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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20231
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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My dog has started swallowing hard and occasionally coughing

Customer Question

My dog has started swallowing hard and occasionally coughing (hacking) as if trying to cough something up. We live in Las Vegas and she does go outside alot, so it could be that she ate a spider or somthing maybe. A resident of the house says he saw her eat a rock about 3 days ago. Also, she has seemed to have eaten a small to medium size steak bone whole that we gave her to chew on about 4 days ago. She is drinking water, but eating less since we noticed the problem two days ago. She is peeing and pooping fine. She seems to be breathing ok. Her chin has been getting sweety wet (less today and yesterday then the first day) since this started. She is still very playful, but when gets too excited starts swallowing hard. Do you think it is because of a spider, the rock, or the bone? And what should we do to treat this?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 6 years ago.
Thanks for the question

While I cannot diagnose this via the internet I can tell you the following :

In direct answer to your question : I would not be at all surprised if Bella has not contracted an infectious respiratory disease such as kennel cough. However where a dog is hacking like that other diagnosis are certainly possible but more serious diagnosis would be rare in a two year old dog.

However as kennel cough would be a front runner I will tell you what I know about it ...

Kennel cough is a common contagious respiratory disease of canines. This disease is usually associated with recently having been in kennels or having been where dogs congregate, but dogs living on their own can sometimes catch it as well as it is an airborne disease.

This is a disease which vets will see quite a lot, we often have to explain the symptoms to clients :

1. Most owners whose dog has kennel cough think there might be something stuck in the throat due to the strange cough / retch that these dogs have - a bit like a seal honk!

2. The dog may sneeze a little but the cough is the main symptom, some dogs are quite bright and alert but others can be lethargic during the course of this disease and runny eyes are a possible symptom as well.

3. The dog will cough and retch for a few minutes and in the end it will be productive, she will bring up some white sputum, some owners take this for vomit. Once she has done this he will settle down for a bit. This however is a repeated cough / retch which just keep happening.

4. It is normally not a serious disease but will run its course given one to two weeks without treatment, however antibiotics will speed up recovery and make your dog feel better very quickly.

Here is a link for more information on this disease : LINK

My advice to you is to have the vet check Bella over again as soon as possible, there is not really much you can do on a home treatment basis if this is kennel cough that you are dealing with and as I said there are other less likely possibilities other than kennel cough.

If I have not answered your question fully enough or if you would like to ask more I will be on line for the next hour or so and I will be pleased to discuss your question further.

Scott Nimmo BVMS MRCVS