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JeffHP's avatar

What is my dog doing? Is there something wrong?

Asked by JeffHP (92 points ) November 14th, 2010

My girlfriend’s Fox Terrier is making a coughing sound. According to my girlfriend, he has done this in the past. What is wrong with him. It sounds like a hair ball, but he stops after awhile. He also stops when she rubs behind his ears. It’s like a human coughing when he/she is sick and full of phlem.

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7 Answers

syz's avatar

If it’s coughing, you need to get him in to the vet to be checked. Coughing can be a sign of heart failure, heartworm disease, collapsing trachea, or something as simple as kennel cough.

The other possibility is that it’s not coughing, but rather a reverse sneeze (the ear-rubbing comment makes me suspicious of that). If it’s more of a drawing-in of air, more of a snorting, then it’s not a big concern. Take a look at the video in the link and see if that seems familiar.

xxii's avatar

It sounds like a reverse sneeze to me.

nicobanks's avatar

You say this is something he’s done in the past, so I guess your girlfriend has discussed it with her vet at one of his routine checkups? What did the vet say about it?

The dog is getting routine checkups by a vet, right?

If not, please find a good vet and bring him in for a checkup immediately, and thereafter on a yearly basis at least. If you/your girlfriend can’t afford routine checkups, start looking into re-homing the dog now.

This does require professional, expert attention because it could be serious. Maybe it isn’t, but don’t you want to know for sure?

Considering this is not a new phenomenon, if the dog is in all other ways fine – and you know this because you observe him closely every day and do regular home checkups – you can wait until his next routine vet appointment to ask about it. In the mean time, take a movie of the dog making this noise, and bring it with you when you go to the vet’s. (If you don’t have a movie recorder, borrow one from a friend, post the movie online, and ask your vet to look at it next time you see him.) If your dog starts to exhibit any other bad signs, bring him in ASAP.

On the other hand, if you don’t know how to do a home checkup, and/or if you don’t know what counts as a bad sign, bring the dog in immediately.

Please don’t let this end at fluther. Strange people on the internet can talk out of their asses or, even worse, purposefully give incorrect advice for malicious purposes. Sure, strange people on the internet can also give really excellent advice – can be experts themselves. The question is, how do you know which is which? The internet is great for getting a variety of opinions and experience, but not as an end-all be-all, not for important issues such as this.

tigress3681's avatar

Pay attention to when the coughing occurs, time, activities, etc. One of my pets has a similar situation and it was determined to be asthma. If the cough happens after waking from sleeping, for example, then dust and such on his bedding might be a trigger. Obviously talk to your vet. Coughing unchecked can lead to heart problems.

rooeytoo's avatar

I would have to ask how old the dog is, is this a constant thing or just every now and again? Does the dog have any other symptoms such as lethargy, shortness of breath when walking? And as @tigress3681 asked, when does it occur? Those answers would determine for me whether a trip to the vet is warranted.

I am one of those people who doesn’t go to the doctor unless I am sick or half dead (and I am 66 so it can’t be too bad an idea) so I don’t take my dogs to the vet unless they are sick either. Most vets are now saying shots are not necessary every year….

“We are making this change after years of concern about the lack of scientific evidence to support the current practice of annual vaccination and the increasing documentation that over-vaccinating has been associated with harmful side effects,” said the announcement of a new vaccination protocol at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. “Boosters, the annual re-vaccination recommendation on the vaccine label is just that – a recommendation – and is not a legal requirement except for rabies. This recommendation could just as well have been every leap year or full moon and is not, in most cases, based on duration of immunity studies.”

But if you are in doubt, better safe than sorry is the way to go.

YARNLADY's avatar

In any question about the health of the pet, I heartily insist you ask the veterinarian.

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