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Why Is My Puppy Coughing?

Q:

I recently adopted a 12-week-old female puppy.  This is the first puppy we have owned and are very excited to be pet owners!  Over the last 2 days, it seems as though something is stuck in our puppy's throat!  It sounds like a cough but we are not sure.  She sneezes often and sometimes we think we took in a goose!  Well, it sounds that way anyway.  What should we do?  Is there anything over the counter we can give our pet?  Why is she coughing?  Please help. 

A:

It's great that you have adopted a puppy!  Being first time pet owners is an exciting yet challenging time.  It is important to get down the basics of pet care and nutrition in your quest to giving your dog the best life.  It seems as though the most likely cause for coughing in a young, not yet fully vaccinated dog is some sort of infectious cause. 

The most common thing we see in these puppies is kennel cough.  Kennel cough is an infectious bronchitis, which can cause a harsh sounding cough and lethargy.  Occasionally, these upper respiratory infections can progress to a lower respiratory infection or pneumonia.  Kennel cough is very contagious.  The bacteria can be transmitted through nasal and oral secretions and also picked up if the animal sneezes or coughs. 

It can be common for the agent responsible for kennel cough to be accompanied by a virus as well.  This is why it can be a challenge to treat since your pet has to "ride out" the viral aspect of the upper respiratory infection.  It is very important that you take your pet to a vet for an exam.  We can check to make sure your pet's temperature is normal and ensure that the appetite has not diminished.  We may decide to place your pet on an antibiotic and antitussive (anti-cough medication). 

It is best that you refrain from giving any medication without the advice of a licensed veterinarian.  Some medications that humans take can be potentially toxic to dogs and cats.  Vaccinating your pet for kennel cough is important once your dog has recovered from the infection.  It is likely that in the future this will lessen the severity of another infection.  Good luck with your new pet!


Submitted by Concerned first time dog owners
Answered by Mark Verdino

 

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