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Hello! I am Dr. Laura, a veterinarian with 13 years of experience and thank you for using JustAnswer! I am sorry that Riley is not feeling well. You mentioned that the radiographs suggested something about his throat causing the coughing, did your veterinarian mention tracheal collapse by any chance?
Poor guy, that is so hard for him and you as well!
Tracheal collapse occurs when the top membrane of the trachea (windpipe) is loose and flattens when air is drawn into the airway on inspiration. It makes it difficult to get air into the lungs and occurs most frequently in middle-aged to senior dogs (4-14 years), especially Chihuahuas. Xrays are important to rule out heart failure causing his cough and it sounds like your veterinarian has done this already!
The most common clinical sign is a persistent, dry, harsh cough. It is sometimes described as a ‘goose honk’ cough. The cough may worsen at night, with excitement, with pressure on the trachea, such as from a collar, during hot or humid weather, or immediately after eating or drinking. Is this what you are witnessing Riley do?
It can be treated with anti-inflammatories, cough suppressants and bronchodilators and sometimes antibiotics for secondary infection. I would schedule a recheck examination with your veterinarian tomorrow because i think it is time to start some medications for Riley to ease his cough and keep him more comfortable! I am unable to prescribe these medications online but I do recommend keeping him close to a cool mist humidifier tonight or even allowing him time in a hot, steamy bathroom to open and soothe his airways several times a day for 10-30minutes. Keep him calm and out of the heat as these will make his coughing worse.
Prednisone could help and is sometimes prescribed, however I would not start it without discussing it with your veterinarian first as it could have some significant side effects. Benadryl is also helpful in reducing irritation of the trachea and has minimal side effects other than drowsiness and can be dose 1mg/pound.
Which antibiotic is he currently on? Any other underlying conditions (heart murmur, etc)?
For tracheal collapse, Benadryl (an antihistamine), a cough suppressant (Hydrocodone) and sometimes and anti-inflammatory are helpful. If he has a murmur, the prednisone (steroid) can be more risky. Continue the antibiotics as directed as these may eliminate any underlying infection depending on what type of antibiotic they are!
You are so welcome! I hope Riley feels better and thank you for reaching out to JustAnswer!
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