Common Causes of Coughing in Dogs
on February 7, 2016
Posted in Dogs
If your dog is coughing, it can be very concerning and annoying. Coughing is a symptom rather than a disease unto itself. Some of the most common causes of coughing are:
Bronchitis–Kennel cough or another infectious disease
Allergic disease can cause coughing and be accompanied by itching and skin lesions. Some dogs have a seasonal cough that may be allergic. Allergic coughs and or asthma can be triggered by things like dust, tobacco smoke or pollen. These coughs are usually not productive–the dog does not cough “stuff” up. Asthma can be caused by severe allergic inhalant disease.
Collapsing trachea is caused by a birth defect in the cartilage that makes up the trachea ( windpipe). When the dog is excited and the muscles around the throat tighten, the cartilage which is soft instead of stiff, will collapse inward causing a partial blockage. The dog then has a honking type cough. This can be irritating but is usually not dangerous. In some dogs however, tracheal collapse can be severe and may require surgery to correct the problem.
Heart disease will cause coughing if the heart is enlarged and physically pushes on the trachea. This cause tracheal compression, which causes coughing. Heart disease can also lead to fluid accumulation in the lungs and this can cause coughing. Your veterinarian or veterinary cardiologist will likely diagnose a heart murmur along with the coughing. Special medication is needed to treat this.
Lung tumors are diagnosed by radiographs of the chest, usually in older coughing dogs. Some of these tumors may be treated with surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.
Infectious disease such as bronchitis or kennel cough is a common cause of coughing. The infection can be caused by a virus or a bacteria and can be quite severe. Generally there is a fever along with the coughing. These generally need to be treated with antibiotics. Cough medications such as butorphanol or hycodan may be used.
From a holistic standpoint, herbal medications such as Throat Gold can help with coughing. It is effective for treatment of kennel cough and as an aid in the treatment of coughing.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan