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Dr. Marcia
Dr. Marcia, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 577
Experience:  I am a Companion Animal Veterinarian with 15 years of medical and surgical experience
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my 15 yr old shih tzu has been coughing and sneezing for almost

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my 15 yr old shih tzu has been coughing and sneezing for almost 3 months, also has yellowish discharge in the eyes and wet sneezing, we have been using boiron- chestal cough syrup works (honey) and homeopathic remedies short term. + vaporizer. <br />have been to 3 vets, 1 said , heart murmur due to her age level III/VI <br />another said old age. x rays and blood tests show no chf or heart disease <br />3rd vet said use homeopathic for coughing and oxygen , but NO heart murmer, my husband and i questioned if allergy or bacterial infection to all 3, none of them do a C & S at all. <br />one vet wanted to do a trachea wash under anesthaesia instead of an elisa test to look for allergies? why? <br />please help , the coughing sneezing and wheezingoccur more at night, but when use of cough syrup, she sleeps fine,please call me I do not have access to text, please xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Good Morning and thank you for writing in to Just Answer!


It sounds like overall your 15 year old dog has been doing very well for her age! I am sure this ongoing coughing and sneezing is getting frustrating for you and her, however.

Of course I can't diagnose her online, but I can offer you my thoughts based on what you have described.

Based on the symptoms and the fact this has gone on chronically (3 months), I would have a couple of thoughts: Respiratory infection (such as upper respiratory, sinusitis, or infectious bronchitis, or even pneumonia) and/or chronic bronchitis.

I don't have access to her full medical records and all that has been discussed or done, but I certainly would be concerned about the possibility of bacterial infection, simply because she has had eye discharge and wet sneezing and coughing for 3 months and this has not resolved fully. Sometimes the x-rays on dogs with these symptoms may not show much. In those cases, based on the symptoms and the length of time this has gone on, a course of antibiotics would not be a bad idea to assess response. Of course, diagnostic testing can also be done first, such as transtracheal wash, which one of your vets suggested. This sample can be cultured to see if infection is occurring and what type of infection.

One type of infection that really comes to my mind is Mycoplasma. This is an unique type of bacteria that can cause a lot of respiratory signs, such as coughing, sneezing, and red gunky eyes (conjunctivitis). I would be suspicious of this especially in your dog. In my experience the x-rays in these dogs may look pretty normal. In those cases if we suspect mycoplasma infection we may just treat with appropriate antibiotics. here is some information on that type of infection:


A very common cause of chronic coughing in elderly dogs is Chronic Bronchitis. I also wonder if this might be going on with your dog. In fact, sometimes a dog can have underlying chronic bronchitis (causing coughing) with a secondary upper respiratory infection, for example. Here is some information on chronic bronchitis in dogs:


Chronic bronchitis causes a cough that is mostly worse at night, like you have described, and would be a very common cause of coughing in a 15 year old dog.


In any case, your dog's symptoms are not normal and certainly warrant further investigation and treatment. I hope you can find a vet who will be able to help you with this! Thank you again and I hope this information has been helpful. Please let me know if you have further questions!

Dr. Marcia



Customer: replied 6 years ago.

thank you for your answer Dr Marcia

In our household we did rescue of feral kittens and worked as bottle feeders.

we saved over 61 , but lost 5 in 2 separate litters of 5 and 5. may 09 and nov 09.

clindamycin worked to save the existing kittens after figting with the vets, that amoxycillin does not work, after 5 trips in total to vets, clindamycin was administered to the surviving kittens, this was over a period of 3 years (kitten rescue), the mycoplasma was diagnosed last year thanksgiving 09, we sterilized the house.

we have 3 dogs, and 8 cats and one parrot.

the last time we had an episode of upper respiratory and one of our other dogs, 10 years old (mulan) was diagnosed with pneumonia, 6 months ago and we had kept one of those kitens that survived pneumonia, she had it again, and was saved with clindamycin and (homeopathy & herbal supp). both " mulan" and that surviving kitten , now cat"delilah" now almost 2yrs old. bothy are doing well, tg.

please tell me, now that we have a new vet, should we enforce that he use antibiotics with our 15 year old in question , her name is " star", and thank you

my husband nad i thought is was bronchitis or bacterail infection the whole time.

also please send me recommendation to my new vet, to give to him. this new vet was rated 5 stars, the other vets we fired were 2 stars on rating of vets here in san antonio.

thank you ahead, debora

p.s. i was an ascp microbiologist, clinical blood banker for 12 yrs

and we do not take in feral kittens any longer, after mulan was sick.

Hello, Debora, and thank you so much for the additional information! That is very interesting that you have dealt with mycoplasma before. Even if you cleaned everything up well, dogs can pick it up in various ways and I wouldn't be surprised if that is what Star dealing with.

I would hope your new vet would find a course of antibiotics as the next logical step, given Star's history. At my clinic I usually use doxycycline for 6 weeks to treat suspected mycoplasma. I believe clindamycin works too, but I prefer doxycycline. It requires a very long course to get rid of possible mycoplasma. We often will use a low dose of prednisone too to help with the bronchial inflammation and coughing, especially at the beginning of treatment.

I think given the history and likelihood of infection your vet will want to treat with antibiotics as the next step so hopefully you can get this resolved.

Does this help? Thank you so much again for the additional information and I hope Star can be feeling much better soon.

I'll bet it's warm there is San Antonio. I am in Minnesota and enjoying lots of cold and snow! Take care and let me know if you have any further questions, otherwise you can accept the answer if you are satisfied.

Thanks again, Dr. Marcia

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