in the X-Ray had disappear.The doctor examined him and told us that he had canine pneumonia. He gave him a jab of steroid, and also a course of Baytril (Enrofloxacin). We were told to observe him throughout the night and bring him back the next morning where they will observe him for six hours. Boo seemed to be back to his usual self after the steroid, can tell that he was happier, and his gagging stopped for awhile.However, at approximately 0500hrs, he started gagging/coughing again. And it was continuously for about 10 to 15mins again. We brought him back to the vet this morning where they did a X-Ray and blood test on him, including a thyroid test and found that his thyroid levels were slightly lower than normal. Boo also gagged/cough in front of him and the doctor said told us that he was retching instead of coughing. The doctor told us that the reason Boo might be retching could be due to the low thyroid level. He prescribed a course of Neuroforte and Eltroxin which are supplements for his thyroid.We have to go back to the vet again tomorrow morning for boo to do a scope.It's really frustrating that every vet is telling us different things. The first 2 vet told us that Boo was having a infection/inflammation on his lower tract respirator and we just need to let Boo complete the course of the antibiotics and see if he gets better. The 3rd vet told us that Boo is having pneumonia, and the last vet we went to told us that Boo is having thyroid issues. We have already spent a great deal of money and have yet to find the course of his problems. It aches our heart to see Boo retching every single time. We just lost one of our baby recently, we can't afford to lose another one.
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 9 months ago.

Hi,

Thanks for the in-depth reply.

My thoughts- I agree with the probable pneumonia diagnosis. Baytril is a great choice.

I disagree that the retching is due to the low thyroid. A slightly low thyroid level can be from illness (euthyroid sick) or true hormone deficiency. I would consider a full thyroid panel (I like the panel that goes to Michigan State University) before I would consider starting him on thyroid pills. Dogs with very low thyroid can have mysterious intestinal issues like vomiting on an empty stomach, intermittent diarrhea and such, but the violent retching/coughing you showed me I've never seen with thyroid disease.

I would also ask your vet to send all of Boo's x-rays to a board certified radiologist along with his history and bloodwork. The specialist will evaluate the progression of the lung disease as well as the blood and make some recommendations.

A scope of the upper airway isn't a bad idea, but you may wait to see what the radiologist says before anesthetizing Boo.

Dr. A

Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 9 months ago.

Hi,

How is Boo doing today? How is the cough?

Dr. Amanda

Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 9 months ago.
Hi Terrence Tang,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Boo Boo. How is everything going?
Dr. Amanda
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 9 months ago.

Hi,

How is Boo? Fully recovered, I hope? Do you have any more questions?

Dr. Amanda

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