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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone
Since about Saturday maybe Sunday, Codi has developed this weird waking up cough. It seems to only happen after waking up from a nap, and maybe once when he was playing. It starts to wheeze in like he cant get enough air, acts like he has to throw up and then does a big hack like a cat with a hairball and then is fine. It takes about 7 seconds to go through all of this. He acts normal, plays like normal, eats like normal.

I'll probably take him to the vet, but because he isnt doing it very often and probably wont do it there it makes it difficult. I'm going to see about taping it and see if that helps.

If anyone has any suggestions/recommendations they would be much appreciated. Thanks for everything and I hope everyone has a great day!
 

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You should definately have your vet check to see if Codi's coughing may be the beginning of a collapsed trachea. Maltese are prone to it.

Collapsed Trachea

The trachea, also known as the windpipe, is an important structure which connects the throat to the lungs. It serves the purpose of directing air into the respiratory tract.
The normal trachea is tubular. It maintains its shape because of a series of rings made of cartilage. These rings do not completely encircle the trachea. Instead, they go from the 2 o'clock to 10 o'clock positions. The remainder of the trachea is composed of a flexible membrane that joins the ends of the cartilage rings.

When the cartilage rings are flattened from the top to the bottom, the trachea is said to be collapsed. Rapid inhalation of air can cause the trachea to flatten and make it difficult for air to enter the lungs.

Most "experts" do not completely understand how this condition develops. However, they know that these dogs have an abnormality in the chemical makeup of their tracheal rings. The rings lose their stiffness so they are not able to retain their circular shape. They also know that it occurs in certain breeds of dogs, notably Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Toy Poodles, Yorkies, and Maltese. Because of that, they suspect that there is a genetic factor involved.

The most common clinical sign is a chronic cough. It is often described as dry and harsh and can become quite pronounced. The term "goose honk" is often used to describe it. Coughing is often worse in the daytime and much less at night. The cough may also begin due to excitement, pressure on the trachea (from a leash), or from drinking water or eating.

How to distinguish reverse sneezing from collapsed trachea?

A chronic cough, especially a "goose honk," should be suspected as having collapsed trachea. Many times, very light pressure placed on the trachea during the physical examination can raise a suspicion of collapsed trachea in a dog with a persistent dry cough. While the information gained from the physical examination is helpful, other tests are needed to confirm this condition. If your dog breathes through her mouth sometimes or breathes with a raspy sound, this could also indicate a collapsed trachea.

Radiographs (x-rays) of the chest can identify the trachea and its shape. However, a collapsed trachea changes its diameter during the respiratory cycle. It is usually collapsed during inhalation and normal during exhalation. Therefore, an attempt to make radiographs during both phases of respiration in necessary. This can be rather difficult to accomplish since dogs are not likely to understand the command, "Take a deep breath and hold it."

Endoscopy is another way to evaluate the trachea. An endoscope is a tube that is small enough to insert into the trachea; the operator can see through it and visualize the inside of the trachea. By watching the trachea during inspiration and expiration, abnormal collapsing can be seen. Tracheal endoscopes are expensive and not available at every veterinary hospital, so unfortunately, it may require a bit of searching to find someone to perform this test.

Collapsed trachea can be treated medically or surgically. Some Maltese respond well to bronchodilators and various types of anti-inflammatory drugs. The trachea of these dogs is easily infected, so antibiotics are usually part of the treatment. If obesity is present, weight loss is often beneficial. Excitement and vigorous exercise are likely to cause a relapse, so they should be avoided as much as possible.

If medical therapy is not successful, the dog should be evaluated for possible surgery. Radiographs and endoscopy are used to determine how much of the trachea is collapsed. If the only abnormal part is that segment between the throat and the point where the trachea enters the chest (the thoracic inlet), surgery may be curative. However, if the segment of the trachea that is within the chest cavity is abnormal, surgery is not likely to be helpful because that part is not accessible to the surgeon.

There are several surgical approaches that have been used. Each approach implants an artificial support device that is secured around or within the trachea. The purpose of the support device is to hold the tracheal rings in their normal, open position. Although some dogs have excellent results and are truly cured of the disease, the outcome is usually not always successful.

Conservative treatment includes:

Keep your dog at a normal weight. Extra weight will only put more strain on her respiratory system.
Use a harness instead of a collar.
Cool mist humidifiers have shown to be helpful for dogs with this ailment.
Cough remedies, if the cough is really bad.
Nutritional supplements like Glucosamine have shown promise in helping to rebuild the weak connective tissue. This is a natural product with no side effects and is used in humans to treat arthritis.
 

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I'd have the vet check it out.. as marj stated it could be collapsed trachea or it could be heart problem.. or maybe a bronchea irritation from an allergen of some kind.
My thoughts have always been "better -safe-than-sorry". if it nothing.. great I then have peace of mind.
Let us know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I ended up taking Codi to the vet pretty much after I posted here because he had done his thing too many times for me to feel comfortable about it. So we went to the vet. But we had to go to a new vet because the other vet left for some reason, so I'm looking for a good vet but that's a different story.

So we're at the vets and of course Codi would not do his coughing thing at all no matter what we did. She said that his lungs and heart were all good. That it could be a virus that he picked up (which is possible because we have been going to obedience class and the park a lot recently...) or his trachea was collapsing as was previously brought up. She said that we could do an xray but the likelihood of it showing anything was very little. So we decided to just watch and see if his symptons get worse in the belief that it was a virus and it'll just run through and we'll treat with antibiotics as necessary. She said to watch his temperature, "eye gunk" (my word... lol) and just overall behavior.

So since we've been to the vet, Codi has only done this coughing thing a couple times... and not even when he's been excited. I might even have to say that its more constant in this one spot of the house and I'll have to pay closer attention, but is it possible to be an allergic reaction?

Like I said before, he is acting just fine. Eats normal, perhaps even more than normal, plays normal drinks normal goes to the bathroom normal. Everything normal except for this occasional cough thing.

Anyway, thank you all for your input. It's so nice to be able to come here and get help from so many people! This is my first experience with a venue like this and I just really apreciate how enjoyable everyone has made it! Thanks!! :D

If anyone has any recommendations/suggestions/ideas or anything I would love to hear it! Thanks again!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Last night was difficult. Codi and I were watching a movie in the living room, he was just sleeping and he started his coughing thing randomly. Did it several times in a row, and it was definitely sounding more like a goose honk. He calmed down and I tried to bring him back into my room so we could go to sleep where we always go to sleep but he wasnt having that. He kept getting up and sitting at the edge of the bed. I thought he had to go potty but after several attempts to go potty he still wouldnt stay in the bedroom. So we went back to the living room and that was it... he fell asleep and is still sleeping.

I guess I'm going to take him back to the vet after work. And I'll have to do a lot of research on collapsed tracheas. I'm assuming that with the goose honk that that's what it is now. I think I'll try to the research before the vet though because most of the time they just overwhelm me.

Well, thanks for everything. Wishing everyone the best of days.
 

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What I find really has helped me dealing with my vets and all Lady's health ailments is to write any questions down that I want to ask before. I also get my vet to write down names of diseases, etc, I am not familiar with so I can research them on the internet. I also request a copy whenever Lady has bloodwork, etc. so I can take it home and study it.

This is good to tuck into your home first aid kit:

http://www.bichonfriseusa.com/caninebloodwork.htm

It also helps to keep a journal when a diagnosis is difficult. I did that when Lady started having seizures so I could tell the vet exactly how often she was having them, how long they lasted, what she did during a seizure, etc. Its much more accurate than depending on your memory. I do it for Lady's diabetes, too. I bring my journal right along to my vet when Lady is having problems and she loves it! She says it really helps her help Lady.
 

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I don't want to alarm you any more than you already are, but with this new doggie flu going around I would have him checked over very good. Coughing is one of the symptoms. Please keep us informed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone for your concern and suggestions. Codi and I were at work all day until 7 and in that entire period he did not cough once. It wasn't until we got home and hung out in my room for a little while that he has done it a little bit... actually just once when I started typing. I am fortunate that where I work I am exposed to a lot of people and one who is actually becoming a vet. She has seen Codi at work a couple times, and was very nice to look over him today for me. She had said the same thing that the vet had said yesterday. I am watching him very carefully and will definitely look over that new flu article.

I am wondering if this coughing can be an allergic reaction? I don't know what to because nothing has changed in my room, but I will be taking notes like suggested.

I just wanted to say thanks again for everything.
 

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Next time he does it, gently cover both his nostrils with your fingers for a few seconds. See if that stops it. That's all the help I can give.

Sir N sometimes goes through periods where he does the honking cough. It is happening less and less often as he gets older. Now isn't THAT strange? Little C also does it now and then. She's more likely to go looking for me so I can cover her nose for her.

I think I read about hte cover the nose thing here.....but I'm not sure.

And, What on earth just happened? For months, all smilies were frozen. They have suddenly started dancing and wiggling around and they are making me carsick. There is too much wiggling going on to the left of my current input box.
 

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Originally posted by wizzyb@Sep 27 2005, 11:53 AM
Hey everyone
Since about Saturday maybe Sunday, Codi has developed this weird waking up cough. It seems to only happen after waking up from a nap, and maybe once when he was playing. It starts to wheeze in like he cant get enough air, acts like he has to throw up and then does a big hack like a cat with a hairball and then is fine. It takes about 7 seconds to go through all of this. He acts normal, plays like normal, eats like normal.

I'll probably take him to the vet, but  because he isnt doing it very often and probably wont do it there it makes it difficult. I'm going to see about taping it and see if that helps.

If anyone has any suggestions/recommendations they would be much appreciated. Thanks for everything and I hope everyone has a great day!
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Hi, interestingly enough Dixie started doing this too. last night my daughter brought her in b/c she wouldn't stop this hacking/coughing thing. She actually spit up the tiniest bit of stuff. She acted as if she had hair in her throat. Is that what Codie does? I read the article that was included in this thread refering to trechea problems and I think some might apply here. Some were definetly what Dixie does such as the hacking after drinking. Scary. I plan to schedule a visit to my vet too. Our pups are the same age. I don't know if that is relevent. Hope Codi improves. Share any info you collect with us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Codi's symptons have actually gone away. He has coughed twice since the last time I posted on Wednesday. I've been keeping a close eye on him and have noticed no differences. I'm lucky because I can take him to work with me, so I would know if he had been coughing or not.

I hope that Dixie is ok, and hopefully it will go away real quick. I know that when Codi was coughing, we had been having an extreme heat wave, and now that it has cooled down, he has stopped coughing. I wonder if the weather has anything to do with it.

This week, I'm making an appointment to get him neutered, (have had a lot of recommendations about this vet so we're looking into it this week), and so hopefully the bloodwork will be able to tell us something else.

Anyway, I hope Dixie gets well. Thank you for everyones concerns and suggestions. Have a great day!!! :D
 
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