12 year old dog, coughing, refusing most food, please help

(7 Posts)
Worrieddogmum Mon 05-May-14 13:36:42

Please could someone give me some advice. Have name changed for this as I don't want the thread to follow me around.

My DM has a 12-year-old dog who is just the most delightful dog. She really is such a little love and is adored by the whole family. In recent weeks, she has had a periodic cough, sort of a hack which happens a few times until she is able to clear her throat. She has had this on sporadic occasions going back quite far, but we have attributed this to allergies, as we are positive she has a type of hayfever. This started around the same time this year as it has in previous years. She was refusing a lot of food, wouldn't eat biscuits and it was a battle to get much in the way of real food into her.

My DM took her dog to the vets two weeks ago and described the above situation. The vet thought that the refusing food problems may be down to a throat irritation and prescribed 75mg of Rimadyl to be taken once a day. The difference was almost immediate and my DM's dog began eating fairly normally again, ate a main meal and took treats. She was on the course of tablets for about a week and during that time she was back to normal, very little coughing (just what we would expect with the hayfever) and eating normally.

Three days after the course of tablets ended, she went back to how she was before starting them. Coughing became more frequent, refusing food again etc.

She has still wanted to go on walks and been happy to greet people when they have come in the house. She has not refused water and has been drinking from what we can tell quite normally. She has taken very small amounts of treats from your hand, and has also licked smooth food off fingers. She seems interested in food, but just won't take it.

Can anyone offer advice? From the small amount of googling I have been able to do, I have seen some dogs have been prescribed Rimadyl on a long term basis and wondering if a vet would be willing to do this? I know it's usually prescribed long term for arthritis (which we believe my DM's dog has) but the change in her was remarkable on it.

The vet listened to her heart and breathing and was happy about them both. We have had some concerns about her breathing patterns (seemed a little out of sync from normal but the vet didn't seem worried).

Frankly, we are really scared that we will lose her because of this. We don't want to see her suffering. At the moment she doesn't appear to be in pain (other than when she coughs which I imagine isn't exactly nice for her). If anyone has any advice, please feel free to offer it up, we would be very grateful. I will answer any questions people need to be able to help me, I just thought this had got long enough for now.

Thank you in advance for anything.

goldencity1 Mon 05-May-14 14:41:44

One of my old Goldies was on Rymadyl long term for joint troubles....
I think you need to go back to the vet as it sounds like the dog needs more help.

musicposy Mon 05-May-14 14:43:38

I would definitely go back to the vet and get further advice.
Our 12 yo dog has an intermittent cough which seems to come and go. The vets can't get to the bottom of it but antibiotics seem to help. Once again, heart and breathing are fine. We've had to conclude either a throat infection or bacteria from his teeth. As they get old their teeth can deteriorate and a lot of bacteria can make its way into their system. We've ruled out kennel cough and other common causes.
What is the dog fed on? Ours was virtually a goner on kibble. I don't think he would be here now if we'd continued to kibble feed him. I think the dryness irritated his throat. He's been good for years on tins (has had this on and off since 7 or 8) but the last couple of years has been on raw and that seems even better.
I'm not a vet so certainly wouldn't say is the same for your dog but thought you would like to be reassured that ours has had a sometimes terrible cough for some years now and is in all other respects fit and healthy and excellent for his age. We do give him antibiotics if it gets bad so I would definitely go back to the vet because you ought to rule anything serious out if nothing else. Vet has drawn a bit of a blank worth us as all tests have come back negative but thinks the teeth thing makes most sense. We ought to really have them removed but I am too scared to put an otherwise healthy happy dog who has reached his life expectancy under anaesthetic only to find it changes nothing - his teeth are discolored but otherwise ok.

Worrieddogmum Mon 05-May-14 15:39:33

Thank you so much for the responses. Very kind of you to take the time to reply.

It's interesting that you mentioned teeth, musicposy. The vet did say that her teeth weren't the best. I theorised that myself, perhaps the teeth were causing an element of the problem, or at least certainly not helping things.

She really is interested in food, you can tell. Her ears perk up when you mention biscuits etc and she willingly goes to food and sniffs it, she just won't eat/swallow it.

She will not eat kibble. Mainly chicken and rice, that kind of thing.

landrover Wed 07-May-14 23:27:44

I would also look at fluid build up around the heart xx

beachyhead Wed 07-May-14 23:31:51

I second what landrover says. We have a dog, where the heart problem was noticed by his cough.

NickiFury Wed 07-May-14 23:34:50

My schnauzer has a hurt murmur and a cough may be symptomatic of that, whenever we go to the vet even when it's for something unrelated they listen to his heart ask if his coughing has increased.

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