Chihuahua coughs

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My 12-lb. 10-yr-old chihuaua (Marlet) coughs. She’s done it for years, but seems to be increasing. She seems otherwise healthy and active, has a good appetite and appropriate waste elimination. Her teeth aren’t in great shape. She often coughs upon waking in the morning, but sometimes after playing. It’s a deep, rasping cough, but she shows no signs of throat soreness. She often coughs several times and concludes with a “gag”. Other times (but not always), she seems to be able to stop voluntarily when her name is called or if she’s offered a treat. She’s seen a veterinarian for other things, lameness, chiropractic, bee sting, when her heart has been checked with no mention of problem by the vet.

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Asked on October 12, 2019 12:29 pm
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There are a number of issues that can lead to a chronic cough in a dog of Marlet’s age and breed. The two that seem most likely are a collapsing trachea or cardiac disease. Sometimes with age the cartilage rings that keep the trachea open will weaken and the trachea will collapse on itself. This leads to chronic coughing. There are also cardiac issues that may not be detected by auscultation alone. I put these two problems on the top of a differential list. At the Sanctuary such a pet would have a complete workup including X-rays, lab work, an EKG, and an ultrasound of the chest. Incidentally, bad teeth are a significant risk to a dog with a bad heart. This issue needs to be dealt with as soon as feasible.

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Posted by Dr. Gaylord Brown
Answered on October 14, 2019 8:25 pm
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