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Scott--Dog question for a friend

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Scott--Dog question for a friend
By Cat on Friday, November 21, 2008 - 12:50 pm:

I got this email from a friend. I'd asked her an unrelated question about our dogs and this was her response.

Don't know. . but she's doing something really weird. . I keep wondering if she'll still be alive when i go check on her. She had the coughing spell yesterday at lunch and then started shaking really bad and leaning close to the floor like she was going to throw up. When I called her to get her outside before she lost it. . she tried to run to me but couldn't stay on her feet. . just kept falling over . . like she was extremely drunk. Within 30 min she was able to walk again, but didn't stop shaking for a couple hours. Then she was normal the rest of the day.
Then last night we had her downstairs while we were at C****'s concert. When we got home the kids came running out to me saying that she had fainted and fallen down the stairs! What the h*** is going on?

Roxy (her dog) is a 6-8yo pug mix that they got from the pound about a year ago. I told her is sounded like she was having either strokes or seizures and suggested she call her vet (which I'm sure you're going to suggest, too). Any thoughts?

Edited to add: I got this in a follow up email.

I called right when it was happening the first time and they just thought that she had either not gotten enough blood flow or oxygen to the brain and could have either been caused by the reverse cough or by trying not to throw up. I guess they figured she was really dizzy as a result. In fact they said that dogs can sometimes make themselves pass out that way. But then it happened again and that makes me think it's something more serious. She has an appointment tomorrow at 8. . . if she makes it that long.

By Ginny~moderator on Friday, November 21, 2008 - 01:18 pm:

I'll alert Scott. But yes, he will definitely say take the dog to the vet.

By Cat on Friday, November 21, 2008 - 01:29 pm:

Thanx, Ginny. I'm not sure why she didn't try and get her in today. Probably didn't want to take a bunch of kids with her (she's a child care provider, too) and her dh is deployed. The vets around here are usually really good about getting people in at the last minute. That's the good thing about small towns (although, we're not so small anymore, but still have that small town feel :) ).

By Scott on Friday, November 21, 2008 - 05:24 pm:


Here are some differentials:

. heartworm infection
. respiratory disease (tracheal collapse comes to mind...)
. neuropathy, possibly related to vascular issue
. toxicosis
. dysphagia or upper GI issue

But! No diagnosis without exam.

By Cat on Friday, November 21, 2008 - 07:15 pm:

Thanx, Scott. Like the post above says, she's got an appointment at 8 tomorrow morning. I got to see her for a few minutes this afternoon and she's doing okay today. My friend said no problems at all since falling down the stairs last night. I'll let you know what the vet says. Thanx again. :)

By Cat on Saturday, November 22, 2008 - 06:03 pm:

UPDATE: My friend said the vet told her Roxie has a soft larynx and it's prone to collapsing? She said sometimes they get excited and it causes it collapse and they should just try and calm her down when she gets so excited, or coughs a lot. She also said it looked like there was an infection in the larynx that could be exasperating the problem and prescribed antibiotics. My friend did say Roxie hasn't done anything like it since. Hopefully she'll be okay. Thanx again, Scott--aka our resident animal expert. :)

By Dawnk777 on Saturday, November 22, 2008 - 07:15 pm:

I hope the antibiotics help.

By Emily7 on Saturday, November 22, 2008 - 10:16 pm:

The vet said the same thing about my beagle, but he hasn't had an episode like you described above. He wheezes, drools and you can see the panic in his eyes. It sounds horrible when he does it.
I just hold him and kind of rub his throat, telling him that it will be okay. He can go a week or so without doing it and then sometimes it seems like he does it every day.

By Scott on Sunday, November 23, 2008 - 05:00 pm:

Mm hm. * nods knowingly * Not quite tracheal collapse, but in the same neck (pun fully intended) of the woods. Here's how it works, in case you were wondering:

(You might want to grab a pen and pad. This jUsT MiGhT be on the final.)

The trachea and larynx are soft tissue held rigidly in place by cartilaginous structures. Without those cartilaginous structures, the airways would collapse, making breathing quite difficult. In some animals, the cartilage is very thin or weak, or may have been bent or broken as a result of injury. This can cause a collapse occlusion of the airway, which would cause coughing and what appears to be gagging or choking.

Usually, this is self-limiting. The dog breathes hard, the airway collapses, the dog flops out and the airways reinflate. Eventually, most dogs figure out that they have to limit their activity so they don't start panting.

It's entirely possible that your dog has been living with this issue for a while, but it was exacerbated by the infection. I do know that some severe cases of this disorder are fixed by surgically placing stents in the weak (i.e. non-rigid) areas of the airway.

Keep me posted. I'd like to track this case.

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