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Thread: Coughing

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  1. #1
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    Default Coughing

    Riley has started coughing and I'm not sure why. She had a terrible staph rash on her back and the dermatologist started her on an antibiotic. At the same time her neurologist wanted to wean her prednisone down from 2.5 mg/day to 1 mg/day because he thought that the rash could have been a side effect from a weakened immune system from her being on steroids for SM for 4+ years. She developed the cough, non-productive, about 3 days after she started the antibiotics. I called the dermatologist who said that she had never heard of that kind of side effect from the antibiotic she was on (sorry I can't remember what it was). After a week of coughing, I took Riley in to my regular vet who took chest x-rays which were perfectly normal - both heart and lungs. She also said her heart sounded fine. She suggested waiting until her 3 week course of antibiotics was finished and if she was still coughing, then bring her to the cardiologist.

    Now she is 2 weeks off antibiotics and her coughing has decreased dramatically, but is still there. Some days she doesn't cough at all and sometimes she'll go 2-4 days without coughing. I actually had a cardio appt for her last Monday and cancelled because she hadn't coughed for 4 days, but now she's coughing again. So my question is, should I reschedule the cardio appt or could this be a reaction to being weaned off the higher dose of prednisone? She's never had this kind of reaction before when weaned from a higher dose so I doubt that's the cause. She's acting very normal otherwise, energy level, eating, no trouble breathing, etc. What would you all recommend?
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

  2. #2
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    Sorry Riley is having problems. How is she today? Given her age and medical history, I think I would go ahead and get her checked out by a cardiologist so that you will be able to see if that is the problem or rule it out. I really hate that our babies can't talk and let us know what they are feeling so we can help them better.
    Joyce - Proudly owned & loved by

    BellaMia (Aug. 30, 2012) My Beautiful Red Headed Baby Girl
    Sydney (
    April 16, 2000~April 4, 2012) Always and Forever In My Heart

  3. #3
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    Thanks Joyce. Today she's barely coughed and last night not at all. I think I'll take your advice and just get her checked out. Can't hurt anything and this way I'll know for sure. She had a cardio check two years ago and no murmur, but with these dogs you never know.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

  4. #4
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    Bev,

    How is the coughing situation? I think it's highly unlikely that this is related to cardiac disease given what you've described. The only thing that occurs to me is that Riley might have some airway disease or COPD (would not be uncommon for a dog of her age, and vets often call this "old dog lungs") that the prednisone was controlling, and the coughing was the result of the lowered dose. Prednisone is often used to control airway inflammation. COPD = chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

    Let us know how she is doing.

    Pat
    Pat B
    Atlanta, GA

  5. #5
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    Another thought - I don't understand the rationale of lowering the dose to 1 mg per day..........why isn't the neurologist trying for every other day dosage at a higher dose? That is the protocol to avoid side effects of prednisone while maintaining effectiveness.

    Pat
    Pat B
    Atlanta, GA

  6. #6
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    Thanks Pat. She still coughs periodically - most days in fact but not much. Nothing alarming. Most of the coughing is a dry hacking cough although sometimes it sounds like she's a cat coughing up a hairball. I had the same thought that it was related somehow to her lowered prednisone dose, but just wasn't sure how. I've never heard of "old dog lungs" but maybe this fits for her. Would it show up on an x-ray though? Is there anything that I should ask her regular vet to pay particular attention to?
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

  7. #7
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    Airway disease would show up on radiograph but it might be very subtle, esp. with mild disease so a GP vet may not see it. I don't think I'd be too worried at this point if it is not particularly bothering her. My 10 year old boy coughs some, esp. in the mornings. His is allergy-related, and you can see white phlegm in his throat if you look. I have the exact same problem, and Atlanta is a bad city for seasonal allergies. He and I sound the same on many mornings with the same phlegmy hacking - we should probably put a spittoon near the bed. He is heart clear and his heart and lungs are normal on x-ray. Hydroxyzine has been helpful for him. You may just want to keep a little diary so you can see if there is a pattern or if it is increasing.

    Pat
    Pat B
    Atlanta, GA

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