Respiratory Emergencies (Wheezing or Coughing) in Dogs
Many dogs can display respiratory symptoms ranging from:
- The common kennel cough
- Signs of increased yellow or green eye or nasal discharge
- Varying degrees or coughing or wheezing.
The sound of the cough itself can vary. For coughs similar to the sound of a goose honking, this is most typical of either kennel cough or an anatomic or inflammatory problem of the airways. Examples of anatomic problems are often seen with collapsing trachea syndrome common in toy breeds such as Pomeranians or Yorkshire Terriers.
In other cases, the cough can be from an allergic/inflammatory condition such as chronic allergic airway disease or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). For moist/wet sounding coughs, these can be seen in cases of pneumonia, heart failure secondary to mitral valve disease, or a heart disease called cardiomyopathy.
If the pet is still active, eating, and has a pink tongue and gums, then it is likely not an emergency. However, if a dog shows any of the below symptoms, then immediate emergency veterinary evaluation and care is required so that a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is started.
If your pet displays the below respiratory symptoms, seek veterinary care immediately:
- Has difficulty breathing
- Is wheezing
- Has an accelerated rate of breathing (during rest)
- Shows blueish gums/tongue
Some of the more severely affected pets may need oxygen initially to stabilize them before X-rays, blood work, and a more thorough complete respiratory or cardiac workup is performed. It’s for this reason that having natural calming agents on hand can help ease the anxiety and stress the pet is under until being seen by a veterinarian.
With common and seemingly uncomplicated kennel cough signs, pet owners can try remedies like Echinacea or Vetri-DMG to boost the immune system. If the cough worsens or the pet stops eating, a full veterinary exam is needed and antibiotic therapy will likely be required.
If your pet is diagnosed with a chronic inflammatory respiratory ailment or collapsing trachea, sometimes prescriptions for pet medications such as Theophylline and Temaril-P are needed on a long term basis and can be purchased from 1800PetMeds with a written prescription from your veterinarian.