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Ask Dr Scott Nimmo Your Own Question
Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19121
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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He is gagging and wheezing. At the end of each episode he

Customer Question

He is gagging and wheezing. At the end of each episode he chokes or gags but nothing comes up. He was fine yesterday. He is a year old Cairn Terrier.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Coughing can be worrying. The Veterinarian will know what you should do. What is the cairn terrier's name?
Customer: Rambo
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Rambo?
Customer: No.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 month ago.

Hi,I'm Dr Scott. Welcome to JustAnswer, I am working on your question now, you can expect a written reply sometime within the next ten minutes or so.

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 month ago.

Hello again

Sorry to hear Rambo is unwell, however I have worked out an answer for you below.

1. Having carefully read your question through I would not be at all surprised if he has not contracted an infectious respiratory disease such as kennel cough. However where a dog has sudden onset retching like that other diagnosis are certainly possible but from your description it does sound very like kennel cough. As kennel cough would be a front runner in Rambo's age group I will tell you a little of what I know about it ...

2. Kennel cough is a common contagious respiratory disease of canines. This disease is usually associated with recently having been in kennels or having been where dogs congregate, { Like the vet's surgery for example! } but dogs living on their own can sometimes catch it as well as it is an airborne disease.

3. Most owners whose dog has kennel cough think there might be something stuck in the throat due to the strange cough / retch that these dogs have, a bit like a cat trying to rid itself of a hairball or a seal honk.

4. The dog may sneeze a little but the cough is the main symptom, some dogs are quite bright and alert but others can be lethargic during the course of this disease.

5. The dog will cough and retch for a few minutes and in the end it will be productive, he will bring up some white sputum, sometimes owners take this for vomit. Once he has done this he will settle down for a bit. This however is a repeated cough / retch which just keep happening.

6. If the diagnosis is indeed kennel cough it is normally not a serious disease but will run its course given one to two weeks without treatment, however antibiotics will speed up recovery and make your dog feel better very quickly. For this reason my advice would be to have your vet check Rambo over at the next opportunity and of course this is a wise move as other diagnosis are possible. Unfortunately there is very little you can do to make him more comfortable on a home remedy basis.

7. There are effective vaccines against some forms of this disease but because there are a number of other forms vaccinated dogs can still contract this disease.

8. But in any case I should be available online for you the next four or five hours today so please do not hesitate to get straight back to me if Rambo's condition changes in any way or you would like to talk things over with me further.

Regards,

Dr Scott
Please be kind enough to rate my service to you after we have concluded our dialogue, such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
He had all his annual shots including Bordetella on August 3, 2016. He is an only dog and is rarely even around other dogs, but what you describe sounds very much like what he is doing. Thanks.
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 month ago.

Where you are dealing with sudden onset coughing / retching symptoms in a previously healthy young dog then this is often the diagnosis.

it can often be a mystery just how the dog contacted it though ...

Regards,

Dr Scott
Please be kind enough to rate my service to you after we have concluded our dialogue, such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 month ago.

Hello again,

I am just checking back in to see how Rambo is getting on after our recent dialogue concerning his coughing problem ...

Please get back to me and let me know how things are going.

Regards,

Dr Scott
Please be kind enough to rate my service to you after we have concluded our dialogue. Such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I changed filters in our air purification system and he has slept most of the day in front of the air purifier. He has nearly quit gagging, still wheezing some. First veterinary appointment I could get is Thursday, so I'll have him checked just to be sure. Thanks for the help and reassurance on a Sunday night.
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 month ago.

That sounds very encouraging, thanks for the update ...

Regards,

Dr Scott
Please be kind enough to rate my service to you after we have concluded our dialogue. Such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.