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Coughing and sneezing dog.

Species: Dog
Breed: teacup yorkie
Age: Less than 3 mon
I have a three month old teacup Yorkie. He had a check up last week and got his rabies shot. He got a clean bill of health. I told the doctor he was making a sneezing/coughing noise every once and while. She told me to watch him, and to watch if there is any discharge. Over the last week it has gotten worse. He is sneezing and coughing almost every hour, but no discharge. It sounds like he is congested. He is still very active and playing with his toys, eating, drinking water, and having solid poops. Do I need to worry? What could it be?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

There are a few things that could cause sneezing and congestion in a young dog like this. The most common are respiratory viruses.

The most common respiratory virus that we see is Kennel Cough. Your dog doesn't have to have been in a kennel to get it. It's spread quite easily through the air. Some dogs with kennel cough will be sicker than others. Some will be coughing non-stop and sound like there is something stuck in the throat. Others will just have a period cough and be stuffed up.

If this is kennel cough, then many dogs will get better on their own. It can take a few days to weeks to get better. I usually recommend a vet visit if you are seeing:
-a green discharge from the eyes or nose
-he is lethargic
-he doesn't want to eat
-the cough is annoying to either you or the dog

If this is kennel cough then your vet can prescribe a cough suppressant. Some dogs with kennel cough go on to get a secondary bacterial infection in which case we will prescribe antibiotics.

Another viral possibility is distemper. In my area, distemper is quite uncommon, but more and more areas are starting to see distemper now. If he has had regular puppy vaccines then he is likely vaccinated against distemper and it's very unlikely that he has this disease. Dogs with distemper tend to get really sick and often the disease is fatal. But again, this really doesn't sound like distemper.

There are other possibilities that are less likely such as lungworm or even roundworms. Even though roundworms are intestinal parasites they will go through a stage where they can affect the lungs. They shouldn't cause sneezing though.

A foreign object up the nose could do this as well...but would be less likely to cause coughing.

If he seems like he is happy and alert then it's likely ok to wait a day or two before going back to the vet. But if you see the above symptoms or if your gut is just telling you that something is wrong, then it's best to have your vet see him again.

Hope all is well!

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Hi Dr. Marie,

Thank you for your response. He is super active and his energy is high. There is no discharge. However, when I called the vet to see if they had night hours, I was sent to a pet hospital. I told the lady that answered about the cough and sneeze, and she said it may be pneumonia. Also, he is a little warmer than usual. Can dogs get pneumonia?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Pneumonia is usually secondary to something else in dogs. So, if there was a respiratory virus (such as kennel cough) then it can get worse and worse and cause a secondary pneumonia. However, dogs with pneumonia are super sick and don't want to eat. So, no, this really doesn't sound like pneumonia at all!

Feel free to reply again, but just so you know I am heading offline now as it's bedtime for me. :)

I'll check in on your question in the morning.

Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.