Puppy constantly gagging.. kennel cough? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Puppy constantly gagging.. kennel cough?


My puppy is about five months old. Since she was around four months, I keep hearing her gag more and more. It sounds like she's clearing her throat but also gagging at the same time. She is perfectly fine, she has an appetite, high energy and poops look normal.

She does eat and get into everything! She eats anything off the floor, even her own fluff. Is this something that sounds like kennel cough? I don't hear a honking noise and she doesn't have nasal discharge that is different colored. Which is why I haven't taken her to the vet. Is this normal?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 10:19 PM
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Make the trip to the vet if it's been going on so long and increasing. What ever the problem is - it's something that needs treatment. Your bud needs help. A month is a long time to wait to have a vet look at a problem. Secondary problems can develop.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 10:48 PM
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No, it's not normal.

The vet can easily determine if it's kennel cough, but that wouldn't be persisting for several weeks -- she'd likely already be recovered.

Is she on heartworm prevention? Some areas of California have pretty high infection rates. Heartworm infected dogs make that gagging sound (like they're trying to clear a hairball). She's too young to test, so the HW test would be a waste of money -- dogs her age always test negative, but it can sometimes be a false negative (they're not too young to be infected--the antigen test just isn't reliable til they are between 6 mo. and 1 year old, as it only detects adult female heartworms, and the worms have to be 6-7 mo. old to reach maturity and show up on the test...at an earlier stage of infection, the juvenile worms are in there, but undetectable). Ask your vet what the clinical rate of HW infection is that he or she is seeing -- if it's zero, I wouldn't be concerned, but if it's showing up in the clinic, I would.

If she's not on HW prevention yet, I'd ask the vet to consider putting her on monthly Advantage Multi, as it appears to probably have the longest reach-back of any HW prevention product on the market -- a 2014 study in Veterinary Parasitology (vol. 206, issues 1-2, 15 Nov. 2014, pp. 93-98) found keeping dogs on monthly Advantage Multi (plus Doxy) could kill immature adult worms 5 months after infection, so your dog is in the zone that it could help, if she's not already on HW prevention. She needs to be on some kind of prevention anyway, and if you are late getting started, this at least will help ensure she tests negative at your 1-year annual check up.

You might even share this article with your vet, if he or she is unfamiliar with the new research:
Experimental Dirofilaria immitis infection in dogs: Effects of doxycycline and Advantage Multi® administration on immature adult parasites

Last thing to check, does your pup ever regurgitate undigested food?

Last edited by Magwart; 11-24-2015 at 10:53 PM.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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She been on trifexis every month... I'm not sure.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-25-2015, 12:04 AM
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Good. That should keep her HW neg if it was started when she was little.

There's got to be something else irritating her -- I'd definitely have the vet look. It could even be something weird like a piece of twig lodged in her mouth.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-25-2015, 09:34 AM
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Did you check her mouth throat to see if there is something down there. If she swallows hair and such i can see her gagging. A vet would be able to get a good look. BecAreful she doesnt swallow things like socks,booties or anything that can stuck in her intestines.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-25-2015, 10:38 AM
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My sheltie has a collapsed trachea; what you described happening with your puppy sounds very similar to what he goes through. My husband says he sounds like he's hacking up the world's largest hairball, then one final 'GAACK!' and he's perfectly calm.

I'm just tossing that idea out there, though I was told by my vet that this is a disorder that is mostly found in smaller breeds than a GSD.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-02-2016, 05:43 PM
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Coughing *can* be a side effect of trifexis: Trifexis (Spinosad plus Milbemycin oxime) - Pet, Dog and Cat Medication and Prescription List | petMD

Truthfully, with the number of dogs Trifexis has made ill, and thought to have killed, I wouldn't use it at all. Studies in europe have shown that the more it's used, the longer the half-life is, though the study I read wasn't long enough to show if it leveled off.

Also be sure there aren't any roundworms, or indigestion from the food, both can cause weird coughing and gagging.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-02-2016, 05:45 PM
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That canine flu is making its rounds around here again and it has similar symptoms to kennel cough.

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