Dry Hacking Dog Cough, Lethargy & Loss of Appetite
I have a six year old male Jack Russell Terrier; two weeks ago he began short coughing episodes... initially I thought that I small fish bone may have become lodged in his throat.
I gave him some peanut butter to "catch it" and that stopped that episode of coughing. During the night he coughed again... the episode lasts 3-10 seconds and has him opening his mouth wide, and engaging in a "dry cough"... like he is trying to expel something from the back of his throat (think Heimlich maneuver without the chest thrust).
Over the next 4-5 days I began using various essential oils on him - most to kill bacteria. I also started giving him colloidal silver 2-3 times/day... about 1/8 tsp each time.
He's an "inside dog" so I know pretty much what he is doing; in reviewing recent activities, I noted that he drank out of a duck pond at the local park.... so I collected a fecal sample and took him to the vet. The vet said that kennel cough is "going around" and assumed that is what he had. He prescribed a 10 day course of Clavamox (125mg) - every 12 hours (total of 20 pills0.
I continued with the essential oils and colloidal silver; after about five days, he seemed to be improved - largely because he was again interested in eating (he is NOT food motivated); he probably lost about one pound from not eating much. His regular diet is BARF raw food with some baked chicken; he also gets raw grass fed hamburger on occasion, and raw fish (snapper, salmon, etc - some of whatever I cook for myself). He also likes raw apples and a bit of cheese.
An interesting thing is that while he laid around more than normal, when I took him hiking (2-3 hours) he was his regular, active self... we go in the desert wilderness and his joy is tracking animals.. which he still did with gusto. I DID notice that when he strained at the harness (he is never allowed off leash as he would likely run 40 miles chasing some prey and get lost), he start "rattling" in his throat and sometimes go into a brief coughing episode... which made me believe that he may have an irritation of the trachea...so I try to keep him from pulling on his harness.
While he was feeling his lowest, he was still interested in playing (he is a PLAY guy) - tug of war with his toys, jumping at a balloon suspended overhead, etc... really active playing... and he generally did not have a coughing spell when engaged in these things.
I also noticed that at times he would tremble briefly, which is unusual for him. It COULD be because I just gave him a haircut and then the weather turned cold again... but it could be part of something else.
When he quit eating I carefully examined him all over to see if I
could find anything -I checked his mouth for dental issues (none found), palpated his belly to see if I could elicit pain (none) and carefully looked for wounds/injuries that could be infected (none). His stool was fairly normal, but I noticed that he had eaten some grass - something that he normally does not do.
Today is day 7 of the Clavamox; he seemed to "turn the corner" two days ago in that he began eating nearly his normal amount of food/day... the coughing has diminished about 73%. His stool has been soft, but I read that is a negative side effect of Clavamox. The vet tested his fecal sample for Girardia and parasites - it was negative.
I only get him vaccinated for rabies... not for anything else. He is not around other dogs (he is NOT social), but does sniff feces at the park when he finds them before I do. (not a dog park... just a regular park where there aren't too many dogs that go there).
The past few days I noticed that he has a very slight discharge from his eyes... just a "bit of crud" in the corner of his eyes... he never has that... but he could have been chasing rabbits through the brush in the back and gotten something in them from that.
When he was at his most lethargic, his nose was dry and warm; now it is cold and wet and has never had any discharge.
One other thing that I have noticed is for the past three weeks he wakes up during the night (he sleeps in bed with me) and starts licking his right front leg... so vigorously that he wakes me up.... and he will keep licking for five minutes straight.... I examined his leg carefully and can find nothing... and he has not licked the hair off (he is a rough coat), but I do find hair in his stool.
We live in southwest southern Nevada; there are snakes, tarantulas, scorpions and other critters... but he stays mostly in the house (only a small portion of the yard is fenced) and when he is out, it is usually with me... and I have not found any wounds on his body to indicate that he was bitten by something.
Yesterday was the farthest we hiked in the past 2.5 weeks - 5 miles... he was fine the entire time... we ran a bit and he was not short of breath. Later in the evening he had one short (2 little hacks) coughing fit... but this is much reduced from what it was 10 days ago.
That's all that I can think of.. he is neutered. He doesn't have a "problem area" to photograph... I included a photo to show his personality.. high energy...play...play...play.... he would rather play than eat... and when he eats, it is slowly and with good manners... he chews his food (not a gulper) and will take it from your fingers very gingerly...
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