When we or our children cough, we don’t consider it as a major concern; we think of taking a cough syrup or not even that. But is the case same with your dog? It’s difficult to decide whether coughing in dogs needs emergency attention or not. Let’s see how to decide this. Keep in mind that the following advice is not a substitute for your vet’s consultation.
Often, your dog may catch just a ‘cold’ or kennel cough and it may improve with a pretty minimal treatment. However, this may not always be the case. Coughing can indicate a more serious problem that requires immediate intervention.
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What Causes Coughing?
Any type of irritation in the airways can cause coughing. It can be in the upper part of respiratory tract and trachea or far down in the lungs. Sometimes dry retching or vomiting can resemble coughing; so, if you have any doubt, record your pet’s activity in your phone or some other sort of recording device, which you can show to your vet.
Types of Cough
Another great reason to record the sound of cough is, vets like that at http://gordonvet.com.au can get an idea of the cause of the cough. A dry, loud and harsh sound as if your dog is trying to cough up a bone, is a typical symptom of tracheaitis or Canine Cough, whereas a soft, wheezy sound is often a sign of heart or lung disease. A sound of cough resembling a ‘honk’ and takes place with excitement or pulling on the lead occurs commonly in small breed dogs having tracheal collapse.
When Should You Worry?
You should consider it as a major concern, when:
- Ø Your dog has been coughing for more than 5 days
- Ø Your dog has become lethargic or uninterested in exercise while coughing
- Ø The cough takes place along with your dog collapsing or passing out
- Ø Your dog is not interested in food and has other problems like vomiting or diarrhoea
- Ø Your dog’s gums have become pale or have a bluish tint on them
When Do You Need Not Worry?
You need not worry when:
- Ø Your dog is otherwise bright though having a mild cough, which may resolve just with rest
- Ø Several viral causes of a cough resolve without any treatment in young, overall healthy pets
The situations where you actually don’t wish to take the ‘wait and watch’ approach are when your dog seems a little quiet and lacking in energy or has a history of heart murmur. Untreated lung and heart disease can be very complicated and distressing if not diagnosed early.
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Identifying the Cause
Once you take your pet to an expert West Lindfield vet like Gordon Vet, physical examination and history may make the cause of the cough obvious. Your vet will hear the sounds of the lungs and heart of your dog, check his temperature and lymph nodes, and may suggest some tests based on the results of examination or may also prescribe a course of treatment.
The tests could involve heartworm testing, blood tests and x-rays to recognize and rule out some common causes of cough. If the cough is a bit more chronic, a broncho-alveolar lavage or laryngoscopy can be helpful to know the cause of the cough.
In several situations, the treatment includes cough suppressants, antibiotics and supportive care. Providing a humidified, warm atmosphere and using coupage can be helpful for moistening the airways and clearing mucus if it’s causing the problem. If your dog has some more serious issue like heart disease, he’ll need diuretics and other heart medications.
Avoid giving your dog any human medications unless recommended by your vet. The body of a dog metabolises drugs quite different than that of humans; so, several human medications can be poisonous for them or may have adverse effects. When your dog is suffering from cough, avoid taking him on walks in cold air and contact with other dogs, and let him rest and be quiet until you take him to your vet.