Respiratory: Cough Overview

Cough is common in dogs. It occurs frequently and is caused by several respiratory conditions. A cough is triggered by Irritation around the larynx, airways & lungs. Cough is primarily an indication of a problem in the respiratory system, but it isn't a disease in and of itself.

Pyothorax, a disease in which pus and fluids accumulate in the lungs and bronchus is common. A dog with this condition has difficulty breathing due to a severe blockage in the repiratory tract.

Similarly, Dogs with a heart problem may cough after exercise or excitement, to reduce pressure of enlarged heart over lungs.

Cough may be due to any problem in the larynx (voice box) or esophagus. If food enters the respiratory tract due to any larynx problem , a dog coughs to prevent any further complications such as pneumonia.

Causes Of Dog Cough:

Thus causes of cough may be numerous. These causes can only be diagnosed by studying a dog'shistory, having a veterinarian conduct a physical examination, which is typically followed by a lab test or x-ray if needed. 

The primary cause of canine cough is irritation in one or more parts of respiratory tract such as the throat, trachea (wind pipe), bronchus or lungs.

Food and Dog Cough:

The presence of a foreign material in the respiratory tract may cause cough. When eating, if food material enters the respiratory tract instead of the esophagus, it causes immediate irritation of nervous system cells in the trachea, which results in cough. If food that entered into the respiratory tract gets passed to the lower respiratory tract, it may cause pneumonia and severe complications.

Bacterial Infection, Viral Infection and Dog Cough

Bacterial and viral infection is another cause of canine cough. Kennel cough is one of the examples where symptoms such as inflammation of the trachea or bronchus narrows the air path, causing a cough in response. Kennel cough in puppies is the result of an immature immune system.

Other Causes of Dog Cough

Canine Tuberculosis: Similarly, Cough with sputum filled in blood, is common in canine tuberculosis.

Choking or a blockage in the esophagus, exerts pressure at the wind pipe, thus causing cough.

Similarly in heart diseases, enlarged heart exerts pressure at lungs, resulting cough.

If the edema of lungs occurs, which mostly occurs in dogs which are housed in poorly ventilated house, s results in cough.

Moreover several allergies, like that of pollen, dust and smoke etc. may lead to coughing and different respiratory diseases.

Dog Cough Diagnosis:

A canine cough may be moist or dry, productive and non productive respectively. Moist cough indicates accumulation of fluid in the respiratory cavities. Similarly presence of any foreign material in the respiratory tract may cause severe coughing, inflammation, puss formation, edema, injury and even respiratory collapse.

Cough which originated from the trachea may be identified by a slight squeezing of windpipe. Cough found in a population of dogs such as those staying in a kennel, at a particular point in time, and dogs that came in contact with other dogs, either in or out of the house, represents any infectious form of cough.

Treatment of Dog Cough:

Treatment of cough requires a detailed and confirmed diagnosis. Cough suppressants, expectorants, anti-tussive and herbal remedies are some of the cough medicines for dogs.

On the other hand, antibiotics are used for any viral or secondary bacterial infection in respiratory tract. Tetracyclines, Chloramphenicol, Gentamycin, Quinolones have proved effectively in respiratory infections. Corticosteriods can significantly suppress cough, but can not be administered along with antibiotics.

Cough due to any blockage in respiratory tract e.g. that of bronchus is treated by administrating broncho dilators, which opens the air pathway thus reducing cough.

Honey, Sugar, Peppermint etc have soothing effect on the epithelial and nervous cells of upper respiratory tract, thus significantly reduces cough.

Treating cough only indicates symptomatic treatment only. Thorough examination and confirmed diagnosis is required to treat the respiratory problem causing cough and other complications.

Homeopathic remedies can be an effective cough medicine for dogs, such as products formulated to help with kennel cough and other infections which cause cough. For exampled, PetAlive KC-Defense Formula contains several natural herbs selected to naturally treat and immunize your dog against acute kennel cough and other respiratory infections.

If you believe the dog cough is due to a blockage in the respiratory tract and your dog is having trouble breathing due to a condition such as asthma, then a homeopathic remedy such as AmazaPet might be worth researching and trying. The manufacturer is a good source of additional information on natural cough medicine for dogs and other approaches that can help with canine cough.