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Dog Coughing & Gagging and Can Feel Ball in Throat

by Veronica R.
(Los Angeles, CA)

For the past week my dog Rex has been gagging, has had a cough and has been drooling. When he starts gagging, it looks like he's going to vomit. But then only water or saliva comes out... no food comes up.

When I touch his throat it feels like a ball, but I've noticed that with the antibiotics it's been getting smaller.

Last Friday Nov 2 I took Rex (a 2 1/2 yr old black Labrador Retriever) in to his vet and they only checked his belly and said he might have pancreatic disease. As a result, they said he needed tests that would cost up to $665. They also asked about his poop and urine and checked his dehydration but said that everything is good there.

For about 3 days I gave him antibiotics and it has made a big difference. He's been a little happier and more playful like his usual self. He eats well and drinks plenty of water.

Please help. I'm a little concerned and anxious. I don't know if I should take him in to see another vet?

Comments for Dog Coughing & Gagging and Can Feel Ball in Throat

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Nov 10, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Coughing & Gagging and Can Feel Ball in Throat
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Veronica,
Since Rex is not vomiting, has a good appetite and is drinking water well, I am not sure how the veterinarian diagnosed pancreatic disease. If he is improving with the antibiotics and the swelling in his throat is smaller, I am suspicious of a few problems.

Kennel cough will produce the cough, gag, almost a retching sound that you are describing.

Antibiotics will help with secondary infection, but the main problem is the irritation caused by the cough. The more coughing, gagging, that is done the more it will inflame and irritate the lining of the trachea and bronchioles. And the more inflammation there is the more that will trigger the cough. The main treatment is by giving a cough suppressant.

The other possibility is if Rex was eating foxtails, these will become lodged in the tonsils, and throat area and create an abscess. The throat will swell and feel like a hard ball, and of course, he will cough and gag. Since there is no obstruction, he will still be able to eat and drink ok. But he will need to have some sedation to examine his throat and tonsil area to make sure remove any foxtails. Tonsillitis and pharyngitis can be VERY painful.

I would seek the help of a holistic veterinarian, that can do a more thorough exam on Rex. Continue the antibiotics, feed him SOFT food ONLY with plenty of liquids. Canned dog food, with chicken or turkey baby food with cooked rice so it will be easier for him to swallow. NO DRY DOG FOOD.

Spongia tosta a homeopathic remedy, can be given to help soothe the cough. 6c or 12c potency, 4 times daily. He can also have a tsp of honey as often as needed to help soothe his throat.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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Related Pages:
- Dog Cough Diagnoses & Treatments,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Coughing Problems Section

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

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