One thing which both pet parents, as well as our pets, dread is the flu season; sneezing, coughing, and of course, having respiratory distress. Have you ever wondered, why exactly do we get sick? What exactly causes coughing? Coughing and sneezing are a very natural mechanisms to get the irritant out of our respiratory system, but sometimes the coughing and sneezing mechanisms are intertwined with the mechanism of our body to help get rid of pathogens!
Also, not every cough is related to flu. As there are many other reasons too.
Do not worry, through this blog let’s have a look at what goes behind the scenes- why my pet has a cough & cold and what can we do to help our pets.
WHAT IS COUGHING?
A cough, also medically termed as ‘tussis’, is a voluntary or involuntary act that clears the throat and respiratory or the breathing passage of foreign agents such as microbes, pollutants, irritants, fluids, and mucus. It is a rapid expulsion of air from the lungs, as a reflex action or deliberate action.
COUGHING & ITS IMPORTANCE
There are minute intricate systems that work hand in hand to help our bodies stay fit and fine. One such system is the physical barriers such as cilia/ hair/ etc which are present on the mucous membrane of the nose which helps prevent the pathogen from entering the body. On irritation of these, there is reflex sneeze which expels the pathogen out. However, this is just a tiny example of what our body is capable of doing! Let’s now understand what is coughing and its importance.
Cough helps and aids the body to get rid of pathogens [which causes diseases] by providing protection and also aids in clearing the airway [trachea-bronchial tree]
Fight against Pathogen
The coughing mechanism of our body is helpful in hinting at a probable infection. As the infection rises, there is more cough and cold as the body is trying to compensate and fight against the micro-organism. On the flip side, as the infection falls, or as the immunity builds, the cough and cold levels start dropping down, which again helps us to realize, that infection has been cured or minimized to a greater extent.
Coughing can transmit Pathogens
Coughing and sneezing although normal has the capability to transmit bacterias, viruses [that is if the root cause of coughing is indeed a disease-causing pathogen]. Although, normal sneeze and cough due to allergens [dust, dander, allergy-causing items] may not particularly pose a threat of transmitting any bacteria/viruses.
For example: If a Dog or a puppy has Kennel Cough disease. One of the most common culprits for kennel cough is a bacterium called Bordetella bronchiseptica, although the coughing could be triggered due to viruses as well such as Canine Adenovirus, Influenza Virus, and Parainfluenza Virus.
If a healthy dog comes in contact with a coughing dog that has been diagnosed with kennel cough, it’s pretty obvious that the healthy dog might get an infection. It’s important to note that to prevent this from happening, always routinely vaccinate your dogs against such viruses, so that immunity builds up and your dog has less chances of falling seriously ill.
Tip – A persistent cough during the evening or night hours indicates heart problems [Serious and life-threatening conditions such as pulmonary embolism or Congestive heart Failure] so it’s best to get your pet diagnosed at the earliest for any doubts about the cause of coughing/wheezing.
CAUSES OF COUGHING: BEHIND THE SCENES.
Let’s dive into the topic, why exactly coughing happens, what causes it and what goes wrong.
THROAT CLEARANCE: A NORMAL MECHANISM
Coughing is the main standard method of clearing the throat and trachea. What exactly happens is whenever your pet’s airways become clogged with mucus or foreign particles such as smoke or dust, the body tries to remove it out as quickly as possible through coughing. It is a reflex reaction that attempts to clear the particles from the tract to make breathing easier.
Usually, this type of coughing is relatively infrequent, however, coughing might continue to increase if the exposure to irritants such as smoke/dust is not removed at the earliest. It could be noticed that pets, whose owners are chronic cigarette smokers, can also end up coughing.
Allergy is caused due to abnormal response of the immune system. There is some trigger that initiates the ‘Anti-Foreign Body Mechanism’ inside the body. This ‘Anti-Foreign Body Mechanism’ is nothing but the immune system which works 24×7 throughout our life to protect the body from harmful substances.
Allergy Is such a condition where the body and its immune system exaggeratedly acts to a rather harmless environmental substance such as dust particles, or pollen, etc. these allergy-causing substances are referred to as allergens in medical terms. Yes, it’s possible that your pet might be allergic to certain foodstuffs as well, which might manifest differently. Coughing and sneezing is a very common manifestation of allergic reaction.
One of the causes of coughing could be asthma, which is typically related to allergens. However, asthmatic coughing involves wheezing, which makes it easy to identify. Asthma attacks in dogs are caused by an allergic reaction and often result in airway inflammation. It causes constriction and spasms of the small airways in the lungs. However, it’s not a frequent cause of coughing but it’s always better to get your pets diagnosed by a trained veterinarian who will suggest you the line of treatment for the same.
INFECTIONS: BACTERIAS, VIRUSES
Coughing can be caused by constant irritation of the airway tract by the disease-causing microorganisms, as well as a hint towards disease progression. Viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites can all infect a dog’s upper respiratory tract, lung tissues, airways, or both airways as well as lung tissues thus, causing the dogs to cough.
Sometimes dogs get bronchitis or pneumonia due to these Bacterias (eg Mycobacterium), Viruses (eg Influenza Virus), and Fungi (eg Aspergillus). In certain rare cases, lung cancer is the diagnosis.
However, your vet will help you to decide the best possible way out by diagnosing the conditions properly.
WHAT SIGNS SHOULD I LOOK OUT FOR?
Coughing could be because of the influenza virus causing normal seasonal flu to life-threatening conditions such as CHF or Allergic reaction. It’s best to get your pet diagnosed at the earliest to avoid any future obstacles in the recovery phase.
Keep an eye on –
A. Type of Cough: Dry Cough [without sputum or mucus being expectorated/ coming out from throat or Productive Cough [with sputum/ mucus accompanying coughing]
- Dry cough- could be because of asthma, or allergy. Other causative factors involve viral respiratory infections. In kennel cough particularly there is a honking type of coughing.
- Productive cough – it could be because of respiratory infections, pneumonia, or bronchiectasis, etc.
B. The period of coughing. I.e. whether the cough lasts for a few hours or more than few days, or is worsening as time passes by.
- Acute Cough: If the cough lasts only for a few hours and subsides, then it’s an acute cough
- Chronic Cough: If it lasts for more than a few weeks it may be a chronic cough due to some health issues.
Generally, allergens cause short-term coughs, even some mild respiratory infections last for a few days. Prolonged coughing needs to be diagnosed thoroughly as the causative factor could be the heart itself, thus proper medical help should be sought out at the earliest to rule out or rule in cardiac complications and cardiac diseases.
C. Behavioral Aspects- If your pet is depressed or seems extra tired if they have Anorexia – i.e. they won’t eat.
D. Rise in temperature – Keep an eye on whether they have a fever, this could be easily attributed to infectious disease progression.
DIAGNOSIS: FINDING THE ROOT CAUSE.
The Diagnosis is generally based on the type of cough, the consistency of it, and the time period your veterinarian will diagnose your pet on basis of some tests
Your Vet may suggest a routine blood checkups to rule out or rule in Infections. A complete blood count test (CBC) gives a clear picture regarding the blood cells and whether there’s an Infection going on in the body
X-Ray is an extremely handy diagnostic tool as it can check the lung patterns and even the heart for any lesion which may cause coughing in your pets
Based on the history of signs and symptoms that your pet may be exhibiting, a good diagnosis can be made. Diagnosis is based partly on history as well! Hence it’s essential that you give a proper and complete history of the signs that your pet exhibits.
Ie. If with coughing you notice any other signs and symptoms and if there are any other concerns, which you may have, should be promptly expressed to your Vet.
RESPIRATORY DISTRESS PUT TO REST: TREATMENT PROTOCOLS
Treatment is based on diagnosing, thus diagnosis is key. If your pet has coughing due to Respiratory causes your Vet may suggest antibiotics, fluids, and other such medicines for your pet.
In cases of other reasons such as allergies, the coughing generally subsides when the causative irritant is removed (like pollen/cigarette or vehicle smoke, etc)
On the other hand, for coughing caused due to heart problems, the treatment protocol is totally different and focuses primarily on resolving the heart disease to subsequently resolve the coughing problem.
WHEEZ-GO for PET
HOMEOPATHIC VETERINARY MEDICINE
Coughing is a natural response by the body to any irritation or abnormality of the airway. All Pets will naturally cough from time to time. A persistent cough however can be a symptom of a more serious underlying illness or medical condition. Pets are social creatures that naturally sniff and slurp. This is why bacteria and viruses –including a canine form of the flu — quickly spread from dog to dog. Germs also can land on Doors, furniture, food bowls, toys, and other surfaces where the next dog to come along picks them up. The discomfort of the dog and the helplessness of the pet owners can be addressed with WHEEZ-GO for PET, a Homeopathic Veterinary Medicine to treat Cough & Flu-related symptoms for any reason.
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Coughing is a totally normal phenomenon through which our body acts to get rid of the allergens or pathogens causing trouble to our pets’ body system it is however very essential to find out the root cause as quickly as possible to prevent any delays in the recovery period. Thus, along with the conventional treatment as suggested by your vet, Me & My Cough and Cold Pet Supplement is a homeopathic supplement for sneezing, coughing due to causes such as influenza or inflammation.
Me & My COUGH & COLD
Me & My COUGH & COLDPet Supplement is very useful for pets which show symptoms of catarrhal cough, cold, headache, sneezing with running nose, inflammation of the mucous membrane, pain in the chest, bronchitis with or without rattling sound.
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