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Pug Coughing/Honking/breathing labored
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Pug Coughing/Honking/breathing labored

My 6 yr old pug has started having these dry coughing episodes. They are non-productive although at the end of them sometimes she makes a hack or gag noise almost like she is trying to cough up a hairball. She is not lethargic and her eating habits are normal. She is otherwise completely normal.  I have taken her to her vet twice and had her chest and throat x-rayed. He has listened to her lungs and heart and can't find anything abnormal other than a little clear nasal discharge. He put her on an anti-inflammatory the first time which SEEMED to help somewhat but not entirely. The second time he put her on an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic combined. That didn't have any affect.  I feel so helpless when she does this and it occurs several times throughout the day for no reason. She also had a coughing fit in the middle of the night while she was in the bed with me.  I am noticing it when she barks now too. The bark gets interrupted into a honk-like cough.  It seems like she has something in her throat she is trying to clear and sometimes its even like she is trying to catch her breath. Then she will be perfectly normal for hours. Do you have any ideas as to what could be wrong.  I am worried to death that she is going to just stop breathing.
Thank you for your help!
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11 Comments Post a Comment
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82861_tn?1333457511
There are a couple things you might ask your vet to investigate.  One - allergies.  Some dogs have a really tough time with allergens and she may only need something like benadryl or a short burst of steroids to calm it down.

Second, it may not be anything to do with her respiratory system at all.  You've heard of acid reflux in people?  Same thing can happen to dogs and cause the gagging and coughing.  

Check the dog food you feed her.  If it's heavy on corn, it's time to get a better food.  Corn is notorious for food allergies and GI problems in dogs.  Try slowly changing over to a high-quality, grain free food and see if there is any change in symptoms.

Failing improvement from diet change and any other ideas from your vet, it's time for a second opinion.  Sometimes you just need a different set of eyes on a problem to get it diagnosed.  I take nothing away from a vet who admits he's reached the end of his rope.  In those cases, the vet should be perfectly happy to either recommend a specialist or another colleague to take the case.  Don't be afraid to ask for a referral if it comes to that.
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441382_tn?1329196690
Pugs are one of the breeds that is prone to a collapsing trachea.  It sounds dangerous, but it's not, and it causes them to make sounds like the ones you described.  

Your dog could also have canine cough (bordetella bronchiseptica), also called Kennel Cough.  Except in extreme cases, Kennel Cough is not dangerous, and it's far more annoying to the owner, who has to listen to the coughing fits, than it is to the dog.  An easy way to tell if it's Kennel Cough is to do a swab culture.  Bordetella bronchiseptica will be able to be cultured if that's what it is.  Kennel Cough usually resolves on its own, except, as I said, in extreme cases, where an antibiotic may be necessary to clear it up.

Ghilly
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Avatar_f_tn
Can you tell me how your pug is doing? Your story is a mirror image of mine. Chance has had xrays, meds - EVERYTHING. She suffers from horrible allergies and I now wonder if it's evolved... Would love to know. Thanks!
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Avatar_m_tn
I have a 12 year old pug we love very much.  My husband and I left for a three week trip to visit a son out of the country and when we returned our pug was really sick with a deep cough.  She was well cared for but I believe one of the problems is she was extremely stressed that we were gone so long and it has literally made her ill.  Pug owners know that pugs have issues and when you own a pug you know the best your pugs good days and bad.  My sister took her to the vet and she is on prescriptions.  When we picked up our pug from the trip her eyes were red.  I know she was crying because the next morning her eyes are almost white again.  She is still coughing and of course she will be going to the vet with me.  Wish her well because her loss would be terrible.  I will post what happened after the vet visit.  Aggalou is her name
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1868280_tn?1320169073
I know leaving a dog is very stressful for the animal. They are really dependant on you, so when you leave they may get sick because
nobody can replace you. I'm  sure you feel the same way for your
dog. We recently went on a vacation with our parents and left our
pets with a house sitter. It worked out pretty good. We both work
but our hours differ, so we are home most the time during the
week. I feel like your dog can only get better and she missed you
very much, like you missed her. Hope all is well.

mark
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1832268_tn?1326819610
Ouch...poor thing....my chihuahua had a collapsed trachea...he would start honking whenever he got excited, and also intermittenly throughout the day and night...Here are a few things you can do, if your dog has this condition.....
If you smoke....Stop....cigarette smoke will make things worse for your dog. And it doesn't take much smoke to damage the airway of a small dog.
Get a good air filter for your house...dust can trigger episodes.
If your dog is overweight....put her on a diet, but restrict exercise. Exercise will trigger a coughing episode.
If she wears a collar....get rid of it, and use a harness instead. Use of a collar will cause more damage  to the trachea .
When coughing starts, try to calm her down...this always worked with my dog.
And ask your vet about the possiblility of using childrens cough suppressants.
Best wishes to you and your snuggle pug....!
Connie
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1832268_tn?1326819610
Oh, and one more thing....Heat and humidity can also trigger coughing attacks.
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Avatar_f_tn
My 14 year old pug Chichi is having this issue. My parents are smokers, but she just started to have this hacking/gagging thing a couple of months ago. She starts making a sound as if she was trying to hack up something in her throat. Then she starts gagging and the she trows up into her mouth. She does this all through out the day, she does it at night to when shes not asleep. This gets really irritating but i feel bad for her because she cant bark and we rescued her from a breeder who was going to put her down. So if someone could please help me figure out whats the matter with my pug then that would be great! Thanks    
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462827_tn?1333172552
Reasons for Coughing:

OK, For starters, you need to rule out Heart Problems....The xray will not only show the heart, but also the lungs...This is important....
With Heart Disease, the weak heart cannot pump as well...Fluid builds into the lungs causing the cough..The cough is usually MOIST like they're choking on congestion...Actually, they are...The cough is worse in the mornings & during periods of running, playing & excitement....Fluid will show in an x ray of the lungs.....This would normally be for Senior Dogs......

Heart Disease is NOT a death sentence.....It's rather common in dogs!  Dogs can live many ,many years on medications just like humans can.....Meds. to improve function of the heart & also lasix to clear fluid from the lungs......An EKG or ECG can detect what part of the heart is having a problem.....They usually run around $100.....Some Vets will suggest this test, some will not...They will just go ahead and treat...

Next- Kennel Cough- This is a virus and antibiotics will do nothing.....Cough syrup is very necessary to help this run it's course.....Lasts a few weeks & the cough is excessive!!!!

Collapsing Trachea- Common in small breeds- This cough is more like choke-gasp, choke/gasp....It sounds like a goose honking....Meaning like when your sucking through a straw & it collapses. Like it kinda sticks then opens, etc. It is actually doing just that.....The trachea collapses then opens back up...This ailment is treated by weight control & Medications for lung disease....Cough meds, bronchial dilaters, Asthma meds., steroids when necessary, etc.

Respiratory Diseases cause coughing....Asthma & Bronchitis are treated with the same meds as Trachea Collapse. This is more of a dry cough with wheezing at times or both....With this, sometimes the Heart shows enlargement,but it is not a Heart Problem! It's from lack of oxygen through the respiratory system.....Steroids are useful as needed for allergy season that can be a trigger.....Dust mites in the house affect this a lot (Especially in the winter when the heat is on and the house is closed up tight).......It seems they breath better outside.....Something else: Dust Mites in DRY dog food alone can trigger this.....This disease can be controlled for years once you know what to do.....

There's a common cough called A "Reverse Sneeze"...You can google it to know what it sounds like.....I can't describe it....It kinda sounds like all the above, dammit!!!  ;)  Although it sounds awful, it's really harmless.....Lots of dogs do it their whole life...

Then of course, Heart worm Disease will cause a cough....Also will show an enlarged heart....Will be seen on an x ray....Can be ruled out with a blood test...

Oops.....I just thought of another one...Post Nasal Drip will cause a cough...As the fluid trickles down the back of the throat....It tickles....Thus the cough!  The throat & tonsils will be red and irritated if this is what your dealing with....Can be worse during periods of excitement, also.....This is usually allergy related or can be linked to Stress...I know that sounds impossible, but it can happen......Take care............Karla
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Avatar_f_tn
Mine is doing the same and I find it happens most when she buries her face in her blanket/bed. I try I keep an airway passage as she shoves her noes into the blanket/bed.... Her back legs stiffen when she does this!
Scares me!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
I don't have a pug I have a 13 year old long haired Dachshund/Sheltie Mix.  She kind of for a long time had a tiny bit of coughing but now it is every day.  X-Ray and extensive blood tests show nothing but the other night she woke me up in the middle of the night.  I thought that she was choking.  I do not know what to do as the vet could find nothing wrong with her.  One thing I noted is that her bark has changed.  This is the first time that I have noted this.
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