Veterinarian - Melbourne
1029 Sarno Road
Melbourne, FL 32935
(321) 254-1754

OVERVIEW

  • A sudden, forceful exhaling action (expiration) of air through the airway opening (glottis) of the voice box, preceded by an exaggerated effort to inhale (inspiration) and usually accompanied by an audible sound

SIGNALMENT/DESCRIPTION of ANIMAL

  • Dogs and cats of all ages and breeds

SIGNS/OBSERVED CHANGES in the ANIMAL

  • Cough
  • Collapse
  • Vomiting or retching

CAUSES

Cough is a sign that results from many conditions. These include diseases or abnormalities in the upper airway (respiratory tract) consisting of the nose and throat (known as the “nasopharyngeal” area), the voice box (larynx), and the windpipe (trachea). The lower respiratory tract consists of the lungs and related tissues (such as the bronchi). In addition, problems involving the lungs and the blood vessels in the lungs (pulmonary/vascular disease) can lead to coughing as can problems in the esophagus and lining of the chest.

Upper Respiratory Tract Diseases

  • Nasopharyngeal area (nose and throat)—inflammation of the nose (rhinitis); inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis); foreign body or tumor in the nose or throat; inflammation of the tonsils (tonsillitis); tumor of the tonsils—due to extension of inflammation and/or secretions into the throat and/or voice box
  • Larynx (voice box)—inflammation; foreign body; trauma; tumors
  • Trachea (windpipe)—inflammation (tracheitis); infections (viral, bacterial, and parasitic); foreign body; collapse of the windpipe (tracheal collapse); tumor
  • Lower Respiratory Tract Diseases
  • Bronchial—inflammation; infection (viral, bacterial, and parasitic); allergy; foreign body; tumors or cancer
  • Pulmonary (lung)—inflammation; infection (viral, bacterial, and fungal); aspiration pneumonia; fluid build-up in the lungs (pulmonary edema); cancer (may originate in the lungs [primary cancer] or have spread into the lungs [metastatic cancer])
  • Pulmonary/vascular (lung/blood vessels)—heartworm disease; blood clots in the lungs (thrombosis or embolism); congestive heart failure (CHF); high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension); heart tumors

Other Diseases

  • Esophagus—inflammation; foreign body; tumor
  • Diseases of the lining of the chest (pleural diseases) pressing the airways/lung tissue together (airway compression)—inflammation; infection (bacterial and fungal); hernia; tumor

RISK FACTORS

  • Congenital (present at birth) and acquired (develop later in life/after birth) disorders of the esophagus, stomach, and upper gastrointestinal tract may lead to aspiration pneumonia
  • Excessive levels of steroids produced by the adrenal glands (disease known as “hyperadrenocorticism” or “Cushing’s disease”) or chronic administration of steroids in treating various disease conditions—may increase incidence of blood clots to the lungs (pulmonary thromboembolism) and may decrease resistance to respiratory infections
  • Certain inherited heart disorders—increases risk of fluid build-up in the lungs (pulmonary edema) secondary to congestive heart failure
  • Environmental factors—exposure to certain viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases; exposure to infected animals; exposure of dogs or cats to mosquitoes (when effective heartworm preventive medication has not been administered at all or routinely to the dog or cat)

TREATMENT

HEALTH CARE

  • Outpatient—unless congestive heart failure is diagnosed, oxygen therapy is required, or marked alteration in breathing ability or coughing up/spitting up blood (hemoptysis) is observed
  • Wide variety of conditions can be responsible for cough, and a fairly extensive workup may be required to define and treat the underlying cause