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Denver ER Doc
Denver ER Doc, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1495
Experience:  Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Internship, Veterinary Acupuncture trained, Wildlife and Exotics
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My cocker spaniel started a weird honking gagging cough whenever

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My cocker spaniel started a weird honking gagging cough whenever he got very excited about 4 years ago. He was 8 then. He probably did it about 6 or 7 times a year for seconds. 2 years ago he became very ill with misdiagnosed allergies. I had been very ill myself and had not worked for years but did everything I could to raise the money to pay for the vets. To cut a very long story short he recovered brilliantly but is definitely allergic to dust mites(droppings), pollen, especially tree pollen and we think mould. He is 12 now and still quite hyper and puppy like but the cough became much worse after he became ill with the allergic reactions. He now only has an antihistamine a day and I give him a fish oil supplement. He started coughing when he drank water or became excited but now he has a hacking fit for a few seconds when he wakes up but this is usually after he has jumped off the chair. It doesn't bother him at all and sometimes he is rolling around on his back like a loony while hacking and he doesn't seem remotely bothered. He loves his food and runs everywhere off the lead and is so happy and lively. My only concern is that the hacking will put pressure on other parts of his body as he has started farting now when he coughs and although he definitely has no blood in his stools, he has what appears to be dried blood around his bottom! Should I be worried.

Hi there,

A few possibilities here, but what you are describing sounds like it may be tracheal collapse. This can happen in toy and small breed dogs as they get older, and it is characterized by a dry, honking cough that is usually worsened by exercise, obesity, heat, humidity, and exercise. The fact that he improved when he lost weight supports this possibility.


You may want to look up "tracheal collapse cough" or "collapsing trachea cough" on Youtube to see if it appears to be similar.


There are a couple treatment options that you might want to discuss with your veterinarian, including cough suppressants (hydrocodone, butorphanol, guaifenesin), anti-inflammatories (prednisone), and bronchodilators (theophylline, terbutaline).


In an older dog, your veterinarian may want to do a couple things to rule out other underlying problems (mass pushing on the windpipe, lung disease, etc) before trying medications, but with the concern over sedating him to take a look, it might be worth trying the medications first to see if they help.


Hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions.



Dr. Paul

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I had googled the symptoms and had come across tracheal collapse so was aware of that but the other part of the question I asked you have not answered. I asked if the coughing could be putting pressure on him internally and was that why he had starting passing wind and I mentioned about the dried blood around his bottom.

Yes, any cough can result in increased abdominal pressure, which can result in

flatulence and potentially some seepage.


Passing actual blood would be a bit more concerning however, as this is not common with a cough. If he is eating normally and his stools are normal, I wouldn't be overly concerned unless you know for a fact that it is blood. If that is the case, I would have him checked out by your vet to see if he has a concurrent problem.


Dr. Paul

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