Sunday, June 21, 2015

Reasons Why Your Dog May Be Coughing

If your dog develops a cough, it's important to contact your veterinarian.  The cough can be very subtle and seem like nothing, but it should always be viewed as an important clue.  A cough can range from a simple gag reflex resulting from drinking water too quickly to a sign of cancer.  A cough can be a symptom of a contagious condition (kennel cough) and you will need to be cautious about letting your dog be around other pets.  Some breeds are more likely to cough as a result of a collapsing trachea and addressing the condition early can help slow it's progression. A cough should not be taken lightly and always warrants a visit to the vet.


Tessie's Story
 A few years after we adopted our rescue dog Tessie, we noticed a very subtle cough.  It occured infrequently and didn't seem to bother her.  However, we brought her to the veterinarian and after a month of repeated ultrasounds, a tiny mass was found on her heart.  Unfortunately our beloved dog had hemangiosarcoma.  While we were devastated with her diagnoses, we were grateful we found the mass early because hemangiosarcoma is one of the most aggressive cancers and had we not known about her condition, the tumor could have burst unexpectedly.  Finding the cause of her cough ensured that Tessie had a good quality of life without suffering. 

If your pet is coughing, here are some possible causes:

Kennel Cough: One of the most common cause of coughing, in an otherwise healthy dog, is found to be  kennel cough. It is a very contagious disease and your dog should avoid exposure to other dogs. The cough will tend to be a dry, deep, hacking cough and may be worse when exercising our walking on a leash. Using Quentans and Notatum can be helpful and adding Amazing Omegas for immune support should be considered.

Pneumonia or Bronchitis: Your pet may have a wet cough, and you may hear a gurgling sound.  In addition to coughing, your pet could also have loss of discharge from the eyes and nose, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, lethargy and difficulty breathing. Antibiotics will be prescribed and using
Quentans and Notatum can be helpful along with K9 Yeast Defense and Power Probiotic.

Obstruction: If it is sudden onset, your pet is gagging and licking their lips, they could have something stuck in their throat. If it continues, or grows worse, seek medical attention right a way.

Collapsing Trachea: Many tiny breed dogs may be predisposed to a collapsing trachea. They may make a honking sound (similar to a goose) and it is made worst with pressure of a collar or pulling on a leash. It can also happen after eating or drinking. You can read more on our blog about collapsing trachea.  Holistic supplements including Amazing Omegas and Ultra-flex Collagen for Pets can help.

Heart Disease: Coughing can be a sign of congestive heart failure, especially if your pet coughs at night when they lay down. Treatment will depend on  how severe the problem is and the overall condition of your pet. We have found that  Amazing Omegas, Purrfect Pet CoQ10, and  Resveratrol for Dogs for Pets have been shown to be beneficial for our clients.

Cancer: Coughing can accompany fluid accumulation around the chest and lungs (pleural effusion) making breathing difficult.  The pet may be panting, have difficulty settling down, have exercise intolerance and water retention in the belly.  Pleural effusion may occur due to non-cancerous causes such as an infection or congestive heart failure,  so determining if there is a tumor is essential.  An ultrasound, XRAYs and biopsy of the fluid, along with other laboratory tests are often needed.   Onco-X, Resveratrol for Dogs and Purrfect Pet CoQ10 are helpful to use along with medications prescribed by your veterinarian.

There are other reasons why your dog may be coughing and this is only a partial list. It's important to understand though, that a cough should not be ignored as timing could be crucial to your pet's welfare.