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Seems like something is stuck in my dog's throat. Help!

I believe my dog may...

I believe my dog may have something lodged in his throat, because he keeps trying to cough something up, all day. He's eating fine, drinking water, and breathing fine, but the "gagging" is concerning me, and the ER vet clinic won't offer me any advice other than going in. Is there anything you can suggest? We tried running our fingers along the back of this throat, but couldn't feel anything. Not that we know what the back of a dogs throat is supposed to feel like.

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Answered in 2 minutes by:
10/15/2011
Dr. Peter
Dr. Peter, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 31,403
Experience: 16 years of internal medicine, surgery, and preventive care.
Verified

I need to ask you a few questions to be well informed and give you the best advise.

1- How long has this been going on?
2- Any changes in his breathing?
3- Has he been around unfamiliar dogs in the last week or so like a kennel, dog park, etc.?
4- Any pre existing medical conditions?
5- Take a look at his gums and see if they are pink or pale?

6- How much does he weigh?

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

It started this morning, his breathing has not changed, no unfamiliar dogs, and his gums are always pink. He weighs 20lbs.

What you are describing could be consistent with an upper respiratory infection called "kennel cough." Less likely, it could be secondary to a collapsing trachea, foreign body or even cardiopulmonary disease. Start him on Robitussin DM (cough) 1/2 teaspoon every 6-8 hours; rest him, no running or jumping. Follow up with your family veterinarian.

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Foreign body lodged in his throat is the most likely and what I need to know, hopefully without having to bring him into the ER, is how to potentially dislodge it.

Dr. Dave
Dr. Dave, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4,125
Experience: 23 years small animal general and emergency practice
Verified

While a foreign body lodged in the throat is possible, it's overall very unlikely to be the cause of the type of coughing you are describing. When dogs come in for coughing "like something is stuck in it's throat", I would say 99% of the time, it's due to tracheobronchitis (tracheal irritation or infection), and less likely other causes, including a foreign body. Also, even in off chance that it would actually be a foreign body lodged in the throat, other than sweeping your finger in the back of Bijou's mouth, there really is no way to remove something like that at home. Foreign material lodged in a dog's throat, esophagus, or trachea, typically needs to be removed under sedation, with long instruments, with endoscopy, or with surgery.

So, other than giving the Robitussin, Bijou would need to be examined by a veterinarian to determine the exact cause of the coughing, and especially if foreign material is lodged in Bijou's throat, esophagus, or trachea.

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Thank you. Even though it's really not what I wanted to hear, I feel your explanation, although pretty much the same as Dr. Peter, was more detailed (like the cough of kennel cough sounds like something is stuck in his throat).
Is there a vaccination for kennel cough? And if so, is it good for life? Or an annual requirement?
Also, how long should I keep him on the Robitussin?

Yes, there is a vaccine for kennel cough. There is an injectable vaccine, and a vaccine that is dribbled in the nostrils. The one that is given in the nostrils is supposed to be a bit more effective. It is usually given once a year. I would keep him on the Robitussin for the next few days (4-5), unless the coughing is worsening in the meantime. If you elect to try the Robitussin (as opposed to having an exam performed), if the coughing is not improved at all over the next few days, he really should be examined at that time for more appropriate treatment.

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Oh definitely. If not better by Monday, I will call his vet. Thank you for your help.

You're very welcome! I hope everything goes very well.

Dr. Dave
Dr. Dave, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4,125
Experience: 23 years small animal general and emergency practice
Verified
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