Coughing is a common problem encountered in veterinary medicine.
Dogs and cats of all ages of may present for coughing. Although coughing may be the only presenting problem there are often other accompanying signs including difficulty breathing, collapsing episodes, lethargy, and loss of appetite. The more common causes of coughing in in small animal medicine include heartworm disease, heart disease, bronchopneumonia, asthma, severe dental disease, and collapsing trachea.
Even though many causes of coughing are self-limiting and easily treated on an outpatient basis, an examination by your primary care veterinarian is always recommended. In many case of coughing, the clinical signs may rapidly progress and an emergency situation may result. After an examination with your primary care veterinarian additional diagnostics may be recommended. These may include chest radiographs, fecal tests, blood tests, electrocardiogram (EKG), and blood pressure measurements. Depending on the results of the initial diagnostics certain treatments may be started or additional diagnostics may be recommended. These may include bronchoscopy (endoscopic examination of the upper and lower airways), specialized blood tests, contrast studies, echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart), and fluoroscopy.
-Dr. Robert Runde