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Pet Doc
Pet Doc, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7524
Experience:  Veterinarian - BVSc
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my chihuahua is hacking and nothing comes out having trouble

Customer Question

my chihuahua is hacking and nothing comes out having trouble breathing sounds like asthma,
honking sounds like goose what to do
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 8 years ago.
Hi there jo_mae,

Thank you for your question regarding your 6 year old Chihuahua who has had a dry hacking cough recently. There are a few things that could be going on here, including anything from something infectious (like kennel cough) to a physicological problem such as collapsing or hypoplastic trachea.

If this were a productive cough I would be quite concerned your girl could have heart disease, however we would be seeing other signs also like exercise intolerance and ongoing lethargy. In saying this, it would still be a good idea for your Vet to have a good listen to her chest to make sure everything sounds fine.


One of the most common causes of this symptom in little dogs is collapsing trachea, which is very common in milddle aged to older small breed dogs such as Chihuahua's. There are a few different treatments available including both surgical and medical and I would like you to have a look at this site for more information on the syndrome:


It is also important to remember this could be due to an infectious cause such as kennel cough which does cause a dry goose honk 'hacking' sort of cough as you have described. A full physical exam and temp check will help rule this in or out. Again for more info please visit:


Furthermore, if you are taking your girl for walks, please be sure to use a harness rather than a collar or choker chain to ensure there isn't any pressure put on her trachea.


If you have any further questions, please feel free to reply! I hope this has been helpful for your.


Thank you and please now click ACCEPT.


Kind Regards,


Dr M D Edwards

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
sounds like the croop in children or maybe kennel cough just a lot of hacking and labored breathing
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 8 years ago.
Hi again,

It definitely does just sound like kennel cough - but we do have to rule out the other possible causes such as heart disease and tracheal collapse, particularly due to your girl's breed as they tend to be predisposed to these problems. Your Vet will be able to get a pretty good idea of what's going on just by carrying out a full check and taking your girl's temp. If after this he or she isn't suspecting kennel cough anymore, they may wish to do a further work up which could include bloodwork and a chest xray.

Best of luck - let's hope this is just a case of kennel cough that will come right with a weeks worth of antibiotics.


Dr Edwards