Honking / Coughing Noise

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Honking / Coughing Noise

Postby ckirsch » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:24 pm

I picked up a pup two months ago, he was around 14 weeks old at the time. Extremely well-bred, from a highly-regarded kennel. Up to date on vaccinations when I picked him up. A week or so after I brought him home, I noticed him making a hoarse honking / coughing noise when running. I initially suspected a trachea injury of some kind, although he'd not been staked out, and had very limited time on a leash or check cord, so I'd no idea as to how he may have suffered one. Vet ran x-rays and reports that the throat looks fine. Not kennel cough. He put him on an antibiotic in case it is a bronchial infection of some kind, but three days later still no improvement. The noise is much more prominent at the outset of any physical exertion, seeming to subside somewhat after the first ten minutes or so. Thus far I can't say that it seems to impact his stamina, but he's obviously not been pushed very hard yet.

I'm fond of the pup, and encouraged by his cooperation and intelligence. He hasn't knocked me over with his nose or point, but at five and a half months it's sometimes tough to accurately assess those qualities. Retrieving is surprisingly strong for his age, and he's handled extremely well on the occasions that I've had him out in the field. Nice confirmation, beautiful coat, good tail. Not sure he could be bred much better than he is. The breeder is very ethical and honest, and has offered to replace him, but that's become a tough decision for me. It's an 18-hour round trip to his kennel, and I've already registered this pup with both FDSB and NAVHDA, on top of spending quite a bit of time working with him. On the other hand, I'll put a lot of time and money into training and testing this pup, and due to progressing neuropathy in my feet, he'll likely be my last bird dog, so I'm reluctant to start out with a dog that may or may not have some type of permanent breathing impairment. My goals for him include running NAVHDA tests, getting back into some NSTRA trials, and most importantly chasing our South Dakota sharptails, prairie chickens, and pheasants with him, as well as having him accompany me while mountain biking.

I'd like to hold out hope that he could outgrow it at some point - he's a little chubby now as I've been free-feeding him, so it seems possible that as he grows taller and leans out he'll stop making the noise. At this point, the vet can't give me an absolute answer as to the cause, although he's been able to rule a few things out. I probably need to make a decision as to keeping him or trying a replacement in the next few weeks.

Hoping that someone out there might have experience with this type of problem that might help me to make the most informed decision possible....
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Re: Honking / Coughing Noise

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:24 pm

Have you ask the breeder if any of the other pups in his litter have the same condition ?
Do either of the parents have the same condition? Forrest
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Re: Honking / Coughing Noise

Postby orhunter » Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:40 pm

Had a similar situation. Dog finally produced what looked like a glob of white cheese out of her sinus. Took a while.
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Re: Honking / Coughing Noise

Postby ckirsch » Tue Dec 31, 2019 12:50 am

I sent the breeder a video of the pup retrieving dummies for me, while making the noise each time his front feet hit the ground. He told me he'd never heard that before from any of his dogs, and I'm confident he was being straight with me. Immediately offered to replace the pup. The pup's sire is a shooting dog CH so I doubt he would have any breathing issues. The female hasn't been campaigned but is out of very successful and well-known dogs. The breeder wouldn't use a dog that exhibited any health issues.

The vet sent the x-rays on to a radiologist in hopes that he might be able to find something. I suspect it would show any type of obstruction in the lungs or throat, and the vet didn't see anything out of the ordinary in the x-rays. I've not noticed any discharge from the pup's nose or mouth, and he eats like a horse so it would seem unlikely that he'd have anything lodged in his trachea. I hope to hear back from the radiologist tomorrow. Vet warned me that this might be one of those things that is very difficult to diagnose, and potentially impossible to rectify.

Breeder has another litter of pups on the ground now, well-bred but not quite as appealing of a breeding to me as the current pup's pedigree. This guy has been breeding for a while, and is a straight shooter, so I suspect I'd probably be happy with most of his breedings. I guess I feel bad about throwing in the towel with this pup as I like him in many ways. Just hesitant to put time, expense, and energy into a pup that is already exhibiting a condition that could likely impact his endurance and scenting.
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Re: Honking / Coughing Noise

Postby orhunter » Tue Dec 31, 2019 12:57 pm

Could be what's called a paralyzed larynx? Usually happens on older dogs. I first Griff developed it.
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Re: Honking / Coughing Noise

Postby ckirsch » Tue Dec 31, 2019 2:03 pm

I should have mentioned that the pup's bark is just fine. Not sure if that would eliminate any larynx issues or not.....
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Re: Honking / Coughing Noise

Postby orhunter » Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:59 pm

Yea, that would make me think it’s something else. When she was examined by a vet for the “honking” he scoped her sinus and didn’t see anything. It was two months later she worked out the ball of cheese. It was well over 3/4 inch in diameter and I can’t understand how the vet missed it.
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Re: Honking / Coughing Noise

Postby ckirsch » Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:29 pm

Radiologist says mild bronchitis. No tracheal injury. Could be allergy related. Pup might grow out of it, might get worse.

I like everything else about him so will probably just keep my fingers crossed that he'll outgrow it. Breeder remains very committed to my satisfaction, so if I don't see improvement in another month or two I'll still have the option of replacing him. Very open to more ideas if anyone cares to submit them.....
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