Why is my dog coughing and having trouble breathing?

 |  Jun 21st 2007  |   0 Contributions


I have a Pomeranian, and I know about this trachea
thing that collapses, but I'm sure he has
something else going on. He does two different
things. He coughs continuously whenever
he is awake or moves. The other is
like he can't breathe and he is gasping for
breath, sometimes it's more severe than others.
A few weeks back he was really bad right after I
took him to be groomed. That same day he had his
vaccines, and after a few days I called his
doctor. She wanted to see him immediately. He was
diagnosed with bronchitis and given medicine. He got a little better but not back to normal. Can a dog get allergies?
Should I be concerned, or should I let him be?

Lana
Colorado

I think that you should follow up with a veterinarian for chest radiographs (X-rays). Radiographs are the best way to assess his heart, trachea and lungs.

Any time that a pet is coughing continuously or having difficulty breathing, it's wise to investigate the matter until the cause is found. An X-ray of his chest is the best way to start.

Several syndromes could be causing your dog's problems. You mentioned collapsing trachea, which strikes older small-breed dogs, and very rarely causes severe distress. Collapsing trachea causes a chronic tickle in the throat that is especially likely to cause coughing when dogs are excited. However, it rarely causes profound breathing trouble.

Severe bronchitis can cause symptoms such as you describe. So can pneumonia or certain problems with the larynx (voice box). It is rare for allergies to cause problems as bad as those you describe.

I suspect something else is going on.

I looked at your dog's profile, and noted that he is 11 years old. His age and breed put him at high risk for heart disease. In dogs, heart disease typically causes coughing, inability to exercise or be active, and difficulty breathing. The symptoms are often worse after stress (such as vaccines and grooming). In most cases, heart disease is highly treatable with medication, but it has to be diagnosed before it can be treated. And, if it's not treated, it can be fatal. That's why I recommend further evaluation.

You should be aware that after taking X-rays, further tests (such as ultrasound or blood tests) may be needed. Also, I have seen many dogs who suffer from both heart disease and collapsing trachea, so it is possible that more than one thing is going on.

I recommend that you pursue the X-rays as soon as possible. That way you will have the best chance of getting your dog's problems fixed.

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