The Nervous Cough

Full Title: The Nervous Cough

Author: Paige Alpine

Date of Publication: January 1, 2017


Research Paper Text:

There is many reasons for dog coughing. It is always best to talk with your veterinarian if your dog has a history of coughing. Coughing can be a symptom for serious diseases so please check with your veterinarian.

Coughing can be divided in four categories:

  • Infectious
  • Auto Immune
  • Congenital/Breed Related
  • Geriatric Conditions (old age)

Infectious coughing can be a symptom of Kennel cough, Distemper, heart worm, pneumonia, and valley fever. This is why it is important to get a proper diagnosis before you believe your client’s dog has stress coughing. Kennel cough and Distemper are extremely contagious and need immediate attention. Heart worm is caused by a mosquito bite, over time as the worms grow inside the heart they can move into the lung and the dog will have the symptom of coughing. Pneumonia can be brought on from kennel cough that has gone to far and becomes a secondary condition. This needs to be treated right away.

Autoimmune problems in dogs are very common, this is more than likely where the “stress/nervous coughing” When the immune system is affected this may cause allergies or asthma. It is believed that some of these autoimmune issues happen from the young age of 6 months to 2 years. It could be due to accumulation of all the puppy vaccinations followed by the stress of surgery for spaying or neutering. These procedures even though they are necessary cause the body to have lower resistance. Improving the dog’s diet and trying your best to relive stress from the environment may help with these symptoms. Rescue Remedy or a holistic approach may also help with the stress level and help the dog over come the “nervous coughing”.

Congenital/ Breed related can also be an issue for coughing, the tracheal collapse is often a cause, some times it is just the structor of the dog that can be an issues. Short nose and pushed in face (brachycephalic breedsexample Bulldog) is a very normal cause for the collapsed trachea, which will cause coughing. Other factors could also play a role, using choke chains or collar that could puts pressure on the trachea. A dog that pulls consistently on leash with a collar could over time have a collapsed trachea and cause coughing.

Geriatric conditions (old dog) coughing in older dogs could be a sign of lung cancer, laryngeal paralysis or congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure is caused by a leak in one of the valves of the heart. This is normally more common for the older dog and can be treated with medication and better diet, good dental hygiene is a must for some believe heart failure is caused by poor dental care. Coughing could also be caused by Lung Cancer, this is where the cancer has spread to the lungs and has caused difficult breathing. Laryngeal paralysis in dogs normally occurs around the age 8 to 10. It is unknown why the laryngeal nerve becomes paralyzed but it restrict the air slow and causes difficulty breathing and coughing. Stress could of course make this issue become worse and it is best to keep the dog calm and relaxed. Dog acupuncture and electro-acupuncture have been know to help stimulate the laryngeal nerve and create movement in the folds in 60 to 70% of patients treated.

In conclusion there could be many reason why a dog has “nervous coughing” It is also important to remember that coughing can be a symptom to a bigger problem.

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