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Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
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my dog has been hacking, and choking, and vomiting for the ...

Customer Question

my dog has been hacking, and choking, and vomiting for the past 7 days, she has 4-6 bouts of it a day lasting anywhere from 5 minutes to a half hour, afterwards she has very labored breathing that lasts 15-30 minutes, she can''t eat or drink much she just thows it all up. she does eat, but at times eating sets it off. The first few days the vomit was clear and foamy, now it is some clear with green mucas, on the third day i brought her to a vet they prescribed antibiotics "amoxil 200 mg" and said she had kennel cough, shes never been boarded. we are a small town and vets are rare i want a second opinion, shes getting worse with her labored breathing, vomiting and we are very worried. i checked her heart rate its 88 beats per min resting, her lungs sound clear but she takes quick short breaths. i hope you can help us
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer! I would like to try to help you and your dog with this problem, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you both.

Did this all start pretty suddenly, or did it come on over a few days/weeks?

What day was it that she last saw her vet?

How much does she weigh, and how many tablets of the Amoxil 200mg does she take and how often?

Has she ever been vaccinated for Kennel Cough (bordatella bronchiseptica)?

Does she have nasal discharge?

What is her resting respiratory rate?


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
it all started suddenly on monday april 14, i brought her to the vet wednesday april 16th, & she weighs 68lbs, her meds are amoxil 200 mg 1 1/2 in the morning and 1 1/2 in the evening. she has had all her shots to date, including distemper, hepatitis, para influenza, parvovirus, coronavirus, but not bordatella. she does not have nasal discharge. her resting respiratory rate is 88 beats per minute.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.

Hi again,

You mentioned in the initial post that her heart rate was 88 bpm - is that right, or was that her resp rate, or are they the same?

Does it look like this when she coughs:


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
these are the symptoms she is having from what it says in these articles, the labored breathing is what worries me most, her respitory is 72 per minute, her heart rate is 88. I also have 3 cats, is this contagious to them?
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.

Hi again,

Did the way those dogs in the videos were coughing look like what she is doing?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
sorry i did not find any video clips, there is nothing that says watch video. i just read the articles, i would really like to see the video though.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.
OOOPs - let me find the right back...
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
thank you so much!!!!
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
yes that is exactly what it is, but her labored breathing and yellow and green mucas worries me, could she have pnuemonia, and is this contagious to my 3 cats
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.

Hi again,

From what you are describing, I am very concerned that your dog has pneumonia secondary to having Kennel cough. Let me explain a bit more...

Kennel Cough (Bordetella Bronchiseptica, infectious trachebronchitis) is a highly contagious cough. It is transmitted by saliva or through an aerosol when a dog coughs. With kennel cough, dogs have a cough that sounds like something is stuck in their throat, and after coughing a few times they have what is called a "terminal gag" which means that they sound like they are bringing up phlegm. If you watch closely, you will often see dogs swallow after this final gag - they are in fact swallowing phlegm. Some dogs will even cough up a puddle of clear, whitish, or slightly yellow mucoid fluid.

Kennel cough is highly contagious so dogs that have this should be kept isolated from other dogs for 2-3 weeks until it resolves. You asked if it would be contagious to your cats. The short answer to your question is YES kennel cough can be transmitted from the dog to your cats, and NO it doesn't happen very often.

Clinical signs of Bordetella infection aren't common in cats. Coughing and mild upper respiratory tract infection signs are typical (a lot like "kennel cough" with a little eye and nose discharge thrown in). Cats may also run a low grade fever. They usually get better without any treatment, and then would be immune for at least 6 months.

Unless your cat has health problems like feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus, I would not expect her to have any serious health consequences on the off chance that she did catch this from your dog.

Most cases of canine kennel cough resolve without medications, but in some cases patients are put on antibiotics and/or cough suppressants. Antibiotics are used in dogs who are at risk for a secondary pneumonia (very young or very old dogs, or those with a suppressed immune system). Cough suppressants are used when the cough is so severe that the dog cannot sleep. There can be quite a bit of phlegm with kennel cough, and it is better that the dog DOES cough that up, rather than leave it in the lungs by suppressing the cough. However, there has to be a balance where it's possible for the dog and his human companions to sleep.

Amoxil is not my favourite antibiotic choice for kennel cough. Penicillins (like amoxicillin) do not penetrate well into the respiratory tract. Bordetella organisms attach to ciliated epithelial cells that line the trachea and bronchi. Many drugs do not attain therapeutic concentrations in respiratory secretions. It's not common to spread to pneumonia but as you've found out it does happen from time to time. So generally I find amoxil is a poor choice. Doxycycline (or tetracycline) and quinolones (such as enrofloxacin or ciprofloxacin) are better. Chloramphenicol has been used in the past and historical data shows good susceptibility. Macrolides (clindamycin, azithromycin) are worth checking into. Maybe the best treatment is nebulization with gentamicin or amikacin. Intratracheal injections with gentamicin have also been described.

Furthermore, your dog is on a fairly conservative dose of Amoxil. Here is more about this drugm including dose range:

And more about Baytril (enrofloxacin) which would be my first choice of drug to put her on:


So, in summary, from what you are describing, I am very concerned that your dog has pneumonia. If she came in to my clinic and we did not have to worry about money at all, I would recommend blood work and x-rays to see what is going on with her chest. If these tests supported a diagnosis of pneumonia, I would start her on Baytril and possibly nebulize her (using an inhaler and mask) with gentamicin if she was in serious condition. This could be done at home. I do think it is very important to get her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible! If you are in a time zone where a vet is open, it would be best to have her seen tonight as I do feel she is quite sick!

If this has been helpful, please "Accept" my answer and provide feedback. I will still be here to answer further questions!



Dr.Fiona and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.
PS the pneumonia part is not contagious to the cats, and neither the Bordetella nor the pneumonia is contagious to a human! :-)
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I Thank You so much for your time and patience, unfortunately it is almost 8:30 p.m. here in Maine and there is only one vet in my area and I won't be able to speak to anyone this evening, I will however call first thing in the morning. Again Thank You!!
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
i do have azithromycin, its a prescription i had prescibed for myself, but i never used, it is 250 mgs each, what dose do you recommend?
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.

Hmmm... this gets tricky! ;-) My medical licence specifically prohibits me from prescribing medication for an animal that I have not examined. Now, IF I had examined a dog much like yours with a similar history to yours, I might very well prescribe azithromycin to *that* dog. If such a dog were to weigh 65-70lbs, I would give about 250mg once daily for 7days to that dog. But please understand that I cannot prescribe that for your dog!

For more information about this antibiotic, here is a link:

Best wishes to you and your dog! Fiona

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.

Hi there,

Just wondering how your dog is doing? Was there improvement on the azithromycin? Hoping all is well! Fiona