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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 24096
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My dog has been coughing or snorting sometimes What is causing

Customer Question

My dog has been coughing or snorting sometimes
What is causing it?
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.

How long has Lady been showing signs?

Is it a harsh cough?

Any retching?

Any nasal discharge?

If so, from one or both nostrils?

Has she been pawing her face or rubbing her nose?

Has she had access to anything she could have chewed (ie grass, bones, toys, etc)?

Any appetite loss?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Since she wasa puppy somtimes no no no grass no

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Since she was a puppy somtimes no no no grass no

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you,

Now as I am sure you can appreciate, coughing can be caused by a range of issues. If Lady has been coughing for around 2 years, then this lessens concerns of foreign bodies stuck behind her palate or infectious agents like viruses, lung worm, or bacteria. That said, it does raise other conformational (or birth) based issues for us to consider. Now with your additional history, I do have more questions for you:

Has her vet mentioned any throat or heart issues?
Has she had any tests done to determine the cause of this (ie xray, endoscopy, ultrasound)?

What breed is she?

Does she cough all the time? Just after food, with excitement, at rest, etc?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No she has been checked by a vet no king charles no and she is very active and playful

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you,

If she is a King Charles spaniel with a chronic cough, then we do have a few concerns. As I noted before, foreign bodies, infectious agents, and throat inflammation from bacteria or viruses would be less likely for her. Instead, we would be more concerned with issues that would arise from birth. This means we'd have to consider conditions affecting the heart, the trachea, and the nasopharnyx region (the different parts of the back of her throat) of her upper airway.

With all this in mind, we must first consider her heart. The reason is because this is a breed that is very prone to heart issues (and heart murmurs are not uncommon at a young age). So, hopefully since you noted that she was checked by her vetm they didn't find a heart murmur. Still, if they have not seen her recently, then it may be worth double checking this.

Otherwise, we can see tracheal issues in this breed lead to coughing. When this happens, it is often related to the tracheal rings (its support structure) being softer then they should be. This is a problem because when dogs get excited, they often contract their neck muscles and this will compress that trachea leading to a cough. Often in mild cases, we just see it when dogs are excited (ie at play, at feeding time, when owners come home). If mild, these are often not treated though dogs often benefit from a harness instead of collar. If the coughing frequency is severe or they collapse/faint when this happens, then sometimes we do need to surgically place a stent to reinforce those tracheal rings.

Otherwise, and a concern if she has an occasional snort too, is issues with the nasopharynx. We can see the soft palate or the epiglottis (airway cover) be a bit too long in some dogs. When this happens, these pups may snore, snort, reverse sneeze or cough when the overlong tissue accidentally covers the tracheal opening in the back of their throat. As well, as can also see polyps in this part of the airway cause similar signs. In these cases, we often need to sedate these dogs to examine this portion of the throat. If the tissues are severely overlong, then surgical resection or shortening can address the signs. As well, if a polyp is present, then these tend to just need to be removed surgically to correct the airway issues.

Overall, based on her signs and long term history, we would be concerned about Lady's cough and snort being related to the "design" of her cardiopulmonary system (heart and airway) as opposed to anything contagious or stuck in the airway. In regards ***** ***** which is the issue for her, I would advise videoing some examples of her cough/snort for her vet to see (this is especially useful since they often won't cough when visiting their vet). They can watch what she is doing and with their exam start ruling out causes. If an issue with the nasopharynx is suspected, then you may want them to sedate her so this can be checked out for her. Depending on the severity of her signs, she surgery may be indicated but if mild then she may not require any invasive correction of her airway.

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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