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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 32782
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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west highland terrier keeps coughing and bringing up phlem

Customer Question

west highland terrier keeps coughing and bringing up phlem
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 Max. Unless Max has a history of cardiac disease or bronchitis, the most common cause of acute coughing in an otherwise normal dog is infectious tracheobronchitis ("kennel cough") - a very contagious and infectious disease caused by the bordetella bacteria +/- the parainfluenza virus. Most dogs remiss within 7-14 days untreated.

I rarely treat adult dogs with kennel cough unless coughing is so severe as to interfere with my patient's quality of life - in which case I'll prescribe a narcotic cough suppressant. Aspirin at 20mg/kg with food and repeated in 12 hours might reduce inflammation enough to help control the cough. Over the counter cough suppressants don't seem to be any more effective than a teaspoon of honey every few hours in our dogs.

In dogs that worsen within the first week rather than progressively improve as we expect can be administered either doxycycline or potentiated amoxicillin - the antibiotics of choice for bordetella infections. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.