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What Are the Causes of My Dog’s Cough-Like Spasms?


Dear VetBabble: What’s Causing My Dog’s Cough-Like Spasms?

Twice now, my dog has experienced a cough-like spasm. He has a series of heaves while crouching low but doesn’t fall over or lose consciousness. He just seems frozen. Could this be a reverse sneeze or should I be concerned? Are there any resources available to help me better understand these symptoms?

It Could Be a Reverse Sneeze, But Let’s Explore Further

It is possible that what your dog is experiencing is a reverse sneeze, a relatively common and usually harmless respiratory event in dogs. Reverse sneezing can sound quite dramatic, but it’s generally not a cause for alarm. To get a better idea of what a reverse sneeze sounds like, you can look up videos on YouTube for comparison.

However, it’s essential to consider other potential causes for your dog’s symptoms to ensure their health and wellbeing. In this article, we’ll discuss three common reasons for cough-like spasms in dogs: colds, coughing, and Bordetella infection.

Does My Dog Have a Cold?

Though human colds and dog colds aren’t the same, dogs can indeed suffer from respiratory infections. It’s possible that your dog’s cough-like spasms are symptomatic of a cold. You can find more information on this topic in our article: Does My Dog Have a Cold?

Typical signs of a canine cold include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and tiredness. If you suspect your dog has a cold, it’s best to consult your veterinarian for advice and possible treatment.

Could It Be Coughing?

Dog coughing can result from various factors, including infections, allergies, heart issues, or even the presence of a foreign body in the throat. You can learn more about the types, diagnoses, and treatment options for coughing in dogs in our comprehensive article: Coughing in Dogs: Types, Diagnoses and Treatment.

Given your dog appears frozen during these episodes, it’s crucial to speak with your veterinarian to rule out any serious underlying health conditions.

Bordetella: Kennel Cough in Dogs

Another possibility to consider is kennel cough, a respiratory illness caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacterium. Symptoms include a persistent, harsh cough that can last for several weeks and may be accompanied by gagging or retching. Bordetella is highly contagious, particularly in areas where dogs congregate, such as kennels or dog parks.

For in-depth information on kennel cough, as well as how to treat and prevent it, check out our article: Bordetella: How to Treat and Prevent Kennel Cough in Dogs.

When to See a Veterinarian

Although your dog’s symptoms may not be a cause for significant concern if they resemble a reverse sneeze, it’s essential to keep a close eye on their condition. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian if you notice any changes in your dog’s health or if these spasms continue or worsen.

While it may be helpful to examine videos and read articles to get an idea of what your dog may be experiencing, only a trained professional can provide a definitive diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

Lastly, if you have concerns about other health issues like seizures, take a look at our article on Seizures in Dogs to learn more about the signs, causes, and treatment options for seizures in dogs.

Remember, your veterinarian is your best resource for addressing any concerns and ensuring your dog’s wellbeing. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need guidance for your furry family member.

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