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My dog has a cough but it is not coming from the back of her throat. I've heard of a cat coughing up the hairball but is it possible that a dog coughs up fur or wool? Can I treat it myself or should I take her to the vet?
Yes, there is. You need to find a vet who is willing to do a chest x-ray, and is willing to do a lung biopsy and take biopsies of both lungs (which will show which organ is infected, and/or inflammation in it). They'll need to send the slides and biopsy tissue to the pathologist.
The pathologist will need to do a differential diagnosis on your dog to make sure that it is pneumonia and not the flu. It might take several weeks.
It's important to find a vet who has expertise in these kinds of things. It's also important that you do not attempt to do these tests yourself without proper training and proper equipment. (The biopsy needle is very sharp and it's not something you want in your dog's lungs).
Not all coughs are caused by lung issues. A coughing spell can be a sign of other things, including sinus infection, bladder issues, or a mouth/throat condition.
This can be a tough call to make, but if it has been present for a while and it is ongoing and seems unrelated to any other ailment that you are aware of then it might be worth getting it checked out. Your vet would be able to give you good information on the symptoms and things you need to be concerned about before you make a decision.
I'm a big fan of Dr Gregory Boyle. I have heard him speak on numerous occasions. You need to consult with a board-certified veterinary internist who specialises in internal medicine. He will perform a more thorough physical exam to rule out other possibilities, but he will likely recommend x-rays, blood tests, and an EKG. It is important that you find a board-certified vet with a specialty in internal medicine. These things should not be performed by a general practice or veterinary practitioner.
What he will do is look at your dog, make sure that it doesn't seem in distress, and then he will ask a series of questions. He will take a look at the cough. He will look at your dog's head, nose, eyes, ears, and teeth. He will examine your dog's paws and abdomen. He will ask about your dog's age, weight, and diet. He will ask if there are any other medications your dog is taking. He will evaluate your dog's overall condition and his disposition. He will be able to provide the necessary medical tests if that is what you are considering.
This is what I did, it's worth doing because I found that if I was to be concerned about it, a specialist would likely be more thorough.
Coughing is caused by infection, the symptoms could be related to respiratory issues (tracheitis, bronchitis, pneumonia) or could just be an inflammation of the lungs due to an upper respiratory infection (URI)
You should take your dog in to the vet and see if they could figure it out by listening to your dog, he might have already figured it out himself.
If you dog coughs and/or sneezes constantly without any apparent reason, it might not be related to this, but I'd mention it to your vet anyway.
Your dog's temperature should be taken and your vet might want to have your dog feel for heat at the ears and base of the tail, there is a higher chance of it being due to upper respiratory tract infection.
Also if you dog is thin or seems to be anemic, that might also point to respiratory issues.
If your dog is not showing any other symptoms, then the vet should be able to figure it out.
If you dog is coughing or sneezing after eating, then the vet might want to check your dog's stomach, but if it is just a URI, it should settle down within an hour or so.
But if your dog is coughing during the night, or has had it for more than one night, then you should take him to the vet.
As to how to proceed, you'd want to speak to your vet as to what tests to perform.
I would definitely mention it to the vet as well because if your dog is coughing or sneezing, it can be a sign of a respiratory disease that is worth checking out.
I found on a forum a couple of days ago, that the vet may just want your dog to cough a little to release the air from his lungs, and to be given a decongestant to make him breathe better.
If your dog doesn't cough, then you'll have to get your vet to prescribe you an anti-viral, which you should start on your dog at the very least, if not as soon as you've noticed your dog is coughing.
I'm not sure which forum I was on, so I cannot provide a link, but I found this advice on a forum where the poster had been sick with it himself a few months back.
It would be best to talk to your vet about what he recommends you do.
If it is what is called "coughing flu", then the vet will be able to prescribe you an anti-viral that you give to your dog.
You should start on your dog as soon as you see him coughing. That way the anti-viral has more time to work in his body, so that it does a better job of fighting the disease. It is also best to keep your dog on anti-viral drugs, as the flu is usually more serious than your normal cold, or "sinusitis" if you will.
It will still be very important to take your dog to your vet if he is coughing and you're not sure if it's something that your vet can just treat.