My dog has cough! Do I have to worry?
In many cases your dog just has a ‘cold’ or kennel cough and the cough may improve with fairly minimal treatment. However, coughing can also be a sign of more serious problems that do need early intervention.
Causes of coughing
Coughing can be due to any sort of irritation in the airways, from the upper respiratory tract and trachea, right down to the lungs. Vomiting or dry retching can also sometimes appear like a cough, so if you are in any doubt, get out your phone and record what your pet is doing, so you can show your vet. Vets love a good home movie. They also love you to imitate what your dog sounds like when he coughs. Seriously, we do!
When to worry
- If your dog has been coughing for more than a 5 days
- Your dog is coughing AND lethargic or reluctant to exercise
- The cough is associated with your dog passing out or collapsing
- If your dog is also off his food or has any other problems like diarrhoea or vomiting
- If your dog has pale gums or has a bluish tint to the gums
Diagnosing the cause
Once you visit the vet, it may be obvious from the physical examination and history what the cause of the disease is. Your vet will listen to your dog’s heart and lungs, check his temperature and lymph nodes and may recommend some further tests based on this information, or perhaps a course of treatment. Further testing could involve blood tests, heartworm testing and x-rays to identify and rule out some common causes of a cough. If the cough is a little more chronic in nature, laryngoscopy or a broncho-alveolar lavage can help to identify a cause for the coughing.
Want to know more? On www.dogalize.com you will find the Dogalize Trainers, available on chat and videocall!