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Dr. Hinson
Dr. Hinson, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1855
Experience:  11+ years experience in the veterinary field. Experience with small, large and exotic species.
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When a dog is coughing due to heartworms, isnt it ...

Customer Question

When a dog is coughing due to heartworms, isn't it because the heartworms are constricting there air? So Robitussion would do nothing for them...Correct? When my dog does his seal cough, and I give him Robitussion does that mean that it is more likely something other than heartworms?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Hinson replied 8 years ago.

I'm sorry that your dog is having this problem.

The coughing is because the heartworms are living inside the heart and the pulmonary artery, which is the artery from the heart that supplies blood to the lungs. Therefore blood tends to back up into the lungs causing the cough. The heartworms are not constricting the air.

You are correct, the Robitussin will do nothing.

I doubt the cough is from anything else unless the dog has concurrent kennel cough or something like that.

Is the dog being treated for heartworms?

Has he had xrays of his lungs and heart done?

Dr. Hinson
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Hinson's Post: Yes he was diagnosed with heartworm on May 29th, the vet gave him two shots that they adminiistered on June 2. According to the vet, he was in the early stages. For the whole month of June he was kept in their Kennel because I was not able to keep him calm. On July 1st I noticed he had this coug that sounds like a seal, they said he had Kennel cough and provided him with an antibotic. For that entire week I gave him it he never had the cough, but the next week I had to kennel him again due to my job. This place I took him to noticed that he did not have the Boardtella shot, so they gave it to him. When I picked him up a week later I noticed the cough was back again. When I give him a 1/2 tsp of Robitussion it takes the cough away, but once it wears off he gets the cough back.
Expert:  Dr. Hinson replied 8 years ago.
Yes, the Robitussin will help if it is kennel cough.

Unfortunately, kennel cough is a virus and needs to run it's course. Most of the time we treat the cough because it is annoying. We give antibiotics to prevent a secondary bacterial infection but it is not going to kill the virus.

If he is eating and drinking fine then I wouldn't worry too much. Just keep using the Robitussin for the cough (the DM formula is the one you should be using).

As for the heartworms. The treatment your vet gave is to kill the adult worms living in the heart and pulmonary artery. When the worms die they break off in little pieces. Those pieces can become emboli and lodge in a blood vessel in the lungs. So if the cough worsens or if your dog seems to have trouble breathing I would take him to your vet right away for treatment.

I would still be cautious about letting him do too much exercise especially with the concurrent kennel cough. Keep him as quiet as possible.

Let me know if you have more questions!

Dr. Hinson
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Hinson's Post: I just have one more question. My job has me traveling around 90% of my time, and I have noticed that when I take him he does not have these coughing spells. But when we get back to Oklahoma it seems like there more common. Could he have canine asthma? What would be more signs of that? His appetite and drinking levels have been normal, and he does not have a fever.
Expert:  Dr. Hinson replied 8 years ago.
Canine asthma in the true definition is not that common. They can get allergic bronchitis which could cause some coughing. Meaning the dog is allergic to something in the environment.

Honestly, we know he has kennel cough and heartworm disease so I would wait until he is over both of these and then see how he does when you travel. Usually most signs a dog has can be related back to one problem. We know he has two problems. It would be odd for him to have three concurrent problems.

Now that you are aware of the coughing and trying to figure out exactly what is going on then I would try to keep a journal of when you notice the coughing and see if you can definitely relate it to the location.

Best of luck to you.

Dr. Hinson

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