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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20902
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My dog is having unproductive hacking/retching particularly

Customer Question

My dog is having unproductive hacking/retching particularly at night several nights in a row. I took a video so you can hear the sound, however the video is not directed at his face due to the light. I can share this video if needed.
At this point I want him seen regardless but want to know if this should be an ER trip or if it can wait until the morning with our regular vet.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

Can you post your video here (using the paperclip icon) or on YouTube for me to see?

Any breathing changes?

Are his gums pink or pale/white?

Can he keep food and water down?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
He has dark gums so can't check that unfortunately. A vet once showed me how to check on his foreskin but...he has some handling issues and I think he would cooperate and also that's super gross. Breathing changes mostly seem like he is huffing/maybe even some "coughing" but rate of respiration seemed ok. He has been eating and drinking and pooping for the past 4 days normally. I will upload the video when I get to work. Sorry about the delay, I was trying to stay up to wait for your response but after he went quiet I got very tired and fell asleep unintentionally.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
would not cooperate
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

No worries, I am glad you both could get some rest.

I will keep an eye our for your video when you are able to post it for me.

Otherwise, that isn't a very nice means to have to check his perfusion. Though I would note that you should be able to roll his eyelid down and check for proper pink/perfusion there. Still if his breathing isn't elevated or suggesting distress, then poor oxygenation is less of a worry. And that means we'd not have to rush him in to be seen.

In any case, based on what you have told me, harsh coughing of this nature usually suggests a tracheal based issue. Common ones are upper airway infections (ie viral, bacterial, parasitic) but we do sometimes see these signs with bronchitis, asthma, heartworm, abnormalities with throat function/structure, and with heart disease (though usually a soft cough). And I would note that coughing signs overnight aren't surprising since often its when they are resting and there are no distractions that signs of this nature arise.

In this case, if this has been going on a few days, we need to tread with care. I would be keen to see his video to see if we can rule out a few of these but in the meantime do want to suggest that you can try giving a mild cough suppressant. Commonly we will give a few millilitres of plain honey & glycerin cough syrup or plain honey. These can be given as often as needed. Alternatively, you could use Robitussin DM at a dose of 1 milligram per pound of body weight every 8 hours. Of course, do make sure to only use this and avoid any with pet toxic cold medications (ie acetaminophen, paracetamol, ibuprofen caffeine, alcohol, or pseudoephedrine) here.

Kind regards ***** ***** will keep an eye out for that video link,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
We were able to make an appointment with our vet for today, and I will report back with an update.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

No worries,

That's grand and let me know how you get on.

Best wishes,

Dr. B.