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Dr. Matt
Dr. Matt, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5798
Experience:  DVM - 13 years experience in canine medicine and surgery.
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Coughing while eating,,and heavy playing....coughs and sorta

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Coughing while eating,,and heavy playing....coughs and sorta struggles breathing, with calming goes away
Hello - I am Dr. Matt - I would be glad to help you with your question.

How long ago did the coughing start?

Is Lucy acting lethargic?

Has she been to a kennel or groomer within the last 7-14 days?

Has she ever been diagnosed with a heart murmur?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Cough started w/in last wk to 10days......acts normal....has not been around other animals...never dx with heart murmur
Thank you for the additional information.

I am sorry to hear about the cough that Lucy has developed in the last 10 days. The most common causes of a cough that occurs more often when she is excited, exercises, or eats are:

- Heart disease such as a weak valve or valvular disease
- A collapsing trachea which is the most common cause in smaller breed dogs - this is basically where the trachea is made up of a very flimsy cartilage that folds or collapses when she is breathing faster
- Allergic bronchitis
- Mild pneumonia from bacteria or fungal infections
- Kennel Cough on an infection of the trachea/bronchi

At this time the best way to get an exact diagnosis would be to take Lucy to your vet to have an exam performed. Your vet will most likely also want to take an x-ray to get a better diagnosis of where the cough is coming from. I do not think that you need to rush to the vet tonight unless Lucy starts to really have labored breathing or becomes very lethargic, but I would consider taking her to the vet within the next couple of days if possible.

Your vet will be able to give her some medications to stop or reduce the cough based on the exact cause. For now if you wanted to give her something you can use some Robitussin DM very safely. The dose for dogs is 1/4 of a teaspoon for every 10 pounds every 8 hours. This can cause some drowsiness but is otherwise very safe.

Overall a collapsing trachea would be the most likely cause since she is a smaller breed dog. Most of the time getting her to calm down and relax is all you need to do to help her though some dogs do require cough suppressants to make sure that they do not have any trouble breathing. Here is a very good website that describes this disorder in more detail for you:

Hope this helps to answer your question - if not or if you have any more questions please feel free to reply by clicking on the "reply to" button. Thank you for your question!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Would a bronch be recommended?
Do you mean a bronchoscopy or bronchodilator?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
A bronchoscopy is a good test to help diagnose a collapsing trachea though sometimes a simple x-ray is all that is needed. Since bronchoscopy requires anesthesia and is much more expensive then an x-ray, most veterinarians will recommend the bronchoscopy only if an x-ray is inconclusive or if a dog is not responding to the cough suppressants.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Would u recommend a brochodilator? Albuterol 2.5 mg or 5 there a mask for dogs or deliver it blow by? Thete is never any wheezing...she just sounds like she is having a bronchospasm but no wheeze
Good questions. A bronchodilator such as albuterol can be helpful for dogs with a collapsing trachea though these are medications that are more commonly used in severe cases in which dogs constantly have problems and are not responding to cough suppressants. There is also a device that can be used for dogs in which an inhaler is attached to give doses when inhaled drugs are better or inhaled steroids are needed. Here is an example:

This type of device is more commonly used for dogs with chronic bronchitis though rather then a collapsing trachea.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Can lucy die from a collasped trachea? How does this just happen out of the previous ussues
A collapsing trachea is hardly ever life threatening. Many small breed dogs are born with very soft, flimsy cartilage in their throat though usually the symptoms of a collapsing trachea do not occur until they are more mature or start to develop a little fat around the throat/in their body. Being overweight is a risk factor for this disorder though even dogs that are thin can still develop a collapsing trachea. Since the cough is new within the last ten days, I would definitely have her examined though to make sure this is not an upper respiratory infection or similar disorder as this is also possible for her.
Dr. Matt and 4 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

I'm just following up on our conversation about Lucy. How is everything going?

Dr. Matt