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catzanddogz, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 221
Experience:  I am a Veterinarian and a pet owner. I have practiced cat and dog clinical medicine for over 25 years.
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My dog is very sparky and active but he coughs every now and

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My dog is very sparky and active but he coughs every now and then, like there is hair all in his throat sometimes, what is wrong with him? Is this considered as normal?

Since last year, I noticed that he was coughing, I'm worried that he is sick or is suffering from something. At first we used a collar and seems like it was choking him; making him cough, so we switch over to a harness and since he pulls on the leash when he sees a friend and starts sounding like he is choking (about 2 seconds.) He loves to go running, he doesn't cough or choke while or after running. I took him to the vet for check-ups and for shots and he seemed fine. I asked if he could be suffering from kennel cough and she asked what symptoms have I seen and told me he could be an allergy. His shots and vaccination are up to date, we even tried to make him take medicine for heartworms.

The coughs doesn't last long and doesn't occur often but it has been a year and it doesn't seem to go away. Whenever he coughs it sounds like he is choking on hair ball (these coughs are longer than when he pulls on the leash,) but when I check his mouth, there is nothing in there, he doesn't foam or spit up anything. It is not a daily thing either, but I see it every now and then.

I have switched his food and change his water to distilled water. His nose isn't runny, there are no discharge at his mouth, no foam when he coughs either. We vacuum and clean the house often, so he can't be choking from hair, fur, or dust. My question is, what could be wrong with him? How could I help?

catzanddogz :

Hello, I am Dr. Andrea Russo and I will try to answer your questions. Chronic intermittent coughing in small breed dogs can sometimes be caused by a condition called "collapsing trachea" - it is common in your breed. It sometimes is worse after pulling on a leash if you use a neck collar. It can also act up at other times without obvious cause. Dogs with this condition have a flattened trachea, instead of a firm u-shaped trachea. It sometimes "collapses" or flattens and cuts off the airway temporarily causing coughing. It can be mild or severe. It sounds like your dog has a mild case, would you agree? I say that because it doesn't happen all the time. This is no great treatment for this but most dogs live with it without treatment. I would recommend a chest harness instead of a neck collar when walking him. Sometimes we will try cough medications.

Customer: Thank you for your help Dr. Russo, I'm glad that it is not a severe case for my dog. He uses a harness when we go exercising and still coughs when he pulls on the leash. If it ever get worse, does he need a special cough medication for dogs or can he use a small dosage of children coughing syrup? Thank you for your time.
catzanddogz :

Well, sometimes I will prescribe people cough medication but some medications can be dangerous for dogs to take. It would be best to ask your local vet to prescribe something. You are very welcome. Feel free to ask any more questions - I'll be away from my computer - maybe not back until tomorrow.

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