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Squeaky / Gagging Dog Cough

by Lesley
(Dorset, England)

My 15 year old Maltese Terrier Charlie (male) has developed a cough with two parts to it, the first part - his cough makes a high pitched squeak which he will do about 4/5 times, then finishing with a gagging, which I do not know whether this produces anything in his mouth. This has been going on for about 8 weeks now.


I have been to the vet twice. He has had antibiotics and a steroid injection which as made no difference. He has also had some codeine as a cough suppressant, which also failed.

Charlie does have a heart murmur which my vet tells me is quite severe now. My vet always used to warn me that Charlie would eventually develop a cough as a result. However, my vet says that this cough Charlie has is nothing like the cough a heart murmur produces. He said with a heart murmur it is a loud honking cough. I guess that is his opinion based on his experience and another vet may be of the opinion that Charlie's squeaky/gagging cough is indeed indicative of a heart problem.

Charlie eats well and is happy, (except when he is coughing).
He goes for a walk every day and during his exercise he does not cough once!

Charlie's cough is worst after he has been resting. He sleeps in my room and wakes me up many times each night to have a coughing fit which lasts about five minutes and then he seems to know it has completed its cycle and he then starts scratching on the carpet to go back to sleep. Then a couple of hours later, the whole thing repeats itself.

During the day, he only coughs after he has been lying down.
The rest of the day he is not too bad. I have noticed that when I pick him up and put my hand under the barrel of his chest, this pressure makes him do the cough straight away.

He is a happy dog and I cannot have him put to sleep while he still has quality of life. He has loads of love and really good food and he has his sister Milly who he adores. She is fine.

I just hope you can give me a fresh new opinion on what you think this might be.

I used to have Yorkshire Terriers who developed trachea problems in later life, but they did a really loud honking cough, so I have convinced myself this isn't the problem with Charlie.

Think that's everything.
Thank you so much.

Comments for Squeaky / Gagging Dog Cough

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May 31, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Squeaky/Gagging Dog Cough
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Lesley,
Thank you for the detailed history on Charlie, your 15 year old Maltese. And your description of his cough that has a high pitched squeak followed by a gag. If he has a moderately severe heart murmur, I would expect he has some heart enlargement. When this occurs especially in a small breed dog, the trachea is elevated, and sometimes compressed. Also, with a 'leaky' valve causing the murmur, the heart loses it's efficiency to pump blood in one direction. Since the valve is leaking, some of the blood goes backwards, and fluid will begin to build up, either in the liver if right sided heart problems, (the tricuspid valve) or in the lungs if left sided problems, (the pulmonary, atrial or mitral valve). It is this fluid in the lungs that will lead to coughing that is worse when laying down, or at rest.

For the 'squeaky' sound to occur, he has to have an acute change of shape of his trachea, not the 'general' compression caused by the heart enlargement but one or more tracheal rings to collapse on inhalation. This can be high up in the trachea close to the larynx or throat area, which would make a more high pitched sound, or it can occur lower in the trachea or within the chest, causing a more honking sound. Since he is such a small breed, his trachea is not very long, therefore, wherever the collapse is occurring it is resulting in the high pitched sound.

Continued in Part 2-Squeaky gagging Dog Cough

May 31, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Squeaky/Gagging dog cough- Part 2
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Lesley,
Here's the rest of my response:

1. He should be on a canned or raw diet, NO DRY FOOD. Also, it should be LOW SODIUM.
2. He should be supplemented with glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate to provide support to the tracheal rings. They are composed of cartilage, and have become weak, and are collapsing when he inhales. Give 200-300 mg two times daily.
3. He may need to be treated with either Spongia tosta, a homeopathic remedy for cough that ends in a gag and is associated with heart disease. Give 6c or 12c three times daily for one week, if improved then decrease to 1-2 times daily.
4. Or, Rumex crispus 6c or 12c, if he is worse breathing cold air, and the cough is better if he is covered up.
5. Thuya occidentalis is the remedy that is needed if the coughing started after he received a vaccination. Although, I hope that you are NOT still giving Charlie any vaccines at his age!

Do not give all of the remedies at one time. Only give the one that is the most appropriate, and give it for at least 7-10 days to see if it is helping. Then go to a different remedy. A holistic veterinarian will be able to guide you along in treating Charlie and listen to his heart and his cough.

You did not mention if your veterinarian prescribed any medicine for his heart murmur. If not, then you might consider a trial course of a diuretic, such as fureosemide, (Rx Salix 12.5mg, 1/2 tablet two times daily). This is not holistic, but it would be worth a try to see if Charlie's cough improves, and both of you are able to get a good night's sleep!

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click on the link below
find a holistic veterinarian in your area

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

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

Jun 02, 2011
Thank you
by: Anonymous

Thank you very much for your reply. I will follow your advise and let you know how I get on.

Jul 24, 2011
Great improvement
by: Lesley

Following your advise, I started giving Charlie both Glucosamine/Chr and also Sponga Tosta to see if it helped at all. After about two weeks, he started to improve and now he is so much better. He still does the gagging cough, but so much less that he used to do. The improvement in him is quite amazing and I would recommend these two treatments for anyone else out there whos dog has a trachea problem. The Sponga Tosta I have stopped now and just give him the Glucos/ch. each day. Many thanks for your help

Jul 24, 2011
Update on Charlie
by: Leslie

I wanted to say that after receiving your advise, I put my dog Charlie on the Glucosamine and Sponga Tosta and his cough is so much better, it hardly bothers him now. It took about two weeks to see an improvement.

Before he was so miserable and exhausted he lost weight with it. Now he has put his weight back
on and is a happy dog again. He still does the cough now and then, but not like before when it was just dreadful. Thank you.

Apr 08, 2013
Squeaky/gagging dog cough
by: Julia Young

My dog is 15 and has the very same symtoms...this comment has been very helpful, thank you!

Apr 08, 2013
Glad to help
by: Anonymous

Yes Charlie has sadly gone now, but I kept him on the supplement right to the end and I am certain it cured him.

Jun 06, 2013
Thank you
by: Lisa

My dog is suffering from the exact same and this was very helpful. I want to make his last days as comfortable as possible. Thank you for your help.

Jun 06, 2013
Gagging cough
by: Lesley

Lisa,

I'm very pleased you found my letter helpful.
I do hope you see some improvements as quickly as I did.
Prior to my 4 Maltese terriers I had 3 Yorkies and they too suffered with a trachea cough. Back and forwards to the vets and high bills to no avail. Proof yet again that vets don't have the answers.
One of my Maltese became ill after inoculations and suffered terrible stomach cramps for years and the vets again took my heaps of my money and again no success. I discovered the very old fashioned digestive aid slippery elm powder and it cured him completely.

Good luck

Jun 16, 2013
Cough
by: Sue

Have been reading with interest comments with regard to dog cough my dog Tinker is a small cross breed and when I pick her up she tends to cough and sometimes after having a drink. Her appetite is good - so I will take her to the vet to get her diagnosed. I will also try the glucosamine.

Jun 16, 2013
Response to sue
by: Lesley

Sue,

Yes the coughing and spluttering after drinking isn't anything to worry about, and nor is the problem when you pick your dog up. I'm Not a vet, but I have had 8. Dogs with trachea coughs.

This has always been the case with my dogs even when they were a lot younger. The cough I was describing is most noticeable after they have been lying down after pressure has been put on the trachea.

When you pick your dog up carefully avoid putting pressure with your hand near his/ her neck area.

As for your visit to vet, you could simply open your front door and throw fifty quid into the wind for the good it will do you! Just my opinion, good luck Sue.


Aug 03, 2014
Wow maybe fnally found a answer!
by: Cindi

One of my wires has had a cough for a few years now, always said his heart was good but was told he may have a treak problem so we have a special harness for him.
He walks/ runs about 2 miles almost everyday, non stop at home, still some overweight but very muscular so vets not concerned. Eats fine, mostly raw, lots of veggies, no vaccines for years, he is now 10. But he has this gagging cough when sleeping or laying down and getting some worst, thinking about a xray. He plays like no end, barks at everything, just a happy boy.
I have tried several organic essential oils but nothing seems to stop the cough. He is on Bioplamsa just just because I believe in it. Just started him on raw goats milk, organic.
I am going to order the 2 things suggested in the morning so give that a try.

Aug 04, 2014
Hi Cindy
by: Lesley

It's just my opinion, but I would recommend you try the two supplements first, before visiting your vet. Of course vets do good work, but they also diagnose incorrectly with great frequency, whilst you continue to fork out for their experimental treatments. In all my forty years looking after my many dogs, apart from the odd occasion, most visits to the vet proved to be a costly waste of time. I find most visits to the GP the same - the time bit!

Like GPs, vets mostly only prescribe pharmaceuticals. The many natural cures I have found for myself and my dogs over the years have proved consistently to be of superior help to anything they have to offer.

Good luck Cindi and I hope the supplements work. Be patient, they will take a little time to kick in, but they helped my dog, much to my amazement.

Best wishes
Lesley


Aug 11, 2014
coughing
by: Cindi

Ok into 1 week, still coughing but thought it seems to help some at first, heading to the co op to get more of the spongia tosta but going to order some from Hylands, theirs is not the hard pellets I read. I get my bioplasma from them and like that it just melts fast.
I was not happy with the holistic vet I took him to last year so need to find another but going to try this first. He is very happy and eating well and ready to go for another 2 miles right now if I had the time.
Thanks for the info!

Aug 11, 2014
Hi Cindi
by: Lesley

I did not see any results for two weeks, then I began to notice his cough was less severe and gradually in the weeks that followed that, his improvement accelerated.

The brand of glucosamine I used was from here
http://www.vetvits.co.uk/dog-supplements/flexi-joints-for-dogs/productdetail-p15875-c1786997.aspx?referrer=GOOGLEPPC&gclid=CP6ZnNfQi8ACFU7MtAod0E8Avw

Good luck.

Aug 12, 2014
Toy Poodle
by: Michelle

Hi , i have a female 15 1/2 year old toy poodle, last year diagnosed with a heart murmur, she has been taking vedmedin/vasotop and prelactlone, her cough has steadily got worse which the vet gave me codeine, it did work for a while but her cough is a lot worse and keeps me and her awake at night, i feel so sorry for her, any suggestions its already very costly with her monthly medication as it is.

Aug 12, 2014
Hi Michelle
by: Lesley

Yes my vet gave painkillers to my dog as an attempt to treat any inflammation, but it made no difference. I would stop that treatment straight away, reducing dose gradually, weaning off it.

Then try the glucosamine and the homeopathic remedy and see how your dog does with it.

Also do an Internet search for different types of coughs in dogs and see if this cough sounds to be heart disease related.

My Charlie also had heart problems, but the cough was not associated with it by vet.

As I have said, no one was more surprised when the above treatment worked.

Don't give up, my last Maltese (I had 5) died just over a week ago, aged 19.

Aug 12, 2014
Hi Michelle
by: Lesley

Yes my vet gave painkillers to my dog as an attempt to treat any inflammation, but it made no difference. I would stop that treatment straight away, reducing dose gradually, weaning off it.

Then try the glucosamine and the homeopathic remedy and see how your dog does with it.

Also do an Internet search for different types of coughs in dogs and see if this cough sounds to be heart disease related.

My Charlie also had heart problems, but the cough was not associated with it by vet.

As I have said, no one was more surprised when the above treatment worked.

Don't give up, my last Maltese (I had 5) died just over a week ago, aged 19.

Sep 22, 2015
my yorkie NEW
by: Anonymous

I have a 14lb. yorkie with these symptoms.I was told to give him spongia tosta 30c. I don't know the dosage to give him. I see your dosage said 6c and 12c. What do I give him and how do I gice him 6 or 12?

Sep 22, 2015
Hi there NEW
by: Lesley

Yes , you can find a conversion for 6-12c on Internet.
Sorry can't remember what this in ml. Best buy this in pill form, which actually is the correct dose.
I would also place more importance on the g/connection see below. Hope this helps

2. He should be supplemented with glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate to provide support to the tracheal rings. They are composed of cartilage, and have become weak, and are collapsing when he inhales. Give 200-300 mg two times daily. - See more at: http://www.organic-pet-digest.com/squeaky-gagging-dog-cough.html#sthash.PTVX59l4.dpuf

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