Coughing in dogs and cats | Companion Animal Veterinary Hospital

Coughing in dogs and cats

Matt Young's picture
Mel recording the video

Key points in this video:

  • coughing in cats is unusual and general a serious problem
  • The phrase "kennel cough" is incorrect and it is more correctly called "Canine Cough"- they don't need to be in kennels to get it
  • Canine cough is a highly contagious cough that is often picked up at home or in dog parks.
  • Other common causes of coughing in dogs include chronic bronchitis, hart failure and collapsing trachea
  • Coughing in cats is mostly caused by feline asthma/ allergic bronchitis
  • Coughing in cats is often mistaken for hairballs

 hey everyone welcome to ask the vet here at companion animal vets in Dapto. Oh I'm  Melissa and today we're talking about cooughing. So cooughing... we're seeing quite a  lot of dogs with coughing at the moment in the last couple of weeks and many of  them have coughing for different reasons so I thought talking about coughing  today cats I'll mention as well cats don't cough very often so in general if  a cat is coughing then it's something that's needs to be looked at so in  general cats don't cough very much at all so if you are hearing any coughing  in a cat that's probably something that needs to be looked at but we'll talk  about cats a bit after the dogs so what I'm going to talk about today is we've  had a few people mentioned that they've heard that kennel cough is  around we call it canine cough rather than kennel cough because it's a disease  that doesn't just happen in kennels so what canine cough is canine cough  is a highly contagious cough that's caused by a number of different bugs  it's not just one virus or one bacteria it's multiple bacteria and viruses that  can call this causes group called canine cough and one of these is a highly  highly contagious cough that means that if one dog coughs and the other one is  another dog's nearby they're very very likely to come down with symptoms  the other thing is is these viruses and bacteria can actually live for a period  of time in their environment so we've now with dog parks and places where lots  of dogs congregate hopefully if your dog was coughing you don't take them to  those places but if they do if they cough they can leave behind the bugs and  viruses on surfaces they can live for a couple of weeks and  then if your dog comes by and walks around and sits there and then licks  themselves there's a chance they can catch the disease in that way  it's very very very unlikely to be a fatal disease unlike some of our other  nasty viruses but it's highly contagious and when an animal has canine cough in  it and alone a contagious cough then it's it's quite violent so what happens  is is they cough and cough and cough and cough and cough and cough and cough and  they don't really stop they cough and cough any sort of pressure on their on their  windpipe any sort of thing on their leave touching eating drinking anything  that irritates their throat they coughing the coughing take off the  neck off and so they go from not coughing it all to suddenly coughing  almost all the time and those dogs often have an infection the thing is we  vaccinate against canine cough it's one of the things we can vaccinate against  but respiratory vaccines just like in people they're not perfect and because  there's lots of different bugs that can cause these canine cough this canine  cough group that the vaccines don't always work 100% but if your dog is  vaccinated against the two bugs we vaccinate against which is parainfluenza  and Bordetella then if they do catch canine cough they generally don't get as  bad symptoms so they don't cough as much and it doesn't last as long they're able  to get over it a bit more quickly that's why vaccination is too important even if  you don't go to kennels but you go anywhere where lots of dogs congregate  because they can transmit it so that's a that's an infectious cough that's a  cough that happens something so young dog old dog doesn't matter totally  normal in something starts coughing off and they go off their food as well  they're pretty unhappy and so those dogs obviously need to be seen at the vet  clinic they need to be looked at they may need medication and they need to be  checked out and don't ever be offended if you ring up and say that your dogs  coughing in our clinic our nurses will ask you to stay in the car park until  your consult is ready to be done so that we're not bringing potentially  infectious animals into our waiting room because that's the last thing we want to  do and either the vet will come out to the car park and see your pet in the car  park or in the car and then decide whether they're able to come into the  clinic or not, or we'll see them outside so that we're not transmitting the bugs  around into our clinic as well or to any other animals that are in hospital  because obviously we also need to protect our animals that are in the clinic  actually in the hospital the sick ones as well so don't never be offended if  that's the case it's just with coughing our receptionists are trained to keep those  animals out of the practice so that's a sudden cough feeling unwell often young  animals out and about or if they're not vaccinated against canine cough. Do we  have a question? We have a question no problem if I have a cold can my dog  catch it? very very unlikely cold viruses can to be very very species specific  it's a great question and we get asked it all the time but they're generally  fairly species specific so it's unlikely if it's a contagious cough or a  contagious thing like a cold in a human being then it's very very rare with that  transmitted between species but I guess you can say never say never because  that's how some cold viruses are transmitted from birds to people and all  that sort of stuff but yeah I've never even heard of it happening with a dog  and a human being so it's a great question that when lots of people ask it  all the time so but highly contagious within all species that canine cough  group so within dogs very very contagious  so the other forms of cough we've turned to worry about so dogs coffee every now  and then naturally like to us we have a bit of a cough to get over it that's  nothing to worry about but if you're really icing that you're hearing your  dog cough fairly consistently that means every day or every couple of days you're  hearing in a copy of coughing episode then that probably means that's not  normal if you have a young dog that's coughing like that that's definitely not  normal if you have an older dog then we start to worry about other causes of  coughing so we have some chronic forms of coughing which are allergic type coughs  which is called allergic bronchitis and that can have  all the dogs and it tends to be a dry cough that tends to happen during the  day or when again when they're drinking water or eating and they start to cough  at sort of intermittent times during the day less likely to be having coughing at  night it tends to be a daytime cough but it can't they sometimes can cough at  night in the older dogs that are over their age of eight or nine with coughing  we start to get very concerned about other diseases like heart disease or  heart failure coughing from heart failure we tend to see as a night time  cough so it's that sort of quiet sort of you know gentle cough that's more fluidy  sounding and it tends to happen overnight, don't laugh at me Emily! I'll  start doing some other demonstrations of cooughing do you want me to yeah I'll get there so  it tends to be a nighttime cough or what we call exercise intolerance coughing so  it's when they're excited they coughed when they get excited and their heart  rates go high or they cough when they've been running or exercising and their  heart rates gone up because of that so that denser when we start to worry about  heart disease or heart failure so that again should have a checkup  we also see some nasty coughs in little dogs that can have what we call a  collapsing trachea so the trachea is your windpipe so it goes down from your  throat down into your lungs and we have a few different breeds of dogs  particularly smaller dogs that can have this problem alot of collapsing trachea  it can either be the initial or primary cause of the problem or it can happen  after chronic coughing has happened for a long period of time and that's where  we start to worry about dogs that are coughing for a long period of time  because they can lead to other problems so I can start with one problem change  to something else and that's what a goose honk off and Emily's going to  laugh even louder at the moment because I'm going to try  and demonstrate it but it seriously it has a very particular sound and it's a  real huh sort of sound it's got the vocalization with it so it sounds we  call it a goose honk off and if you're hearing that sound in your pet then  again it's a really important thing to be checked out but because chronic cough  actually leads to cough so if your dog costs for a long period of time no  matter what the cause are no it was often we can never get rid of that cough  completely because of the damage that's been caused by the coughing that's  happened before him so I guess the take home message today is if you're hearing  coughing then probably have a checkup it's not normal it may be something we  can either treat and cure like a like a I'm ok I'm cough that's gonna go away  completely or it may be something that we need to work out a form of control to  help it prevent causing more problems in the future or it could be heart failure  which we really need to get on top of and we can prolong life dramatically  with medications and things even without early on many many cases  so that's coughing in dogs coughing in cats as I said coughing is very rare in  cats if cats are coughing there is generally an underlying disease they  also have allergic bronchitis it used to be called feline asthma so cats that  allergic form of bronchitis is actually probably the most common cause of  coughing people often think coughing is furball it's something that I get told  every all the time you know he's just got a furball coughing actually isn't  furball if you've got a furball and they're trying to vomit it up then now  gag they'll do that and bring up a furball  if they're coughing that is not a firm or coughing comes from the respiratory  system not from the stomach so if your dog if your cat is actually coughing  then that's not that's not furball that is something else going on so if they're  coughing it's very abnormal cats get less coughing from heart disease not  really a problem with coughing in cats heart disease causes other problems they  get fluid around their lung so we get breathing problems rather than  coughing problems so bronchitis is the most common we can also get some lung  lung roaming cats in in Sydney and around these areas so that can cause  coughing as well so if you're seeing coffee in a cat then it's really  important that they get checked out because there is generally something  going on it's not just something that they do every now then you know dogs  sometimes they too quickly or they drink too quickly and they'll have a bit of a  cough we don't worry about that so much being cats pretty rare for it to be a  normal thing to happen so that's all about coughing today I hope that's been  helpful and if you think of anything you want me to talk about send us a message  on Facebook or if you have any questions about coughing give us a call or a message  on Facebook thanks see you later 

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