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SuperWanda March 1st, 2007 08:32 PM

Dog occasionally coughs and gags - Answered by Dr. Van Lienden
Hi - my 8 year old husky hound cross has always had an occasional cough. I have mentioned this to the vet a few times. Once the vet actually squeezed her throat and made her cough and asked me if that's what I hear - which it was. She didn't seem to be to concerned about it. Said sometimes something shrinks or gets harder in the throat as they get older - can't remember if it was the vocal chords or what??? The last time I was there I asked again - not too much concern.

I am considering going back again - she still coughs occasionally but sometimes gags like there is something caught in her throat. She's been doing it tonight as we sit and watch tv.

I was just wondering if anyone else has experience with this problem?


Cathy1 March 1st, 2007 09:54 PM

My Duke does it once in awhile, maybe once or twice a week. I mentioned it to the vet but she didn't seem to concerned either.

Mocha's mum March 1st, 2007 10:24 PM

Mocha does this sometimes too. I just think it's fluff from his toys or something off the floor that gets stuck in his throat. He has a drink of water, and it seems to clear it up....:shrug:

Dobb March 2nd, 2007 03:16 AM

Not to alarm you, but ask your vet to check for fluid around the heart. My former shih zu would cough and gag like that , my vet said that is was from the fluid build up. She took a medication for it.

SuperWanda March 2nd, 2007 10:30 AM

Thanks for all your replies!

This morning she is not doing it as much - maybe the odd cough but not the gagging part.

I have heard that coughing may be a sign of heart troubles as well - that is why I worry sometimes. She certainly doesn't cough all the time but I would say I notice it every week - it seems worse especially when she does the gagging thing. Sometimes she does it when she licks at her legs or feet a lot - then I start wondering about hair stuck in her throat.

I will ask the vet about it again and mention the heart thing at our next Spring time visit.

Do you know how they detected the fluid? Did they notice that just by listening to her heart? or was some other test involved?


Dobb March 2nd, 2007 12:11 PM

My vet could tell by listening I think, my dog had heart problems as well .

clm March 2nd, 2007 04:59 PM

I don't want to alarm you, but both of my past dogs. Both keeshonds, had the cough you describe and the gagging. Both ended up having cancer. One had pancreatic cancer, he was 9.5 and the other had liver cancer, he was 10.5. Other than the occasional cough and gagging, no other symptoms. Both ate fine, both had normal stools, right up until their tumours ruptured their organs, then all he-- broke loose and they were gone within 24 hours. Might be worth an xray to see if there is anything else going on.


SuperWanda March 7th, 2007 12:23 PM

Update on the coughing a gagging
Thank you for all the advice. I did end up going to my vet. She did a full exam and reassured me that her heart and lungs sounded great - all organs feel normal size etc. She felt the throat and trachea and did come to a part that elicited the cough. She felt it was an upper airway irritation that is more common in smaller dogs but can be seen in larger dogs. If it gets really bad they can give an anti-imflammatory but felt her case was minor. Could be from food scratching or I often notice it after she is licking a lot so hair or larger particles may cause irritation and inflammation - so she feels like she need to cough or gag to remove it.

Guess it's just good to get these things looked at because I'm sure that it could be a sign of something more major or minor.

Prin March 7th, 2007 05:33 PM

I'm glad it wasn't anything major. :fingerscr it goes away soon. :)

petdr March 14th, 2007 08:53 AM

Coughing in dogs has multiple potential causes: cardiac disease, laryngeal paralysis, pulmonary disease, allergies with post nasal drip, heart worm disease, cancer, chronic sinusitis, infected teeth/periodontal disease, environmental irritants (such as cigarette smoke, out-gassing paint/carpets/other home construction products, cleaning supplies, etc.), and the list goes on.

For piece of mind, I would delve a bit more deeply into your pet's problem. It may be nothing, or there may be a deeper problem than realized. I suggest that your veterinarian may be too cavalier, if she doesn't seem concerned, get a second opinion to confirm that view or find out if something is indeed wrong.

Dr. Van Lienden

Dr. Raymond Van Lienden DVM
The Animal Clinic of Clifton
12702 Chapel Road, Clifton
Virginia, U.S.A. 20124

SuperWanda March 14th, 2007 10:37 AM

Feeling worried again
Thanks, after seeing my vet I felt better but now I feel worried again...

I guess I'll get a second opinion.

She has also been doing some exagerated, repeated swallowing/gulping after she eats. Runs outside to eat big chunks of snow and grass but doesn't vomit. I have a call into my vet again but maybe I should go somewhere else?

breeze March 14th, 2007 10:45 AM

IMO if you are not happy with the first opion then by all meens get a sceond one, if you have any doubts then that is what you should do. go with your gut it will never lead you astray

good luck :goodvibes: keep us posted please

SuperWanda March 14th, 2007 10:57 AM

I was happy with what my vet said because she basically assured me that there was nothing serious going on but Dr. Van Lienden's comment above has made me feel concerned again. I understand that everyone is offering their advice and opinions and I really appreciate them.

I guess I just felt relieved and now after reading these posts I feel worried again.

I have a call in to my vet so I'll see what she says and if I am still concerned maybe I will seek out a second opinion elsewhere.

breeze March 14th, 2007 11:37 AM

my bernesse mountain dog love hair balls that she finds on the floor, after eating them she ends up coughing and gagging also the electric heat in the house does not help matters.

A call is worth it's weight in gold and i agree if you are not satisfied then you should get a second opion. you have to go with what is right for you,

sometimes it can get scary with all the one want to leave a stone unturned it does not mean that is what is wrong. all dogs are different.
once you talk to your vet you will feel better i am sure of it

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