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Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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My dog is coughing up or vomiting a lot of mucus

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My dog is "coughing up" or vomiting a lot of mucus. There is no bile or food in the vomit.

A search of the internet suggested maybe an inflamed intestine which made me think about a raw hide I had given her a few days ago.

What advise might you give me?

Welcome to JustAnswer! I would need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

How often is this happening?
Is she eating still?
Any diarrhea?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes her appetite is good. No diarrhea. She started coughing this afternoon then coughed up a little mucus later and then again before bed. Laid down and coughed every few min but didn't seem to exit her mouth... she would swallow it. I got up to search internet, she got up with me and vomited up "a lot" of mucus. Stopped for awhile, until we went back to bed and then she began again... not as often though. Haven't heard her since I sent my question. She seems to have gone to sleep.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Not tonight but yes, she does this often.

Has she been to the groomer recently, or to a boarding kennel, or dog park - or anywhere around other dogs?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I walk her daily and she visits with other dogs. She was also recently at the vet for shots. She did just cough again similar to the video you sent but not as long... although she coughs like that all the time.

What breed of dog is she, or what mix?
Was she at the vet in the last 3 to 10 days?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No not recently to the vet ... at least three weeks ago. She is a beagle, cocker(sp?) mix. We adopted her from a rescue group but almost 7 years ago. She seems to feel okay for the most part. Lifts her leg to get a belly scratch just now.

LOL about the belly rub! Good to know that she feels well enough for that! ;-)
And have you ever seen food in what she is bringing up?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
no, no food just thick mucus... she will cough up mucus every once in a while but tonight was constaint after we had gone to bed and it made me worry

What you are describing in your 9 yr old Cocker-BEagle sounds very much like Kennel Cough.

It really sounds like a primary coughing problem, not vomiting as there is never bile or food in what she is bringing up. Also, she is eating and does not have diarrhea, which again points away from the intestinal tract being the problem.

Let me explain...

Kennel cough (Bordetella, infectious tracheobronchitis) is a highly contagious cough that is transmitted by saliva or through an aerosol when a dog coughs.

With kennel cough, dogs have a cough that sounds like something is stuck in their throat, and after coughing a few times they have what is called a "terminal gag" which means that they sound like they are bringing up phlegm.

If you watch closely, you will often see dogs swallow after this final gag - they are in fact swallowing phlegm.

Some dogs will even cough up a puddle of clear, whitish, or slightly yellow mucoid fluid.

Kennel cough is highly contagious so dogs that have this should be kept isolated from other dogs for 2-3 weeks until it resolves.

It is possible that your dog got this from another dog walking by the yard, or by picking up a stick that was in the mouth of another dog that had kennel cough, or you could even have brought it home on your shoes/pants if you passed a dog that had kennel cough. It is HIGHLY contagious - just as the cold and flu viruses are for humans.

The incubation period (time from when she was exposed to it, until time he starts showing symptoms) is anywhere from 3 to 10 days.

Most cases resolve without medications, but in some cases patients are put on antibiotics and/or cough suppressants.

Antibiotics are used in dogs who are at risk for a secondary pneumonia (very young or very old dogs, or those with a suppressed immune system).

Cough suppressants are used when the cough is so severe that the dog cannot sleep. There can be quite a bit of phlegm with kennel cough, and it is better that the dog DOES cough that up, rather than leave it in the lungs by suppressing the cough. However, there has to be a balance where it's possible for the dog and his human companions to sleep.

For dogs that are unable to sleep, I do sometimes advise owners of my patients that they can give cough syrup. I advise them that it is very important to read the label carefully and find a cough medicine that contains ONLY dextromethorphan (DM). This can be given to dogs.Talk to your vet about whether this is ok for your dog!

Here is more about precautions and dose:

Watch your dog to see if she is retching or gagging at the end of her coughing episode. Since it sounds like she is, and because she is coughing up puddles of phlegm, she likely has kennel cough. Many dogs will vomit due to the intensity of the coughing.

I'll give you links to further information:

If she coughs up fluid that is green, or is blood-tinged, or she is lethargic or has difficulty breathing, then you should definitely see a vet.

Many dogs with Kennel Cough seem to have a sore throat and thus don't want to eat their dry food. You can soften it with warm water to make it easier to swallow.

Keep your dog isolated from other dogs for at least 2 weeks! Keep her as quiet as possible - just out for potty breaks and back in. Kennel cough usually gets worse for 2-3 days, then frequent coughing with phlegm for 2-3 days, then starts to slowly get better.

It is also helpful to walk dogs with Kennel cough on a head halter or chest halter, as a leash around the neck can pull on the trachea and start a coughing spell.

I do hope that this helps you to help your dog!

Best wishes to you and to your dog!


Dr.Fiona and 2 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks very much for help. I will watch her closely.
You are so very welcome! I hope she feels better soon!


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