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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 28512
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Customer Question

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry to hear of this with Digga. We first think of an infectious etiology for cough in such a young dog especially if he were recently boarded or frequented areas with many other dogs such as dog parks, groomers, or the vet hospital. The most common of the infectious respiratory diseases is infectious tracheobronchitis ("kennel cough") which usually manifests as a gagging/choking cough exacerbated by exercise. It's usually caused by a combination of infectious agents such as the bordetella bronchiceptica bacteria (similar to bordetella pertussis in people) plus the parainfluenza virus. In most cases, a young adult need not be treated because the infection is self-limiting within 7-14 days in the great majority of cases. Severe cough can be addressed with narcotic cough suppressants available at Digga's vet. Over the counter cough suppressants don't appear to be any more effective than a tablespoon of honey every few hours.

Other causes of a chesty cough aren't common at Digga's age but include heart disease and allergic bronchitis. We might investigate such etiologies if either treatment for infectious tracheobronchitis - doxycycline or potentiated amoxicillin, e.g. - or the tincture of time didn't resolve his cough. While heartworm isn't a problem in the UK, lungworm - although more common in France - is seen in the UK; hotspots include South Wales and South West England. It's still considered a relatively rare disease.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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