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Bunny Girl
Bunny Girl, Veterinary Assistant
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 368
Experience:  10+ years at a veterinary clinic as a veterinary assistant. 20+ years raising/showing rabbits
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My yorkie seems to be coughing or gagging its hard to tell.

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My yorkie seems to be coughing or gagging its hard to tell. It has been happening since last night. It gets worse when she gets excited and seems to subside when she lays down. Its almost like something is stuck in her throat, yet she is fine at times
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Bunny Girl replied 10 years ago.
Hi Dialred

There are several things that can cause dogs to cough or gag. It is often very difficult to tell whether the dog is coughing or gagging. A veterinarian should listen to her lungs to see if it is a cough or a gag. It can be caused by foreign bodies stuck in the throat, mouth or airway or a cold, bronchitis, bacterial pneumonia, paralysis of the larynx, fungal infections, tumors, acid reflux. The list is endless but the most important thing is that she needs to be examined. Since her cough seemed to be eased by something cool to eat it sounds like it is in the esophagus or on the edge of the throat whatever it is. If she did get something stuck in there and she isn't coughing it out on her own it is important to get her to a vet so that it doesn't either get pushed down the airway further or get into the GI system where she can't pass it.

If she has a tumor or an infection the sooner you get it treated the better chance she has to get well again. She is very young but a tumor is still a possibility. Since she is breathing ok and doesn't seem to be in constant distress I don't think you need to rush her off to the emergency animal hospital but calling the vet and getting an appointment today is a really good idea. There are a few things you can do for her at home. Keep an eye on her breathing and make sure while she is at rest that she is breathing anywhere between 10 and 30 breaths per minute. If she has been running around they will be higher so count them while she is laying down. Her resting heartbeat will be anywhere from 60 - 160. You can generally feel the heartbeat through the front of the chest but if you happen to have a stethoscope it is much easier to listen. If you think she has a fever you can take her temperature. It should be 101.5 normally a very small variance either way is ok.

If you notice elevated vital signs you might be looking at an infection causing the episodes. If the vital signs are low then immediately rush your dog to the nearest hospital as it could be early signs of shock. You want to check the color of her gums. They should be bright pink. If you notice gums that are pale in appearance this is indicative as shock as well and she would need to get to a hospital right away.

Again I do think that this is not an immediate call 911 emergency, but it is something that should be addressed as promptly as possible. I can't see her or hear her lungs so it is impossible for me to say what is wrong. The list of possibilities is way to long.

Keep her comfortable and let her rest while you are waiting to get into the doctor. The less excited she gets the better. Hopefully she will continue to sleep until it is time to go. I hope that some of this information is useful to you. I am sorry I can't pinpoint an exact cause and it is extremely difficult to tell the difference between a cough and a gag. When you are at the vet make sure that he tells you which it is so that in the future you will know.

Good luck Dialred and I hope your precious yorkie will be ok.


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