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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30387
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My 12-yr-old lab mix has been coughing/gagging past

Customer Question

My 12-yr-old lab mix has been coughing/gagging for the past few days. He's had full vaccinations. Wondering if it could be pollen allergies with all the rainy weather we've had in Dallas, or something else?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
To answer you directly, yes, atopic (environmental allergens) respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, and gagging are seen in our dogs. We also consider simple respiratory infections such as infectious tracheobronchitis (kennel cough) particularly if he has associated with other dogs in the last 3-10 days - the incubation period for kennel cough; canine influenza which looks like kennel cough but often ends up in pneumonia; and other bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Most important - and something I've learned during my 43+ years of practice - is not to underestimate coughing in a 12 year old. Geriatric patients are overrepresented with more serious disorders that can manifest as coughing/gagging. These disorders include cardiovascular diseases such as congestive heart failure and heartworm disease as well as lower respiratory disorders such as a sterile bronchitis or even malignancy in the chest cavity. If I don't see a noticeable improvement in a 12 year old within the first week of the onset of symptoms, I X-ray their chest. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'll set up an appt with our vet right away -- definitely will take this more seriously and hope that it isn't. Many thanks for your thoughtful response!
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Sounds good. You're quite welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update - even after rating - at a time of your choosing.