Coughing & Sneezing

Habitual Coughing or Sneezing Is Never Normal

Whether we’re talking about a cat, dog, kitten, puppy or hamster, or a human for that matter, persistent coughing and sneezing should never be ignored. Yet, our veterinarian at Midway Animal Hospital has heard many of our Largo, FL clients say ” Don’t worry. He always does that.” A pet may always cough or sneeze, but it should never be dismissed as an odd quirk. Both have their purpose and while an occasional sneeze or cough is nothing to be overly concerned about, if your animal experiences bouts of either, it is a sign that something is amiss.

What Could be Making Your Pet Sneeze?

When your pet sneezes, it could be for a couple of reasons. Either some kind of foreign matter has found its way into his nasal passages, or the mucous membranes lining of his nasal cavity is inflamed. If inflammation is to blame, it is most likely because an irritant is present. There’s also a third possibility. He could have an upper respiratory infection. The majority of sneezing cats and dogs our veterinarian in Largo treats, are sneezing either because they have an air-borne virus or a bacterial infection.

If your dog is sneezing he may have contracted:

  • a virus like Adeno-virus2 or Para influenza
  • or a bacterial infection like Bordatella, Pasteruella, or Mycoplasma

If it’s your cat:

  • he could have Feline Rhino tracheitis or Calicivius
  • or Chlamydia or Mycoplasma

Non-infectious causes of sneezing include allergens like molds or pollen, perfumes in litter, grass, seed pods, and even abscessed teeth.

What Could Be Making Your Pet Cough?

More dogs suffer from coughing than cats. In either species, the causes range in severity from mild irritation of the throat, to bronchitis, to heart failure. Age and breed can be a factor as well.

  • Younger animals are more likely to catch a viral or bacterial infection.
  • Middle age is when cats are prone to developing asthma with its characteristic alternating bouts of coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
  • Middle age is also the time when dogs of some breeds develop heart disease and heart valve problems that make them cough.

Believe it or not, cats can catch kennel cough just like dogs. Technically known as tracheobronchitis, this highly transmittable respiratory illness can be spread through coughing, sneezing, direct contact, and touching contaminated surfaces and objects.

Diagnosis and Treatment

As you can see, the causes of coughing and sneezing in pets are many and varied, as are the treatments. Some can be prevented with vaccinations, some can be treated with antibiotics, and some will resolve themselves in a day or two. If your dog or cat continues to cough for more than three days, it’s a good idea to bring her to Midway Animal Hospital so our veterinarian in Largo can take a look at her and if necessary send you home with medication.