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Dog has been coughing for 6 [email protected]

My girlfriend has 3 dogs, 1 of which is a female blue heeler (Tyler) about 4-5 years old. Tyler started developing a cough in mid-August, 2013. She has been coughing for the past 6 months. The 2 other dogs are in perfect health and have not developed a cough. I have outlined below the steps that have occurred during the past 6 months.

- Month 1 - Normal coughing with a foamy white substance coming up after cough. She eats grass.
She was prescribed antibiotics and small strength of steroids. This helped a little but didn't cure it. She showed improvement while on the medication, but the symptoms returned as soon as the course of medication ended. Eating Diamond dog food naturals lamb and rice formula. She had been on this type of dog food all of her life.

-Month 2 – The coughing got a little more violent still, and she produced a white foamy substance with it - was prescribed more antibiotics and a little more strength of steroids. She had a series of x-rays which showed some mucus in lungs, but no signs of pneumonia. There was no sign of change. She was tested for heartworms, negative.

-Month 3 – We moved to a different veterinarian, and she was prescribed more antibiotics. During this time she coughed up mucus that had a yellow/brown tint to it much similar to a human with bronchitis. Once again, while on the medication she showed improvement, but the symptoms returned when the medication ended. She was moved to 4 Health dog food with Turkey and potato.

-Month 4 – The coughing has gotten even more violent.  She has signs of licking lips followed by intense coughing/hacking/retching. When she would get excited or waking up from a calm state triggered the worst cases. She did not have any more white foamy substance being thrown up.  

-Month 5 – The coughing is still very violent. She still licks her lips followed by couching/hacking when excited and waking from calm state. She now began to throw up and regurgitate after eating and drinking. Sometimes this happens directly after she ingests food or water, and other times it may happen 30 minutes to an hour afterward.  Cleaned any dust around the house, etc.  Local vet referred us to Oklahoma State Vet Clinic.

-Month 6 – OSU Vet clinic. Her examinations showed no heartworm, no collapse trachea, no tumors, etc. She went through a series of x-rays, ultrasounds and a fluoroscopy. The fluoroscopy revealed that when Tyler swallows the muscles in her esophagus force the food the wrong direction. When she swallows again the food again gets pushed the wrong direction after entering her stomach. The vets diagnose her with acid reflux, and further examinations had seen damage in her throat from where the acid had caused damage.  She was prescribed with Zantac, Prilosec and sucralfate for two weeks, and her reaction to the medication was to be monitored. Her condition did not improve with medication.

-Now – The coughing is still very violent, and she seems like she is losing weight. She still licks her the lips before violent attacks.  OSU vet clinic is going to give her blood work to test for Addison’s disease, myasthenia gravis or a thyroid problem.  If they come back as negative, they are going to try an endoscopy. To help her keep weight on we’ve tried feeding her boiled chicken and rice, and Wellness brand dog food for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Again it is a turkey and potato formula.

The only times Tyler is at her best is when she is calm, and that is when she is in her kennel, outside by herself, and when she is relaxed on the sofa taking a nap.  During all episodes of a new treatment, the first couple of days would show signs of a positive outcome, but then after those occasions she would go back being to her bad self again.  Almost like her body had adapted and overcome the new treatment.  We really don't know what else to do but continue to listen, research, and experiment.  The only thing I can think of is that we do have fox tails and sand burrs (stickers) in our yard.  She does pick the sand burrs out of her feet with her mouth and maybe she swallowed one or two?  There were also fox tails around where she was eating grass, so I wondered if this could do something to her?  We haven't yet done the endoscopy yet, so we actually don't know yet what all is in her stomach to be causing this acid reflux. If you have any suggestions to help her symptoms, or so if there is any information that you or someone can provide us, we are all ears!
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7378022 tn?1390751481
So sorry you, your girlfriend, and Tyler are going through this. Just curious... Is Comfortis (pill flea treatment) being used?
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Avatar universal
Have you figured out what is wrong with the Tyler yet? My dog Dodger has had most of these same issues since March of 2014, He was put on steroids that helped but two days after he was off of them he would go right back to coughing and throwing up. I've changed his food and nothing seems to help.
I'm hoping maybe you've found something that helps. Please let me know.
Thank you,
Beverly
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Avatar universal
I really hope there is a happy ending to this. I could copy and paste these symptoms with our dog. She has not started vomiting yet but it sounds like that is coming up. She has had this for over a year and we have had several trips to the Vet for the steroids that keep this at bay. We know they are not a solution as she should not be on steroids for too long as well. We have changed her diet completely 3 times and no real sign of improvement, as well are replaced the carpet and cleaned the floors. It's heartbreaking to watch this energetic 6 year old dog cough so much that she cannot enjoy playing with the family.
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Avatar universal
Thanks for responding everyone.  Here is an update to my original post (1 year later).  Sorry for not responding quicker.

The OSU results had come back with a negative on everything tested.  We haven't performed an endoscopy due to expenses already incurred.  We decided our main focus would be to try various dry food alternatives to try and put weight on and prevent regurgitation.  We tried like 4 or 5 different brands, all of them not working until we tried "4 Health" canned dogfood.  Thankfully, as of right now, using this seems to work best for Tyler.  Previously, she had quit eating the dry dogfood we normally gave her (probably because she knows she'd throw it up once she ate it).  Her weight is now being maintained which is a huge win for all of us.  She still hacks/coughs while eating but she doesn't throw anything up from what we've seen.  

Tyler has now grown accustomed to her coughing.  I think she, herself, has figured out her own method to make the problem less worse on her.  When a coughing spell occurs, she desperately tries to find a spot in the house, lays down, and appears like she's trying to calm herself down.   And she lays there awhile.  Just like in previous times, these cough/hack spells still occur when she's excited, eating dogfood, and waking up from deep sleeps.  There hasn't been any signs of a white foamy substance in a very long time.

The problem is still there but not as worse.  We periodically think that maybe its not something physically wrong, but maybe something neurological?  Like a particular type of weird ceasure or something?  I think for the most part Tyler has just accepted her condition.  She's had this condition almost going on 3 years.  She's a blue heeler and one of the smartest dogs I've come across.  I think she tries to find ways to make herself more comfortable during a spell but quite hasn't figured out how to prevent it.  I guess a dog's excitedness is in their DNA.  

My girlfriend told me to send this link out as something else: https://www.************/gulpydogs?fref=ts.  We are still open to all suggestions.
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Avatar universal
Thanks for your reply.  We live in the country where there are many ticks, and we do use Comfortis.  I must say that it works wonders for tick prevention.  Unfortunately, the hack/cough condition still exists.
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Avatar universal
Hey Beverly,

Thanks for your post.  Tyler also had steroids and they helped the first few days as well.  But similarly to your situation, she went back to coughing and hacking.  We used about 4 or 5 different "soft" dog food until we came across "4 Health".  So far, this dog food is something she eats and keeps down.  She still hacks/coughs.  She coughs less when there is nothing chunky in the food.  Good luck.  I'll keep you updated if I find out anything
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Avatar universal
Apparently, I guess medhelp doesn't want me to post links.  In response to my 2nd post, go to facebook, and there is a page for "Dog Gulping Disorder Awareness and Owner Support".  This is also something to ponder.
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13490901 tn?1430183013
u should try 2 tablespoons of honey a day!!! Make sure it's local!
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Avatar universal
I know this is probably a stupid question...but has Tyler been tested for Valley Fever(coccidiodes)? My dog started coughing in the same manner. Turned out to be Valley Fever. Its a fungal infection that requires anitfungal medication.
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Avatar universal
Dear Brichardson,
Our dog sounds a little like your dog.  His name is Smokey and he hacks, coughs, and then wretches numerous times a day.  As a cause, I, too, wondered about some awful stickers in our yard (which have since been almost eradicated), and I told this to the vet, but he did not think that was it, and he's a good doc.  But sure makes me wonder if a couple got stuck in his throat or stomach.

Now, our dog can be made to cough, the vet did it, by somehow pushing on his trachea, and I have no idea what that means, except he usually coughs when on the couch and he gets in a little wad when his head is tucked in, and so whenever he is on the couch, he always coughs.

We've been thru the same prednisone, antibiotic scenario...gets a little better, then right back where he started.  

Now, one thing that is different for us is the other day, the dog puked up about a 1"x4" cigar-like stomach waste wad, surrounded by mucous, and I wondered what in the world it was!  Makes me wonder now, because a new symptom arose shortly afterwards, which has been mentioned here, and that is he is off his food somewhat now, only eats about 1/4 to 1/2 of his food (1cup a.m., 1cup p.m.).  He WILL drink milk and a little of my cheerios.  I gave him milk and honey the other day after washing out his dish, but he's still coughing.

This has been going on for perhaps six months to a year, I'm not sure.  I asked husband if we should take him in again, but he says no.  Still, I plan to encourage him, as the coughing is far more frequent, plus the new issue of going off his food, plus that awful gunk he puked up.

I just wanted to chime in with you, as I think our dogs have the same thing, and nothing seems to work to fix it.  I know our dog is uncomfortable with this, it hurts me deeply to hear him somewhere in the house hacking and hacking and then wretching.  After we take him to the vet again, I'll update this thread, and Brichardson, if you have anything to add or ask me about, please do.  This cannot be good for our dogs!
GG
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1 Comments
Any resolution?
Avatar universal
Hi again BRichardson,
After some thought of your earlier posts and mine yesterday, I got to thinking about the sticker situation.  Yesterday, I remarked to husband that I had not heard the dog cough a single time all day... and it's going that way today too, now 1pm.  I think I told you how he threw up this cigar-like gunk about a week or so ago.  Well, I thought, what if those burrs kind of stuck in his tummy, and stuff gathered around them, like dog hairs, some bits of human food, grass, whatever, and he finally was able to puke it up.  He then coughed badly enough where I thought we should take him in.  And no sooner had I said that, then I noticed he stopped coughing.  COULD BE that he finally got rid of some burr-and-whatnots by throwing it all up, and could be the burrs had made his lower throat and tummy very sore, so that's why he coughed so much after that happened.  I mean, why else would he have stopped coughing.

But then there's another possibility.  A few days ago, when I noticed he was off his food, leaving about half what we gave him twice daily, I decided to give him milk mixed with honey and poured it in his dish.  He kept coughing.  Then the next day, I did the same.  Could be that once the dog got that "burr-ball" out of his gut, the soreness was eased with the honey.  So, maybe it was the combination of him finally getting that gunk out of his tummy and then giving him soothing honey stirred with milk in his dish, that at LONG LAST fixed his problem.

BUT he's still off his food, and I have NO IDEA what to do except look into changing it.  So, back to the case, I don't know if our dog's coughing will start back up or not, but if I were you, I'd ask your vet to knock out your dog and put one of those microscope view-finders in his throat and down to his tummy, and see if there's something there to pull out, like the cigar blob thing my dog threw up.  Then give him a mixture of milk and honey for a few days, until eventually he quits coughing.  Can't hurt.  Your vet may even give your dog something guaranteed to make him cough up any blockage... but I just think removal would be the best way to go and easier on him and his throat.  My own vet said, concerning another dog we had, that throwing up is very hard on a dog, so....

Anyhow, thought I'd add these couple of thoughts I've had, thinking since you and I had those burrs/stickers as a commonality, and nothing the vets give the dogs worked, that with my good fortune in seeing that really awful THING come out of his guts, that it really was the stickers all along, stuck and gathering hair, our snacks, his food, grass....  We have since gotten ourselves another mower man (we're too old to do it anymore--it's a half-acre), and we had him rake up after he totally decimated the group of plants that make those burrs, and he put it in a leaf bag and took it with him to dispose of.  Sometimes it takes awhile to find a new mower guy when another one quits.  But keeping the burr plants pulled out and chopped up might help at the very least, down the road.
GG
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Avatar universal
Brichardson, just a quick update... our dog is coughing a little more now, but nothing like before.  I wonder what treatments (besides the Zantac etc. that your vet used), could reverse the way the tummy won't let food in?  Also, just FYI, he is eating a little better again... he's on a kind of dogfood he prefers to his other kinds (all the same dry dogfood).  Eventually, if his eating falls off again, we'll try that kind you're using.  How is your dog making out now?  Tried anything new?  GG  
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Avatar universal
B RICHARDSON, I am typing on this old thread again, to bring it tot the top, so you MIGHT see it again.  I'll also try some message to you from  your profile page.  I want to talk about our dogs coughing, you can read the three or four posts I've already made, to bring you up to speed.  And how is your dog?  I hope he's hanging in better.  GG
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Avatar universal
My 8 yr. old Pomeranian  named Foxy has the same cough as Tyler. She has been this way for at least 6Mo. Our Vet is taking the same course with the steroids, and Clavimox . He increased the meds 3 times and they seemed to begin to work then, never cleared everything so the cough came right back, getting even worse. I had x-rays which showed mucus in the lungs, but not pneumonia. Sound familiar? I am on a fixed income, and am told she needs a $400.00 scope. They thought that she might have a collapsing trachea, but after the x-ray He thought she may be OK with that., but still left that open for further discussion. It seems more difficult to treat animals than humans, when it comes to infections. Don't they have a broad spectrum antibiotic for this? I seems like a  very common problem. I don't want to keep throwing money into the money pit just on a guess. Any real Answers? I am at wits end for my poor little girl.
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Avatar universal
My 8 yr. old Pomeranian  named Foxy has the same cough as Tyler. She has been this way for at least 6Mo. Our Vet is taking the same course with the steroids, and Clavimox . He increased the meds 3 times and they seemed to begin to work then, never cleared everything so the cough came right back, getting even worse. I had x-rays which showed mucus in the lungs, but not pneumonia. Sound familiar? I am on a fixed income, and am told she needs a $400.00 scope. They thought that she might have a collapsing trachea, but after the x-ray He thought she may be OK with that., but still left that open for further discussion. It seems more difficult to treat animals than humans, when it comes to infections. Don't they have a broad spectrum antibiotic for this? I seems like a  very common problem. I don't want to keep throwing money into the money pit just on a guess. Any real Answers? I am at wits end for my poor little girl.
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Avatar universal
Another thing I wanted to mention about Foxy, is that when she starts hacking, her breath is so fowl. She also throws up mucus with yellow paste-like phlegm, but can't get it up. Then on some days, here breath seems fine. I believe that the mucus is giving her the bad breath. I put a dog mouthwash in her water on some days, but it doesn't seem to help. The next thing needed is the scope. I don't understand why I can't collect some of the mucus that she expels and have that tested? $400.00 seems excessive, but if I have to do this, I hope it will give a conclusive answer. If anyone has any advice on the subject, Please feel free to respond. I am in need of real help!
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Avatar universal
Hi guys,

I've read through the comments here just a few days ago because our dog (a shih tzu), Ching-Ching, who we love dearly had been experiencing the same coughing and shortness of breath for  almost 10 months. Great news is that just a day or two after reading this thread, I noticed she stopped coughing. I observed her yesterday and today and really no more coughing from her, not even once! Thank God! I prayed so hard for it to stop because of the stress it has been causing me and my family and I'm sure more so, the stress and pain our dog must had been going through. There were nights I just found myself crying because I did't want to lose her. God answered our prayers for sure! I'm sharing this to give you hope and faith that your dogs will be healed, too.

What measures did we take to help cure her?

When she started coughing 9 months ago, the vet thought it was kennel cough and gave her antibiotics and Broncure for 2 weeks and continued for 2 more weeks but nothing happened. That was the only medication she took. I refused to continue giving her further medication because I didn't want her liver to suffer so we just let her be and just comforted her whenever she started coughing to calm her down.

Just 2 weeks ago we went to the beach. We were there for 3 days and brought our 2 dogs with us (Ching-Ching and Khezu). We took them for a swim for about 10mins, swam and submerged when waves came. I let her swim on her own for a few seconds and held her when I felt she was already tired, then let her swim on her own again, and held her again. Just a quick swim. The days after our vacation, we noticed the coughing lessened until it completely stopped. I heard the beach is good for asthma so it must've helped.

I just wanted to share with you guys because you gave me comfort that I wasn't the only one who went through the same problem.
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Avatar universal
I have the same problem.  It's been about 8 months.  Two of my four dogs have this cough.  My Jack Russel has it the worst.  I have spent  a fortune and am going to a free clinic tomorrow.  One thing both dogs had in common is terrible breath and they do need dental work.  We had a yeast explosion this past summer.  My Yorkie (one with a lesser cough) seemed little bothered by the yeast (fungi).  My Jack Russel was really sick and I was worried he wasn't going to live.  I have researched and read that Aspergillos will kill a dog and wonder if his problem is fungal.  I just don't know what to do at this point and am losing sleep as he coughs all night unless he is exhausted and just can't stay awake.  He also starts coughing when he gets excited.
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1 Comments
Ugh, 8 months?  Long time.  Hard on dogs.  Hard on you!!  Since you went to the doctor at the free clinic, what was the outcome?  Anything to share?  
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