Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Chronic Coughing Dog

Question from Ron in Dover:
Our dog has had a constant cough for several years and I haven't been able to find out why from other vets and through internet research. Would you have any ideas? Do dogs have sinus problems? Sometimes our dog sounds like someone clearing their throat.

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
Coughing can be due to various underlying canine problems. You fail to mention the age or breed of your dog. These can play a significant role in the cause for your dog’s cough.

If the cough has been ongoing for several years, it is not likely due to an infection. Infections such as “kennel cough” typically resolve within one to two weeks. Your dog could have an underlying allergy, heart disease, or possibly a tracheal problem. A collapsing trachea typically sounds like a honking goose and can be triggered by excitement and pulling on the dog's collar.

Chest x-rays should be taken to evaluate your dog’s lungs, heart, and trachea. Does someone in the house smoke? Smoke and other environmental pollutants can cause chronic respiratory problems for both dogs and cats.

Allergic airway disease, heart disease and tracheal problems can be managed medically. Antihistamines or low doses of steroids can be used to control allergic airway problems. Consult your veterinarian to discuss these options. If you, or anyone in the house smokes, by all means, stop now for your sake and that of your dog!

Posted June 24, 2008

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