Why does my parents' sheltie cough?

asked 2017-01-07 08:48:57 -0500

I've noticed my parents' 13-year-old sheltie will do one or two short coughs every now and then. I haven't noticed a puffy, swollen chest, and he's fairly healthy otherwise, and active (but a bit overweight). He's been to a vet, but she hasn't said anything about it.

I just flew in last night and notficed it. Dad said it doesn't happen often, but I've heard it twice in a 24 hour period. There's no heavy breathing or weakness involved, from what I can tell. They don't board him, either. They live in the Midwest, where the weather is 4 degrees currently. Can dry winter weather cause it?

I just worry about the dog because he's so beloved to all of us. I want him to live to be 20 like some shelties I've known. (Really!)

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answered 2017-01-07 09:50:26 -0500

Hey Sara! I did a bit of research, and there's many forums with senior sheltie parents sharing their responses to this same question. I would bring it to the vet's attention, if the dog only coughed a couple times in a 24hr period, odds are the vet might not have noticed the cough on examination, and it would be important for them to rule out any other issues. I also read about a medication called "Torbutrol", prescribed by a vet and given to dogs for a bad cough and it sounds like it's highly effective. However, it is a narcotic, opiod analgesic as well as anti-tussive (cough suppressant) and pretty expensive. I would weigh the pro's and con's of using a strong medication though, and would only use if you think the cough is affecting your sheltie's quality of life. Another response I saw was about the dogs being overweight, and how the overweight dogs had more issues with the coughing. Maybe you can suggest to your parents (with vet supervision) a doggy diet and see if losing a few pounds would relieve some pressure they might have on their lungs. Either way, getting them to a healthy weight is essential for a long, healthy life :) I hope this was helpful & good luck with your fur baby! -Summer

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Thank you!

Sara R.'s profile image Sara R.  ( 2017-01-07 17:07:02 -0500 ) edit

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