I have a 6year old female pug, for the last 6 days she has been coughing/gagging but not all the time - it seems to come on randomly throughout the day and night. The coughs/gags have been dry except for one which caused her to be sick. She has always gagged but its not been so bad as this.
I am reluctant to take her to the vets - as we seem to always be there!! And I have read a lot of people say on the internet that after taking their pug to the vet with similar symptoms that the vet was unable to find the problem.
Can anyone help? Is it something that will go on its own?
The first thing to say, which you are probably already aware of, is that Pugs have genetic issues with their breathing. This means that even a slight problem with the throat or lungs or gastric tract which ordinarily might not be too big an issue for most dogs, can become a major problem for pugs.
I am going to assume she has been vaccinated for kennel cough - if not, she should be - take her to a vet asap. Even if she has been vaccinated, there are strains of the virus that vaccinated dogs can still catch. Has she been near any other dogs recently? Just because they weren't coughing doesn't mean they weren't carrying the virus - and kennel cough is exceptionally contageous.
This could also be a bowel obstruction problem. Has she been chewing at anything recently? I would suggest this needs further examination at your vet. Hopefully, they will do an X-ray of her bowel and lung area to see if it is a blockage - though of course, not all obstructions show up on an x-ray.
Just because she always seems to be at the vet, that's not a good reason for ignoring these symptoms - it may well be something and nothing, but equally, if it is something like an obstruction or a trachea problem, it will need professional treatment quickly. Let us know how you get on. Tony
First, Heart Disease- 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.....Fairly easy to rule out & Heart medications work well for treatment.......
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 dilators, 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.....If your dog has not been on monthly Heart worm medication, you need to have this blood test done..... This disease is possible at any age......
Also, Allergies can & will trigger a cough.....
All of these can be evaluated by a Vet...Good luck, Karla
A few backs back, my dog was coughing and gagging (just like you are describing). It was random throughout the day and night. Almost seemed like he was gasping for air.
The vet dx as kennell cough. Please take your dog to the vet!! Kennell cough if not treated can be fatal in dogs. Even if he has been vaccinated, he can certainly contract the virus (there are numerous virus's out there of this!) (Happened to my dog)
Thanks all - I will take her to the vets later and fingers crossed its nothing serious! The cough/gagging has improved so whatever it is I hope it's on the way out.
She is already on steroid drops for her eyes (she had an operation on them 6 months ago) so I get worried about putting her on other medication also. I'll let you know how it goes!
As previously mentioned, pugs have an elongated soft pallet to the rear of their mouths, which can cause bouts of coughing, particularly if an infection or virus causes a flare-up of inflamation (inflammation) or irritation. Surgery can help (if this becomes a frequent problem for the dog), as it is possible to remove part of the soft pallet. For periods of coughing or laboured breathing (when no other reason can be identified), it is recommended to give a short course of corticosteroid and antibiotic. As pugs get older, the coughing can increase without intervention. This of course is all down to genetics and (badly) breeding in the shorter snout over many decades.
I wasn't able to get an appt tonight so am taking her tomorrow evening. We thought she was getting better but had quite a bad gagging fit tonight. Now terribly worried about her! Is there anything I can do in the meantime to help her? Thanks
I wouldn't use any intervention meds if you are already taking her to the vet later, as this could interfere with other more appropriate meds the vet may wish to commence ... but if you think the coughing spasm is getting worse, try getting her there earlier as this could potentially deteriorate quickly into a more serious event. I would certainly restrict all excitement and exercise until after she has been to the vets and, hopefully, a diagnosis has been made by them. Let us know how you get on. Tony
We took her to the vet Friday and ended up taking her to a night vet to be monitored over night, my vet had given her a steroid injection to calm down the swelling of her throat area. She was absolutely fine at the night vet and has been fine since - we have been told she must lose 2kg, we aim to do this within 1month as the vet feels this is the issue - her weight and the wether getting warmer. Once she has lost the weight it's likely she will need further investigation on her soft palette. But overall the advise was to lose weight (priority), keep her cool (use a fan/air con) and calm her down if she begins to get any sign of gagging or heavy panting. The vet also gave us a powder to reduce mucus. Hope this helps anyone else having similar issues and I know pug owners always hear this but don't let your pug over eat!!!!! Thanks for all advice
Good news. Yes, as I mentioned earlier, any (literally any) underlying problem that restricts breathing, swallowing, etc., can become a major issue for pugs, owing to the genetic issue soft palette - and obesity is certainly one of them, as it further restricts the throat, breathing and so on. It's good that you have identified this early enough to resolve it. Great news for both you and your dog. Tony
Please see my posting from Feb. 23, 2013 "Pug with bilateral nasal discharge, gag, retch and cough." My pug has had an issue since being boarded for the first time in early Sept. 2012. She has had two endoscopies and there was a big change in the two months between them.
She had been on antibiotics, steroids, allergy meds, coughing meds, and more. Kennel cough was ruled out and at first the vet thought allergies. Because of the changes in anatomy between the first and second endoscopy, the vet felt it was chronic bronchitis. She is now on an oral bronchodialtor (to expand airway passages) and inhaled steroid (to reduce the inflammed tissue). She is 13, has always been active without a problem. She is still active with the above symptoms which makes it a mystery. She is regurgitating more often. The other night the vet called with an "ahah" thought - it may be acid reflux so we have also started Prilosec. It will take a few weeks to see any changes if this is it, but I will post if she gets better. I am curious what the powder is that you are giving yours for the mucous build up.
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