Dog

Get your dog care questions answered by Experts

Ask an Expert,
Get an Answer ASAP!

My 12 year old chihuahua has a cough that sounds almost like…

Customer Question
My 12 year old chihuahua...
My 12 year old chihuahua has a cough that sounds almost like he has got a bunch of phlegm in his throat
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Dog
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Dog Question
Answered in 11 minutes by:
1/21/2016
Dog Specialist: Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian replied 2 years ago
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18,393
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian
Verified

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

I'm sorry to hear that Nugget has a cough and I understand that you are concerned about him.

How long has his cough lingered?

Is it seeming to get worse?

How long has he been taking medication?

A cough simply means he is experiencing airway irritation.

A cough can be related to heart disease, including heartworm, lung disease secondary to a viral, bacterial, fungal or parasitic infection or tracheal irritation due to a bacterial, viral or fungal infection, or a condition we see more commonly in small breed dogs called tracheal collapse. Rarely we can see a cough secondary to a mass in the chest, although primary lung cancer isn't seen as commonly in dogs as it is in people.

In a dog that comes in contact with other dogs, such as at a boarding kennel, dog park, or a groomer infectious disease is by far the most common cause. Of those kennel cough or infectious tracheobronchitis is one of the most common causes.

Even if he has been vaccinated he can still get sick because we cannot vaccinate against all of the agents that cause kennel cough and some dogs will still get sick even with the vaccine. The good news is that dogs that are vaccinated usually don't get as sick as dogs that haven't been vaccinated.

If he has been coughing for more than 3 weeks with no sign of improvement on his medication then we need to do some testing to look for the reason behind his cough.

In the meantime make sure he gets plenty of fluids, lots of rest as the more active he is then more he will cough, and eats well. Add warm water or low salt chicken broth to his food. The better hydrated he is the better he will feel and the thinner his respiratory secretions will be.

You can take him into the bathroom with you when you take a hot bath or shower so he can breathe the steam which is soothing to his airways and thins mucous, making it easier for him to breathe. You can also use a humidifier in the room he sleeps in,

If the cough is very bad you can use human cough/cold medications with Guaifenesin (an expectorant) and Dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant) only such as Benylin or Robitussin DM can help. Give 1 teaspoon per 20 to 25 pounds every 6 to 8 hours. This is only a temporary measure though until we can figure out why he is coughing.

I recommend radiographs of his chest and neck to evaluate his heart and lungs and trachea, a heartworm test and a complete blood count to start, and then further testing depending upon the results of those tests.

Best of luck with your fellow, please let me know if you have any further questions.

Ask Your Own Dog Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
We took him into his vet and they did chest x-rays and did not find a mass or anything. They mentioned trachea collapsing and said that if that was the cause that there was not much they could do about that. He has had this cough for about a month and a half. He seems to be increasingly uncomfortable but is still eating and drinking at a pretty normal pace.
Dog Specialist: Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian replied 2 years ago

I am glad he is eating and drinking, that may be due to his taking steroids, which stimulates them to eat and drink well. Heart disease usually leads to a poor appetite, and a cough related to heart disease will worsen with steroid use, so if it's stayed static and his appetite has always been good then heart disease is unlikely.

Tracheal collapse is something we manage, not cure, but if that is the issue we can do better at controlling his symptoms.

As far as controlling his tracheal collapse, try to keep him as quiet as possible. The more active he is the more he will cough and the more he coughs the more damage he does to his trachea causing inflammation and weakening his tracheal rings further.

Use humidifiers to moisten the air that he breathes as that is soothing to his airways. You can also take him into the bathroom with you when you run a hot shower or bath so he can breathe in the steam.

Keep his teeth and gums very clean with brushing and antibacterial oral rinses (such as CET rinse). The more bacteria in his mouth the more he breathes the bacteria into his airways which leads to more irritation/inflammation and coughing. Sometimes we need to use antibiotics periodically to keep secondary infections under control. I understand that he is taking Doxycyline now and you aren't seeing much improvement, perhaps another antibiotic could be more beneficial for him. Clavamox, Cephalexin or Clindamycin are all other options.

I would add a bronchodilators (like theophylline) and a cough suppressants (like hydrocodone).

Sometimes we need to use oral steroids to reduce tracheal inflammation, which he is taking, but I use them along with a cough suppressant and bronchodilator.

Keep him on the light side, the heavier he is the more pressure on his pharynx, airways and chest and the more he will cough.

I recommend using a harness rather than a collar as that will be less irritating to his trachea, putting less pressure on his trachea.

Over the counter cough suppressants you can try are Robitussin DM or Benylin Expectorant. Use only products with Dextromethorphin or Dextromethorphin and Guaifenesin. Never give those with Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Ibuprofen or a decongestant as those are toxic for dogs. Give 1 teaspoon per 20 pounds of body weight every 6 hours. The side effect most commonly seen is sleepiness. Do NOT use these along with hydrocodone, rather they are a different cough suppressant to try.

A collapsed trachea puts stress and strain on the heart and reduced amounts of oxygen in the blood with a collapsed trachea can lead to heart disease, heart failure, and organ disease. So while the condition itself isn't deadly, unless the airway completely collapses and no air is moving, the stress on his heart can be harmful and lead to deadly heart failure or other organ failure due to low oxygen levels.

Some dogs are affected enough that surgery becomes an option. If he is doing as poorly as you describe that may be the case with him now, but it is worth trying bronchodilators and another antibiotic with a cough suppressant first.

There are two primary surgery options.

One is more invasive and involves putting artificial plastic rings on the outside of the trachea to support it. This requires a longer anesthetic and more tissue trauma when the rings are placed, but the effects from this procedure should last the longest.

The other procedure involves placing a stent inside the trachea to keep it open. This is less invasive and creates less tissue trauma, and it is a very quick procedure and thus anesthetic time is less. The downside is if the stent shifts or breaks it is no longer effective and may cause more inflammation. With the newer stents available this seems less of a concern.

Best of luck with your pup, let me know if you have any further questions.

Ask Your Own Dog Question
Dog Specialist: Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian replied 2 years ago
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Nugget. How is everything going?
Dr. Kara
Ask Your Own Dog Question
Dog Specialist: Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian replied 2 years ago

Hello, I wanted to check in and see if you had any further questions after reading my response. If you do please feel free to respond with them. If not and you found my information helpful please remember to rate my response positively so I may receive credit for my work thank you, ***** *****

Ask Your Own Dog Question
Was this answer helpful?
Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18,393
18,393 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian

Dr. Kara is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets!

LinhCharleston, WV

$1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15

CarolCedar Hill, MO

I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all!

JudyNew Haven, CT

I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers.

NinaUSA

I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!!

Jasmine's MomUSA

Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there!

Sonya GEasley, SC

Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge!

Cathie MPompano Beach, FL

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Dr. Gary

Dr. Gary

Dog Veterinarian

3,044 satisfied customers

DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ

Joan

Joan

Vet Tech

5,447 satisfied customers

Vet Tech for over 35+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues

Candy

Candy

Veterinary Technician

7,973 satisfied customers

Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer

Dr Scott Nimmo

Dr Scott Nimmo

Small Animal Veterinarian.

5,173 satisfied customers

BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }

Dr. Andy

Dr. Andy

Medical Director

4,900 satisfied customers

UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management

Theresa

Theresa

A Voice for Your Pet

4,705 satisfied customers

19+ years experience in small animal medicine

Dr. Drew

Dr. Drew

Veterinarian

3,294 satisfied customers

Small Animal Medicine and Surgery

< Previous | Next >

Related Dog Questions
Fox Terrier mix she's about 3 years old...past few days
Fox Terrier mix she's about 3 years old...past few days she's been constipated, this morning diarrhea. But now she seems to be in pain in the butt area , shaking, glassy eyed look, panting, agitated i… read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
I have a 6yr old havanese female who goes outside and is
I have a 6yr old havanese female who goes outside and is closely monitored and crated when we aren't home. She still insists and finds a way to pee inside almost daily. We give her lots of positive re… read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
My husky who is 9 years old has started to awaken himself
My husky who is 9 years old has started to awaken himself crying and howling. this is a new behavior and it is very unnerving for myself and my husky. How should I manage this? … read more
Lisa
Lisa
Certified Veterinary Technician
Associate Degree
15,478 satisfied customers
My dog has leakage from her glad .its not alot and it doesnt
My dog has leakage from her glad .its not alot and it doesnt smell. Not swollen and she isnt dragging her bum on the floor. But she does lick it. I have looked at it and I see 2 holes and thete is not… read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
Dog has dry heaves. Wont eat. Known liver damage from meds.
dog has dry heaves. Wont eat. Known liver damage from meds. … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
My basset hound is a mess. She has had thyroid issues for
My basset hound is a mess. She has had thyroid issues for years. She takes thyroid medicine. She has developed laryngeal paralysis. That is not too awful. She squeaks when she barks but I have not not… read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
My 3.5 month old golden doodle had a few loose stools
Hi my 3.5 month old golden doodle had a few loose stools yesterday and I saw little bit of blood in mind so I got her tested for Parvo and it was positive. The vet sent me home and told me just to fee… read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
I think my dog might have a bacterial skin infection, but
I think my dog might have a bacterial skin infection, but she doesn't have of the symptoms associated with them … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
I rescued a Chihuahua Mix, and she lifts her front right paw
I rescued a Chihuahua Mix, and she lifts her front right paw all the time. The vet checked her out and couldn't find anything and said it did not seem she was on pain and gave me anti-inflammatories. … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
Just left our dog, at the vet. She has a grade 4 heart
Just left our dog, at the vet. She has a grade 4 heart murmur. Yesterday she was running around fine, woke this morning very sick and wobbly. We initially thought she may have had a stroke or seizure … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
My pup has been refusing food and vomiting. My pup is 12
My pup is 12 days post injection for heartworms, was doing just fine. Eating normal and yesterday evening he didn't want dinner and hasn't eaten since then. We looked all over and haven't found anything he got into or that would be dangerous for him … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
Dog had exray on had a mass in his intesine looking at this
Dog had exray on had a mass in his intesine looking at this site i see that it can that it canbe treated with steriods and diet, however Dr told my daughter and son-in-law that it was a $2400 surgery.… read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
My dog is 8 1/2 and is with pink skin, and is now getting a
My dog is 8 1/2 and is white with pink skin, and is now getting a lot of sun spots, what should I look for for skin cancer?… read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
My 5 month old lab/bulldog is having pretty bad diarrhea and
hello! My 5 month old lab/bulldog is having pretty bad diarrhea and wont finish his food … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
I sprayed some dry food probably less than a cup, with ant
I sprayed some dry food probably less than a cup, with ant spray and threw it in the garbage. My little dogs ate it. Not sure how much each dog ate. A 9 lb and a 3-4lb dog. … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
My 11 year old pit, is struggling to go #2. He is refusing
My 11 year old pit, is struggling to go #2. He is refusing water and leaking urine … read more
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler
Dog Behaviorist/Trainer/Breeder/Health
3.75 GPA 36cr. Multiple Tech traini
My year and a 1/2 old yorkie who is about 15 pounds last
My year and a 1/2 old yorkie Russell who is about 15 pounds last night decided to dig up moles and I think I bit into one my husband tried to get it from him and now today he when we came home … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
My dog is having a hard time eating, we thought it was his
My dog is having a hard time eating, we thought it was his teeth because he has very few but even when we try to give him soft foods he seems to not want to eat. But then at different times he does wa… read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x