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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 16221
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My 2 yr old yorkie is hacking and coughing almost like a

Customer Question

My 2 yr old yorkie is hacking and coughing almost like a wheezing/honking noise. Started tonight and he was hacking up white foam with it. I gave him some gravy with some oil to try and coat his throat which gave him some relief and the coughing stopped for a while but now its back. I did the same thing with gravy and oil and it made him stop but when he coughs its a non stop honking loud cough. Very scary to watch. What can be wrong?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, Peggy. I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Based on his history of a sudden onset of harsh coughing in a young dog, our top concerns would be infectious upper airway issues like bacteria (ie kennel cough/bordetella) or viruses (ie parainfluenza). Less likely issues would be foreign bodies (since he shows reduction in coughing when you coated his throat), lung or heart worms, bronchitis, asthma, and pneumonia.

Now with these in mind, I must warn that often we do need to treat with antibiotics +/- dog safe anti-inflammatories (ie Metacam, Rimadyl, Previcox, etc) to clear the infection and reduce the throat inflammation. Otherwise, we can try and reduce his cough further with something a bit more effective then gravy and oil. Specifically, you can give your lad a small dose of a mild cough suppressant. First, 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. Again, this can reduce the irritation that is triggering his coughing fits and help let him rest until his check-up with his vet.

Overall, you lad's signs and history are most suspicious of a bacterial or viral upper respiratory infection. It may sound worse for him if he happens to also have a collapsing trachea (common to the breed). In any case, we would want to address this by soothing his throat with one of the above options +/- offer soft foods (to avoid any more throat irritation) and consider seeing his vet if he isn't settling so that antibiotics can be dispensed to clear this for him.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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