View Full Version : what is coughing?

3rd February 2009, 10:03 PM
had a quick search on the health forum and MVD information page, but although a symptom of MVD is coughing, what exactly is coughing?

Our wee guy Giles (9/10 months old now) has had a couple of what I think are coughing episodes.

The one that sticks in my mind the most is when I was taking him round the local glen with the pack of dogs from the training class. Giles absolutely loves all dogs and is always so sociable and excited to see everyone. This time though, the whole dog training club turned up as it was the xmas gathering. He was so overwhelmed he went into a fit of what I think is coughing...

He semi-squats down in his rear legs and hurls like he's going to throw up, but nothing ever comes out - a bit like choking/ gasping for air. this doesnt last very long - say 10-15 seconds.

He done it again tonight when i was making his dinner and not long in from work.
so does that sound like coughing?

It only seems to happen when hes out and excited about something.
He had a check up at vets not long ago and they checked his heart and gave it the all-clear, but am I better to go elsewhere?


3rd February 2009, 10:27 PM
I highly suspect you are describing reverse sneezing - often called "the Cavalier snort." This has to do with the airway closing because the dog's soft palate is too long for his short muzzle - hard to explain - but this is quite common when Cavaliers get excited. Stop it by pushing his muzzle toward the ground gently or you can cover his nostrils so that he has to breathe through his mouth, or similar. This causes a "honking" kind of sound like the dog is gasping for air - not a coughing sound. Search this site for "reverse sneeze" or "Cavalier snort."

This has nothing to do with the cough caused by congestive heart failure. That cough is exactly what a human cough sounds like - exactly what you would think a cough sounds like. Coughing isn't really a symptom of MVD per se - it's a symptom of when MVD evolves into congestive heart failure. The cough and shortness of breath have to do with pulmonary edema - fluid in the lungs - (sounds like a "wet" cough) or it can also occur if the heart is so enlarged that it compresses the mainstem bronchus (main airway). Absolutely no way that a 9-10 month old Cavalier would have CHF from MVD. (A dog of that age could perhaps have CHF from a congenital heart defect, but not from MVD which is a progressive disease.)

Pat Beman
Atlanta, GA

3rd February 2009, 10:31 PM
Thanks Pat - very informative. you know your stuff :thmbsup:

Love my Cavaliers
4th February 2009, 01:57 AM
I agree with Pat. Coughing is unmistakeable. Riley swallowed a cicada two summers ago and it irritated her throat. She spent about two to three days coughing. It just sounded like coughing rather than the reverse sneeze, which she also does occasionally. I don't think you need to be worried.

4th February 2009, 02:54 AM
Totally agree with Pat. Very unlikely a dog that young could have MVD symptoms like this as it is a progressive disease and coughing is the very advanced stages -- usually it would be years before you'd see something like that. So don't think you have anything to be worried about. :)

4th February 2009, 10:47 PM
thanks all.