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Cough or something in her throat?

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

  
Abby

1087348
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 20, '10 6:01pm PST 
Abby has been coughing, almost gag-like, in the morning and on occasion other times. It only happens about 1-2x a day.

I can't tell if it's a cough or if she has something stuck in her throat. Help?

Do dogs get coughs that go away on their own, like people or does it always mean a trip to the vet?

Should I take her to the vet or wait a few days?
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Leah, CGC

All the Beauty- with none of the- Brains
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 20, '10 6:21pm PST 
1) If you can open her mouth I would to check for any obvious signs of something stuck. Commonly things that could get stuck are rawhides or other chew treats, sticks, leaves/plant material, toys or cloth etc.

2) Generally if a dog is coughing/gagging only 1-2 times per day it does not suggest something is stuck. Usually in the case of something stuck they will be very stressed for a short period of time until the thing becomes unstuck.

3) Has your dog been around any unfamiliar dogs or in any new social situations such as vet office, groomer, dog park, dog daycare, play date, Kennel/boarding facility etc?
I am asking because frequent coughing/gagging like something is caught in the throat is often associated with ITB more commonly refered to as Kennel Cough ITB -- ITB often has a cough that sounds like a dog is trying to retch something up and sometimes white foam will come up. ITB is very infectious to other dogs. It has an incubation period of about 7-10 days from contact with infected dog. The originally infected dog may be asymptomatic. ITB is an airborn diease that can be transfered through air or saliva from dog to dog. ITB can be either bacterial or viral or both. In some cases it will clear on its own. In some cases it can progress into pneumonia which can be life threatening. I would reccomend a vet visit for this. In general cough suppressants are not reccomended as they can cause the phlegm to stay in the chest which can make the risk for pneumonia greater.

4) This cough/gagging could be an allergic reaction. Has anything changed in your household? Have you recently turned on forced air heat or had your ducts cleaned? Do you live in a drafty house? Do you use a wood burning stove or fireplace? Do you smoke? Light scented candles or incense? Do you have any new house plants? Changed purfumes or colognes? Houseguests? Enviromental allergies can sometimes cause gagging or coughing. Your local vet may be able to reccomend a dose of a antihistamine like benadryl. Sometimes nebulizing helps allergies or getting a humidifier for the room.

5) Coughing and gagging always has the risk of being indicative of a deeper problem like cancer or infection (viral, bacterial or fungal). As I usually do I would reccomend a vet visit especially if not improvement in seen within a couple days and ASAP if his respiratory rate or effort increases!

Good Luck
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Abby

1087348
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 20, '10 8:29pm PST 
Thank you for your thoughtful response.

It did sound a little like kennel cough, but not in a full blown stage of it and it's so infrequent. I'll monitor her tomorrow and if she coughs, we're going to the vet.

Or it could be allergies. The weather certainly has been shifting.

Edited by author Wed Jan 20, '10 8:30pm PST

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Leah, CGC

All the Beauty- with none of the- Brains
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 21, '10 5:51am PST 
Good Luck Abby - Hope it improves!! Keep us updated!
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Abby

1087348
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 21, '10 4:10pm PST 
She hasn't coughed today! Yay!
I did turn on the heat one night, maybe that triggered something. She does have itchy-scratchy allergies, so it's possible it could manifest into a cough too, I suppose.
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