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Dr. Scarlett
Dr. Scarlett, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4110
Experience:  I am a practicing small animal veterinarian with 18 years experience.
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My dog was neutered last Wednesday and given his rabies shot.

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My dog was neutered last Wednesday and given his rabies shot. About 8 days after his surgery he started gagging like he was trying to cough up a hair ball. He vomit was clear. He did this off and on through the night and the next day. It has lessened each day and he is not vomitting, just gagging. His incision is not swollen or red. His nose is moist and wet. Is this related to the surgery or the vaccine or do I have something else to be concerned about. He is a 7 year old XXXXX XXXXX Terrier.
The rabies vaccine can make a dog feel rather lethargic and there might be some pain at the injection site, but only for a day or two after getting the vaccine. Less likely reactions to a vaccine include vomiting and swelling (an allergic reaction), but this would occur within a couple hours of the vaccination. So don't think 8 days later the symptoms your dog has can be attributed to the rabies vaccine.

Most dogs being neutered will receive gas anesthesia through an endotracheal tube. Having this tube in the trachea can cause some dogs to cough and gag for a few days after the surgery. I can't imagine that it would start up 8 days after the surgery. So I don't think the neutering is the problem, either.

Kennel cough, however, is a possibility. The incubation period for kennel cough is 5-7 days. It is possible that there was a dog in the hospital at the same time as your dog that was coughing. Sometimes a dog will receive the intranasal kennel cough vaccine at the time of surgery. If it is given BEFORE the dog is anesthetized, the vaccine can get into the tracheal tube and could potentially be passed to another dog. Because the intranasal vaccine is a modified live vaccine, the occasional dog will develop some symptoms, although they will pass pretty quickly.

So if your dog is slowly improving, continues to eat, drink, and be active, I would just monitor him for any changes.

Hope that helps!
Dr. Scarlett
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