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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22467
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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my dog keeps coughing what is wrong with him

Customer Question

my dog keeps coughing what is wrong with him
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 4 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.


Can you tell me how long Rory has been coughing?


When and how often does he cough? (ie at night, all the time, in fits, at exercise, etc)?


Can you describe the cough (harsh, soft, chest, wet) or video/post an example?


Any change in his breathing? In the amount of exercise he is doing?


Could he eat snails/slugs? Is he up to date on treatment for lung worm?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

'he has been coughing for the last 24hrs. It is a harsh cough. no change in his breathing. He is doing the same amount of excercise. He is up to date on his treatment. Just recently been to the vet. He coughs in fits at excercise.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you, Emily.

If we have an sudden onset of harsh coughing that is precipitated by exercise in an otherwise healthy dog, this does suggest that we can worry a wee bit less about chronic issues like heart disease, pneumonia, and tumors within the lung. In this case, our top concerns would be possible tracheal irritation, bacterial agents (ie Bordetella) and lungworm. We can also see these signs with partial airway obstructions but if he is not coughing continuously or struggling to breathe, these are hopefully less of a concern.

Now you didn't note the brand of treatment you used for lungworm. I would just warn you that regular wormers do not address this parasite. Therefore, if you used anything other than Advocate (LINK), then he is likely not covered and this would still be a concern. An d if that is the case, you may consider popping into your vet for an Advocate now (which they can dispense as long as they have a recent weight for him).

Otherwise, since his
cough does sound most suspicious of an infection, I would advise that you can try too soothe his throat at home but will likely need a course of antibiotics from his vet. To try soothing the throat, you can give Rory plain over the counter glycerin/honey cough syrup (with no drugs in it). As well, in a pinch, we can use plain honey to just soothe the throat and decrease the irritation that leads to these bouts of coughing. You haven't noted a weight for him but usually a teaspoon to start is adequate and can be repeated as needed. As well, do offer soft foods or soaked kibble to avoid any further irritation to the throat.

Overall, we have a few culprits to consider for Rory's onset of coughing. Since he is comfortable and otherwise well, do make sure you have treated him for lungworm and consider trying to soothe his throat with honey/glycerin cough syrup. If he isn't settling, then bacterial agents will be our main concern and at that point we would need to follow up with his vet to confirm this suspicion and to get a course of antibiotics to clear this for him.


I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


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