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My little dog has been coughing all day. I didn't think much…

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My little dog has...

My little dog has been coughing all day. I didn't think much of it initially, but she is continuing to cough.. She hasn't been around any other dogs to get kennel cough, but isn't vaccinated for that either. I'm just not sure if I need to take her to the emergency vet, which is very expensive or watch and wait until my vet reopens on Friday. She's acting normal except for the cough.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. Coughing can be worrying. The Expert will know what you should do. What is the dog's name and age?

Minnie and she's 6 years old. Schnauzer/Poodle mix, 10lbs.

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Minnie?

I don't think so

Submitted: 5 months ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
11/23/2017
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 5 months ago
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18,150
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

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Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 5 months ago

I'm sorry to hear that Minnie has a cough and I understand that you are concerned about her.

A cough simply means she is experiencing airway irritation.

A cough can be related to heart disease, including heartworm, lung disease secondary to a viral, bacterial, fungal or parasitic infection or tracheal irritation due to a bacterial, viral or fungal infection.

In a young dog infectious disease is by far the most common cause. Of those kennel cough or infectious tracheobronchitis is one of the most common causes. I understand that she hasn't been exposed directly to other dogs but if she goes to a groomer, goes on walks or has dogs living close by then kennel cough could still be a possible problem.

Even if she had been vaccinated we cannot vaccinate against all of the agents that cause kennel cough and some dogs will still get sick even with the vaccine.

As long as she is still able to eat and drinking well, isn't lethargic, isn't running a fever (rectal temperature greater than 103F), and she doesn't have a green or yellow nasal or eye discharge then you can try taking a watch and see approach for now and using an over the counter cough suppressant if she is coughing so much she cannot rest.

Make sure she gets plenty of fluids, lots of rest as the more active she is then more she will cough, and eats well. Add warm water or low salt chicken broth to her food. The better hydrated she is the better she will feel and the thinner her respiratory secretions will be.

You can take her into the bathroom with you when you take a hot bath or shower so she can breathe the steam which is soothing to her airways and thins mucous, making it easier for her to breathe. You can also use a humidifier in the room she sleeps in.

If this is kennel cough her cough should slowly resolve over the next 2 to 3 weeks. Most of the time these dogs feel pretty well so it's a matter of keeping them quiet and suppressing the cough if we can.

If the cough is very bad you can use human cough/cold medications with Guaifenesin (an expectorant) and Dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant) only such as Benylin or Robitussin DM can help. Give 1 teaspoon per 20 to 25 pounds every 6 to 8 hours.

If she is running a fever this is almost certainly a contagious infection and if she is running a fever and is lethargic then an examination is definitely warranted as pneumonia may have developed.

Rarely this can be a sign of canine influenza, but those dogs tend to be much sicker with a very high fever and severe lethargy. If she suddenly gets much worse and has a high fever she should see her veterinarian. Aggressive supportive care can save her life with a bad influenza infection. Make sure to let them know her symptoms when you are bringing her in as she should be quarantined.

You do want to keep her away from dog parks, the groomer, doggie daycares, and neighbor dogs, and ideally she should not be walked so she doesn't spread this.

If she is not currently taking heartworm prevention then heartworm could be a concern too. If that is the case she should see her veterinarian on Monday to be tested.

Unless she is refusing to eat and drink, has blue or gray gum coloration, is consistently open mouth breathing and unable to rest comfortably a cough usually isn't an emergency, so I don't think you need to rush her into the emergency service.

Best of luck with your girl, please let me know if you have any further questions.

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Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 4 months ago

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your pup. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****

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