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Dr. Henderson
Dr. Henderson, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 564
Experience:  Emergency and Critical Care Veterinarian, Adjunct Professor
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My dog wheezes like he has asthma and coughs. Sometimes he

Customer Question

My dog wheezes like he has asthma and coughs. Sometimes he throws up white foam. He has been on and off antibiotics and steriods for 8 months and nothing is working. Also, have tried clariton daily. Any ideas of what this could be? He has had x-rays to check heart and has had blood work and everything turns out fine.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Henderson replied 8 years ago.
Hi there,
Wow, that is a long time!
How old is your dog? What is the breed? Does the wheezing happen anytime during the day? Or only at exercise?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

XXXXX XXXXX broke coat he is 1yr 10 months too young for this the drs are at a loss of what to do he exercises all the time very very energetic you would never think anything was wrong with him until he starts in with the wheezing and coughing it happens at any time...nothing particular triggers it. i have kept him inside only in the front yard not the back then switched and nothing seems to help have kept him from swimming in the pool for 3 weeks and it didnt seem to help i don't bath him with anything and still same results it is the strangest thing. the only time i noticed i put some flea spray on him once and then he really got bad i gave him the steriod 1/2 pill then he was fine. i only use the frontline and not the spray now but i have even had him off that for 4 months now and still nothing. i had the yard sprayed so the fleas are under control.


Expert:  Dr. Henderson replied 8 years ago.
Most often, wheezing is from an allergy. However, it sounds like your dog has already been treated for this with the steroids. Sometimes, bacteria can play a role in wheezing (upper respiratory infection)- it sounds like antibiotics however have already been tried.

What I would do..
1) Consider referral to a internal medicine specialist. They can run a test called a bronchoscope (they can actually look in your dogs airways with a camera and take samples of this fluid)- to determine if a fungs is present in there, a resistant bacteria or even a parasite (such as a lungworm)

2) Get your dog heartworm tested to make sure this isnt the culprit.

3) Have a full blood panel and a fecal sample sent to the lab to make sure there are no metabolic problems. Certain rare lungworms can appear on a fecal test (the lab can tell your vet exactly how they want the samples to check for lungworm).

4) Have your pet allergy tested (your vet can send out blood to the lab for an allergy panel. It is possible that this is a severe allergy and just needs to be better controlled with the steroids also.

I hope this helps!
Dr. H
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
he has had the full blood panel and fecal sent to lab and nothing showed up also been tested for heart worms and the blood work was sent out for blood work will try for #1 the only thing we haven't done and see if we can get a result from that. i am up with him now as he is hacking just miserably and i have nothing to give him the dr doesn't want to have him on the steriod any more for liability issues but he just can't be taken off without being weened can he? he has been on them as i said 8 months
Expert:  Dr. Henderson replied 8 years ago.
<p>Wow, that is a nightmare:( It really sounds like you have gone through many of the tests. I would definitely request a referral for a bronchoscope. I think 8 months going on like this is too long and these airways/lungs need a better look with the camera and samples from this area to get to the bottom of this.</p><p> </p><p>I wish you the best, XXXXX XXXXX request a referral,</p><p>Dr H</p>
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
  • Laryngeal Hypoplasia: Failure of development of the larynx (voice box) causing breathing difficulties.


  • Tracheal Collapse: Improper formation of cartilaginous rings of the trachea causing mild to severe breathing problems.


  • Tracheal Hypoplasia: A small trachea due to improper development causes mild to severe breathing difficulties
  • i just found these on the XXXXX XXXXX website ...if it is one of those above is there anything i can do to help him??.
  • Expert:  Dr. Henderson replied 8 years ago.
    Yup, all of those are possibilities, but the trahceal hypoplasia could be diagnosed by xray (and your vet didn't see this), a tracheal collapse is usually more of a cough during times of exercise or movement and not usually described as a constant wheeze. However, if the collapse is really bad, they could wheeze (your vet sometimes can also see this on xray, and didn't), and the laryngeal hypoplasia is definitely a possibility, but again can be looked at with the camera when the bronchoscope is done since the larynx is at the back of the throat. Usually these dogs have more of a stridorous breathing problem vs a wheeze.

    I really think you need a referral for this one for scoping since the radiographs havent given the answer yet:)
    Dr. Henderson and other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
    Customer: replied 8 years ago.
    thank you i will find a specialist for the scoping and go from there.
    Expert:  Dr. Henderson replied 8 years ago.
    Your welcome, please keep me posted if the answer is found with scoping:))