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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28451
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My dog just started acting like hes gagging or has something

Customer Question

My dog just started acting like he's gagging or has something stuck in his throat. Could he be allergic to something?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
Gagging/choking/coughing are hallmarks of tracheal irritation secondary to infection (infectious tracheobronchitis/kennel cough), allergy (secondary to post-nasal drip and inflammation of the lymphoid tissue - adenoids - in the oropharynx (back of the throat and up into the nose)), and a foreign body (plant awn, e.g.) stuck in the back of his throat and particularly behind Dinky's tonsil(s). If Dinky has been recently kenneled or groomed or played in the dog park, infection is the most likely cause of his gagging. These infections usually remiss untreated in an adult dog within 7-10 days. Allergies/post-nasal drips may persist and need to be treated with a short course of a corticosteroid such as prednisone or perhaps an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) at a dose of 1mg/lb repeated in 8-12 hours if necessary. Foreign bodies require that our dogs be sedated and their throats explored. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish. It's quite late here now and I have to leave my laptop but I promise to reply in the morning if need be.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We live in the country and he has never been to a dog park, I groom him myself and he's never been kenneled. Just before this started, he was chewing on his foot like he had a burr or something but by the time I got to him, I didn't find anything. That's why, looking back to when this started a couple of days ago, I am wondering if he swallowed part of a burr or part of a nail. He and all of our Mini-pins have always had episodes of kind of gagging or snorting with their heads down like he's doing now but it has never persisted for a period of more than a few minutes a few times per month. Since he's still eating and drinking, I really don't know what to think, especially since I read that dog flu has been going around. I have also had a sore throat and post nasal drip for about 4 days and wonder if I gave him something or he gave me something? Or if it's just high pollen count affecting us both. My sons cat comes over for play dates with our dogs (we have 3 indoor dogs and 2 outdoor dogs - both contained in a fenced yard)and he was here just before this started and my son had to take him to the vet because he had a sinus infection. Is this coincidence or could it be a factor? I've been a dog owner for my entire life - usually purebreds - and this has just stumped me and I'm concerned but I live a long way from a vet and have just recently moved here and don't know who to trust. I'd like to be prepared before I submit my dog to any kind of treatment. I'd appreciate your opinion.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 years ago.
Thank you. Chewing on feet is suggestive of atopy (allergies to inhalants) in our dogs so his gagging/snorting may be reflective of that kind of allergy as well. He may be "backward sneezing" - an inhalatory spasm seen secondary to inflammation in the oropharynx as seen here: If he's still eating and drinking, it's unlikely that he's seriously ill; canine influenza is an uncommonly found and a specific respiratory infection that often results in pneumonia. Your dog would continue gagging and coughing and in fact worsen if the dog flu were truly present. Your viral cold can't be contracted by him. If, however, you were actually having an "allergy attack" instead, it would support his having allergic symptoms at this time. Similarly, he wouldn't be able to contract anything from your son's cat. As long as he remains stable, "watchful waiting" is appropriate. I rarely treat upper respiratory infections in dogs because they usually remiss on their own. Allergies that affect my patient's quality of life are addressed with a short term low-dose prednisone trial. In general, then, infection is expected to remiss within 7-10 days unaided. Allergy may persist for weeks/months. Please continue our conversation if you wish.
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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it!

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