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DrRalston, Veterinarian
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Experience:  Over twelve years of experience in surgery and internal medicine.
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My 9 year old Austie keeps coughing and hacking like hes got

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My 9 year old Austie keeps coughing and hacking like he's got something stuck in his throat. He's panting and pacing heavenly these days. What could be done?

EC-New Jersey
Hello, I'm Dr Ralston and I have just a few questions for you.

How long has Spunky been coughing like this? What I mean is when did it first start, and when did it seem to get worse? Months?

Any weakness, fainting, coordination issues that you have noticed?

Thanks - DrR
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I would say it started about 6 months ago. About a month ago I noticed he had a rash under his belly and now the rash spreading in back of the head area down his back. Could this be allergies? And what can I do for him?



Well, it's not that simple.

This cough has been going on for a long time. I would call it chronic. There are several things that need to be checked though Elsa.

First - allergies do not typically cause a cough in dogs. And the rash may be completely unrelated to the cough.

Can you see videos?

I have collected a few different videos with different types of cough.

Take a look at these and let me know which you think it is more like, deal?

I have a good idea of what it might be, looking forward to hearing from you.

I would describe them like this:
With kennel cough, it is a series of hacking coughs, and then a gag at the end. Sometimes there is foXXXXX XXXXX stuff/phlegm that comes out. It goes kind of ACK ACK ACK ...GAAAAAAG!! Then a pause, then repeat.

Kennel Cough 1
Kennel Cough 2

With reverse sneeze, you notice that the pup is breathing in when he does it. It almost always sounds like, kind of an inward snorting type of laugh, and usually there is no gag at the end. It happens with excitement typically.
Reverse Sneeze

The collapsed trachea happens when the pet is breating heavy. But, unlike reverse sneeze it happens after the inward breath, when the pet is breathing out. So they breathe in, the trachea collapses, and they COUGH out. You can hear the dog in this video breathing in before coughing out when it slows down a bit.
Tracheal Collapse

The heart failure cough is usually a soft coughing, with a kind of locomotive breathing/panting. The pet usually does not look good. Their necks stretch out. They are anxious, their heads hang low.They are exhausted from trying to breathe so heavy.
Heart Failure
Heart Failure
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'm unable to open links, but, it sounds like the kennel type. Spunky does the hacking coughs, and then gags at end. He spits out some kind of a watery white foam and he does kind of ACK ACK ACK ...GAAAAAAG!! and most times repeats but most likely it's once.



Ok Good!

I think that it would be best to get an x-ray due to the length of time of the cough. Lung changes might be present already that indicate chronic bronchitis for example, or even worse infection.

Pneumonia usually leads to discharge from the nose in dogs.. yellow. Lack of appetite and a fever is often present of over 103 degrees F

An xray will often rule out other causes of cough like a tumor in the chest for example. Heart tumors are not uncommon in this breed unfortunately. In fact they are too common I think. So, an xray is really the best bet.

Kennel cough does sound very similar too. Often the disease is limiting and will go away on its own.

BUT, after this much time, I think you will want antibiotics to treat it and some anti-inflammatory medications. Those will have to come from your Vet.

At home, adding humidty to the air will help (unless you are already in a humid environment). I think robitussin might be a good option that you could try to help control the cough, and pharyngeal secretions (like post nasal drip). Generally, Robitussin is a dministered every 12 hours at a dosage of 0.5 to 1 milligrams (mg) per pound. Regular robitussin without any extra additives. Ask your pharmacist if you are unsure.

But if this does not resolve the cough quickly for sure follow up with your Vet.

Unfortunately, it still isn't that simple. I am going to post the entire workup for chronic cough for you and you will see why :

Nasal cavity irritation with post nasal drip.
Pharyngeal/laryngeal : Trauma, FB, infection: bacterial, viral, fungal, parasites, neoplasia, laryngeal parlysis/collapse
Trachea/lower airway: Trauma FB allergy infection viral distemper:parainfluenza, bordetella, dirofillaria,
parasites: capillaria, fillaroides
fungal: blasto, crypto, aspergillus

DX: Thoracic rads -> TTW -> tracheoscopy - broncoscopy

collapse- hypoplasia, cilliary dyskenesia, segmental steroids,

rare cancers:

cardiac disease: pulmonary edema/ left atrial enlargement (bronchus compression)
mediastinal disease: lymphosarcoma, thymoma, tracheobronchial lymphadenopathy

primary cilliary dyskenesia -English (-springers, pointers, OESD, Godlen, bichon, Sharpeis)

Baytril 2.5 mg/kg po bid with amoxi 10-20 mg/kg BID
Fenbendazole 25-50mg/kg/day for 10-30 days (Osterus Osteri)
IVM 200-400 micrograms /kg SC repeat in 3 weeks (on heartgard?)
Cough tabs/robitussin
Doxycycline 5-10 mg/kg po SID/ Good pulmonary pentration w/o culture
ketoconazole: antifungal

Pediatric afrin BID 4 then 4d off
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