Ask the Veterinarian/Cough


My 10 year old dog, Buddy, suddenly (last night) developed a cough that is triggered by activity. As soon as he settles down, the coughing stops. When I adopted him from a shelter 8 years ago, he had kennel cough, and this appears to be very different from what I recall. It reminds me a bit of when my children had asthma attacks. A couple times it led to an appearance of vomiting but nothing came up. Feeding routine: I moisten Buddy's dry food with hot water, let it sit to absorb the liquid and cool, and then stir in a heaping spoonful of low-fat yogurt. However, I was out most of yesterday, and my daughter fed him his evening meal. She did not moisten the food. Buddy is up to date on his vaccinations. Also, my daughter recently adopted a dog from a shelter, and Buddy was in contact with him a week ago. The other dog has no symptoms of kennel cough.

One simple question: Is Buddy on Heartworm prevention?
IF the answer is yes, when was he last tested?
If the answer is no, then he needs to see your vet right away and be tested for heartworms.

It's very possible that Buddy has a scratchy throat from eating the food dry but unlikely. If his coughing persists he really needs to see the vet. At 10 years of age, this could be anything from his heart, to a lung issue. IF there are smokers in the house, even if they smoke outside, your pets are 65% more likely to develop lung diseases including lung cancer.

Kennel cough doesn't always show up right away and the new dog could very well have been a carrier of it. Buddy might be coming down with it anyway- especially if he hasn't been vaccinated for it over the last year or so.

Your best bet for Buddy is to take him in to be seen and heartworm tested. Even dogs that are on it yearly have been coming down with it due to resistance in some cases.

So call the vet tomorrow and make him an appointment.  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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