Q. My C. K. Charles has an asmathic cough. Ok most of the day, but worse in hotter rooms in the evening. What's wrong?
JESSICA L DESROSIERS
A. Coughing in dogs can be caused by a number of things including allergies, asthma, illness such as Bordetella (kennel cough) or even lung and heart problems.
Allergies and asthma can cause a dog to have a raspy cough, and they may wheeze, sneeze or have running noses or trouble breathing when active or in an area where the allergen is present. Your vet can determine if an allergy or asthma is present and provide medication as needed to help with symptoms.
Bordetella can also cause a deep hacking cough, and is common in dogs that frequent doggy day cares, kennels or dog parks. The causes can be bacterial or viral, and treatment depends on if any secondary symptoms such as fever or dehydration is present. Treatment involves cough suppressants from your vet, or even antibiotics and fluids to treat secondary illnesses. Other illnesses such as heartworm may cause a chronic cough and exercise intolerance and should be looked for if your dog is not already on a heartworm preventive.
Small dogs are also prone to a condition called collapsing tracheas, and Cavaliers are very prone as a breed to heart and lung issues. Collapsing tracheae often cause a gasping or hacking cough when excited or active, and may require treatment if they become problematic. Heart and lung problems such as heart failure or genetic abnormalities can also cause coughing as a sign of the illness. Your vet can perform a complete exam to check the health of the lungs and heart.