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Dr. Scott
Dr. Scott, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 15168
Experience:  15 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet experience in medicine and surgery.
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, My 11 year old Yorkshire Terrier has had a rasping cough

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Hi, My 11 year old Yorkshire Terrier has had a rasping cough for weeks. He has been to the vets 6 times, had a chest x-ray, two courses of antibiotics and one course of steroids. The x-ray showed a swelling at the end of the wind pipe and lung. His heart apparently sounds okay and healthy. They cannot find what is the cause. He coughs badly late evening and in the night. He is eating and drinking, but more lethargic because his cough keeps him awake. It is now impacting his quality of life (and mine as he is a constant worry). I have spent nearly £1,000 so far and two vets cannot find the cause. Please help. What could you recommend next?
Hello there,
Sorry to hear about your situation. Has Monty been on any medications besides the antibiotics and steroids? Which antibiotics was he on? Does he cough anything up? What did they think the swelling near the windpipe was?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


He has taken two courses of Noroclav (250mg) antibiotics and one course of steroids - OxPrednidale (5mg). His cough sounds hollow, he makes a gagging sound at the end of it and think he brings up a small amount of flem but nothing actually comes out that you see. They were unsure about the swelling at the end of the windpipe at the entry into the lungs, but they thought it might be caused by the cough and that the steroids might be a solution for the swelling. But it is nearly two weeks since the end of the antibiotics and his cough is getting worse each day. I will be taking him back again and think they will suggest camera exploration, which I think they should have done when they did the x-rays. I don't understand how a cough can confuse two vets and that he isn't getting treatment for it.

That type of a cough in a dog of this breed and age can be caused by several things. Heart disease, collapsing trachea, bacterial/viral infection, inflammation, parasites, cancer and inhaled allergies are just a few common causes. The antibiotic rounds have likely ruled out an infectious cause. If there is no heart murmur or fluid in the chest, heart disease is not likely. The steroid treatment ruled out an allergic cause. I would be most suspicious of a collapsing trachea, which can be hard to see on a single radiograph. Those cases are treated with a bronchodilator and cough suppressant. Often they are needed on and off long term, depending on severity. The other possible cause may involve acid reflux and not a chest problem. There is no simple test to prove those cases. Those dogs are placed on antacids once a day for 1-2 weeks to see if the problem stops. Sometimes sucralfate is also used to rule out possible stomach ulcers as an underlying cause. It is often difficult to find the underlying cause in these cases. If one treatment type doesn't work you then have to try the other option. If it were my dog I would try the collapsing trachea medications first and if there is no improvement after a few days, add in the intestinal medications second.
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