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What are Pharyngitis?

Your pet may not be able to vocalize that his throat is causing him pain; you may only become aware when you see visible signs such as coughing or a hoarse bark. This is a very common condition in dogs, though it can sometimes be indicative of a more serious problem.

Pharyngitis in dogs is an upper respiratory condition when the pharynx, otherwise known as the walls of your dog’s throat, becomes swollen from either a viral infection like distemper, cancer or an injury to your dog’s throat by a sharp object he was chewing on.

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Pharyngitis Average Cost

From 563 quotes ranging from $800 - $2,000

Average Cost

$1,000

Symptoms of Pharyngitis in Dogs

There are a handful of symptoms that your dog may experience with pharyngitis. Make sure that you keep track of your dog’s symptoms and their progression so your veterinarian can correctly diagnose him. 

  • A dry cough, that may be more prominent at night
  • Hoarse or absent bark
  • Reluctance to bark
  • Inability to swallow easily
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Red pharynx that may be covered in a frothy white mucus
  • The outside of the throat may feel swollen to the touch
  • Vomiting
  • Gagging 
  • Drooling 
  • Possible abscesses in the throat that will complicate breathing 
  • Normal desire for appetite but slower eating due to pain
  • Fever
  • Swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Sneezing
  • Possible bloody discharge if he has swallowed a sharp object

Types

There are many different types of diseases that can share the above listed symptoms. In order to correctly diagnose the problem, you will need to see your veterinarian so that she can rule out other conditions. Just a few of the conditions that may have similar symptoms are listed here. 

Appetite Loss

  • Heartworm
  • Parvovirus
  • Lyme disease
  • Lymphoma
  • Jaundice

Cough

  • Distemper
  • Bronchitis
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Pneumonia
  • Heart Disease 
  • Cleft palate

Coughing up white foam

  • Kennel cough 
  • Bronchitis

Fever

  • Distemper
  • Rabies
  • Parvovirus
  • Kennel cough
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Leukemia
  • Meningitis

Gagging

  • Tracheal collapse
  • Bloat
  • Cleft palate

Vomiting

  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Giardia
  • Chocolate toxicity
  • Food poisoning
  • Addison’s disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Lymphoma
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Causes of Pharyngitis in Dogs

Pharyngitis

  • Damage to the throat by a sharp object such as parts of bones, parts of sticks, thorns, or porcupine quills
  • Cancer in the mouth
  • Bacterial infections in the upper respiratory system
  • Viral infections like distemper
  • Tonsillitis


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    Diagnosis of Pharyngitis in Dogs

    Because so many conditions share symptoms, your veterinarian may need to run multiple tests to ensure she has correctly diagnosed your dog’s health concerns. Your veterinarian will look at symptoms both collectively and individually to determine the exact problem your dog is facing. Any cultures that the veterinary team has taken will be used to identify the strain of infection affecting your dog. You can also keep track of your dog’s symptoms, noting when they started, how they have progressed, any changes in your dog’s behavior or eating habits, and any pain he may be having. By keeping an eye on your pet’s symptoms and changed behavior you will be able to give your veterinarian a better chance of knowing where to begin. Steps to the diagnosis may include:

    • Physical examination 
    • Airway exam
    • X-rays of your dog’s throat and chest
    • Endoscopic examination of the throat 
    • Cultures of any discharged fluids
    • Blood tests
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    Treatment of Pharyngitis in Dogs

    Treatment for pharyngitis will depend on the exact cause. If for instance, the cause is a bacterial infection, your veterinarian will start a prescribed antibiotic regimen. Antibiotics can treat respiratory infection and sinus infections.

    In other cases where an oral cancer is the cause of the pharyngitis, your veterinarian will treat that cancer in an appropriate manner. This could involve surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation. When a foreign object is found in your dog’s throat, surgery and antibiotics will be required.

    For a tooth infection, your dog will undergo an extraction of the infected tooth, usually after being on antibiotics. Your veterinarian will also suggest a dental cleaning and removal of any plaque and tartar buildup so another infection doesn’t take place. 

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    Recovery of Pharyngitis in Dogs

    Recovery of pharyngitis has a very good outlook and once the underlying cause has been treated, it is usually resolved fairly quickly . In cases where there are systemic illnesses, cancer, or autoimmune diseases, recovery and management may be more extensive and take longer.

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    Pharyngitis Average Cost

    From 563 quotes ranging from $800 - $2,000

    Average Cost

    $1,000

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    Pharyngitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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    dog-name-icon

    Bella

    dog-breed-icon

    poodle/laboradore

    dog-age-icon

    3 Years

    pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

    Moderate severity

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    0 found helpful

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    Moderate severity

    Has Symptoms

    From: Frank Bailey Gelder ClD Pathology, ASCP, Diosed p ABHI, PhD Pathology Referred to me from my Daughter Rachel Gable as pet owner. I would like your unbiosed opinion. Thank you. Frank: fgelder@probeinternationalinc.com INTERNAL MEDICINE Candice Bailey, DVM, MS, DACVIM Kristen Parker, DVM, MVSc Ashleigh Seigneur, DVM, MVSc, DACVIM RICHMOND I 5918 West Broad Street, Richmond VA 23230 P 804.716.4700 F 804.716.4705 Elizabeth Turner, DVM Patient: Bella Client: Eric Gable ID: 374803 Contact Info: 112 North Plum Street DOB: 10/4/2014 Richmond, VA 23220 Species: Canine (804) 528-7988 Breed: Poodle Mix Sex: Spayed Female Color: brown/white Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Dear Dr. Mason: Pending tests: Please see lab work below. Assessment/Plan: We discussed these results with Mr. Gable. There are some concerning changes to the epithelial cells present that could represent a neoplastic process. However, with the entire case considered, there is also major concern for dysplastic change secondary to inflammation. We still cannot rule out an immune-mediated process. At this time, the owners would like to pursue the addition of another immunosuppressant with Dr. Williams and hold on advanced imaging of the region. The plan is to add mycophenolate @ 125mg q12h. Veterinary Dermatology of Richmond has prepared this medication for Mr. Gable to pick up. SOURCE/HISTORY: 6 months ago, patient developed cough and oral ulcerations. Responded to prednisone and cyclosporine. Cough has returned with debris prednisone. Following activation, red-tinged fluid collected from endotracheal tube. MICROSCOPIC DESCRIPTION: Two slides, one previously stained, of high cellularity are examined. Large numbers of erythrocytes are present within a variably dense, often thick eosinophilic proteinaceous background. The leukocyte population consists of primarily nondegenerate neutrophils with smaller numbers of vacuolated hemosiderin laden macrophages. Occasional macrophages exhibit erythrophagia. The moderate numbers of superficial squamous epithelial cells are present individually and in variably sized sheets. The remaining nucleated cell population consists of small to moderate numbers of polygonal cells that are present individually and in variably sized tightly cohesive clusters. The cells contain small to moderate amounts of deeply basophilic cytoplasm and round to ovoid nuclei. The chromatin is finely to coarsely granular and nucleoli, when visible, are basophilic and round to ovoid. There is mild to moderate anisocytosis and anisokaryosis in this population. An extensive search reveals no intracellular microorganisms. MICROSCOPIC INTERPRETATION: Neutrophilic inflammation with epithelial atypia. See comment. COMMENTS: A cause for the inflammation is not identified on the slides. The absence of visible microorganisms does not preclude infection. Given the presence of significant inflammation, it is not clear whether to polygonal cells represent a reactive or neoplastic population. Given the chronicity of the disease process and relatively young age of the patient, reactive change is considered more likely. Findings need to be interpreted in conjunction with any other relevant information and the clinical impression. Thank you for including the relevant clinical history; it is greatly appreciated. PATHOLOGIST: Jennifer Steinberg, DVM Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Pathologists Direct: 410-424-3545 1-888-433-9987, option 0 x43545 Email: jennifer-steinberg@idexx.com Thank you for entrusting Dogwood Internal Medicine with Bella's care. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about this case. Sincerely, Candice Bailey, DVM, MS, DACVIM 2. INTERNAL MEDICINE Candice Bailey, DVM, MS, DACVIM Kristen Parker, DVM, MVSc Ashleigh Seigneur, DVM, MVSc, DACVIM RICHMOND I 5918 West Broad Street, Richmond VA 23230 P 804.716.4700 F 804.716.4705 Elizabeth Turner, DVM Patient: Bella Client: Eric Gable ID: 374803 Contact Info: 112 North Plum Street DOB: 10/4/2014 Richmond, VA 23220 Species: Canine (804) 528-7988 Breed: Poodle Mix Sex: Spayed Female Color: brown/white Date: Monday, December 04, 2017 Dear Dr. Bowers: History: Bella, a 3 Yrs. 3 Mos. old Poodle Mix, was referred to Dogwood Veterinary Internal Medicine service for further evaluation of throat clearing/hacking. Bella had an acute onset of hacking up in June. This started after Bella had some form of dietary indiscretion that involved a bone. The owner pulled a bone out of Bella's mouth. She was taken to her pDVM and no foreign body was found but was found to have severe gingivitis and a broken tooth. This tooth was extracted and she was started on Clindamycin and later Doxycycline. Bella's hacking improved some on antibiotics but returned around the time she also presented with oral ulcers and a severe ear infection. She was seen by Dr. Williamson at VDR and started on Prednisone and Cyclosporine. Her ear infection has resolved and the oral ulcers are mostly resolved. She began hacking and neck extending. When attempting to taper the prednisone Bella's symptoms returned. Bella continues to hack on a daily basis. Owner reports that it occurs primarily after Bella wakes up or drinks water. Owner also reports that Bella's bark is decreased first thing in the morning but normalized afterwards. Owner says that Bella has hacked after drinking water since she was a puppy. No V/D/S. E/D well. Diet: Wellness Adult Dry; 1.5 cups BID + 1 cup sweet potatoes and/or green beans Current medications: Prednisone 20mg tab: 1/4 tab (5 mg) BID Cyclosporine 100mg tab alternating days: 100mg q24h, then 100mg q12h Examination findings: Vitals: 12/4/2017 2:54 PM Vital Sign RW Weight 24.1 kilograms Temp 101.8 Pulse 160 Resp panting MM pk CRT <2 sec Alert BAR Systems exam: BCS: 6/9 Hydration status: clinically adequate EENT: clear occular discharge OU Oral: SEE BELOW Cardiovascular: no murmur ausculted, normal rate & rhythm, pulses strong & synchronous Respiratory: lungs clear, normal bronchovesicular sounds bilaterally Lymph nodes: no obvious lymphadenopathy identified Abdominal palpation: within normal limits Neurologic: NSF Musculoskeletal: muscle wasting on head and along spine, ambulatory all 4s, no obvious lameness Integument: NSF Rectal: WNL Diagnostic Results: 3 -View Thoracic Radiographs: 3 thoracic radiographs are available. The cardiovascular structures • are normal for size and shape. No definitive mediastinal or pleural abnormality is seen. There is a mild diffuse interstitial and bronchial pattern. The trachea is normal for diameter. The extrathoracic osseous and soft tissue structures are within normal limits. CONCLUSIONS: Chronic diffuse tracheobronchitis. Allergic, inflammatory and infectious etiologies are possible. Airway sampling with culture and cytology may be helpful. Otherwise normal thorax. • CBC: WNL • Chem17/Lytes: glob 4.8 • PCV/TS: 52%/8.0 g/dL • Sedated orolaryngeal exam: marked hyperemia of caudal pharynx, 2-3 small 2mm ulcerative lesions cd hard palate, 1mm red blister lesion cd hard palate, bilateral laryngeal pararesis with marked hyperemic and inflamed arytenoid cartilages, bilateral tonsilar swelling, tonsils outside of crypts, 2-3mm ulcerative lesion inner upper left lip region, moderate dental tartar, no mass lesions identified. Problem List: Chronic hacking cough with neck extension movements Bilateral laryngeal paresis Marked laryngitis Bilateral tonsilitis Ulcerative oral lesions Hx of concern for immune mediated disease Hx of clear nasal discharge Hx of clear to cloudy occular discharge Hx of marked otitis externa Pending Diagnostics: None Treatment: INCREASE Prednisone from 5mg q24h to 10mg PO q12h Clindamycin 300mg cap: 1 cap PO q12h x2wks. written prescription provided Post procedure: Dex SP 3mg/mL: 0.12mg/kg (3mg, 1mL) IV once in the hospital Butorphanol: 0.1mg/kg IV once in the hospital Plan: Discussed with owner that Bella's case is not straight forward. Considering she responds to higher doses of prednisone, we would consider fungal or bacterial infection as the main etiology less likely, and an immune-mediated component higher on the list of differentials. Thus far, there has been no evidence of a neoplastic process (can't be completely ruled out right now). Once Bella's prednisone was tapered her symptoms returned. At this point, based on Bella's history and clinical signs, for an anatomic diagnosis, we are mostly concerned about her laryngeal/pharyngeal region. This could be a fucntional or mechanical issue. Considering these changes started after Bella had some sort of dietary indiscretion (owner pulled bone out of her mouth), it's not clear whether or not this could have been a trigger for her immune system. We can't rule out migration of foreign material that may require advanced imaging to identify. Recommend to start with 3V chest films, getting the cervical region on the right lateral in addition to CBC, chem/lytes. We will then move to a sedated oral exam. Pending these results, we can decide if we need to use the scope. Discussed with owner the findings of the chest films, labwork, and sedated oral exam. We have not been able to identify a definitive etiology; however, note that Bella's larynx is not moving appropriately (bilateral paresis). We suspect that this is secondary to the marked inflammation in the caudal pharynx and laryngeal regions, along with the other changes.. See sedated exam notes listed above. We susepct that these changes are the causes of her neck extension movements and hacking. We were able to obtain biopsy samples from one of the ulcers on the hard palate and a blister lesion and recommended to submit these for histo. Owner declined submitting these biopsies because we could not guarantee that these results would change approach to therapy considering Bella responds to higher doses of steroids and VDR was considering adding another immunosuppressant in attempt to get Bella off of steroid therapy. For now will increase Bella's prednisone therapy, add 2wks of clindamycin considering the amount of irritation secondary to the procedure, and recommend to follow up with VDR for further care. ADDENDUM: material/fluid from the ET tube was serosanginous to hemorrhagic. Preliminary in house cytology showed cells that had possible criteria of malignancy. Discussed this with owner at discharge and recommended submitting these slides to a pathologist for cytology. VDR will hold on adding mycophenolate until cytology results return. Owner to communicate with family about submitting the cytology and will call back tomorrow with decision. We were unable to identify a mass lesion on the oral exam today. Discussed with owner that if the cytology returns concerning for a neoplastic process, advanced imaging should be considered to find the lesion. Will increase Bella's prednisone back to 10mg PO q12h and add clindamycin pending the cytology results. Thank you for entrusting Dogwood Internal Medicine with Bella's care. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about this case. Sincerely, Candice Bailey, DVM, MS, DACVIM Rebekah Merritt, LVT (Internal Medicine) 3. BELLA GABLE PET OWNER: ERIC GABLE SPECIES: Canine BREED: Poodle GENDER: Female AGE: 3 Years PATIENT ID: 374803 Dogwood Veterinary Emergency and Specialty 5918 West Broad Street Richmond, VA 23230 804-716-4700 ACCOUNT #: ATTENDING VET: Candice Bailey, DVM, MS, DACVIM LAB ID: ORDER ID: 55423 DATE OF RECEIPT: 12/4/17 DATE OF RESULT: 12/4/17 IDEXX Services: ProCyte Dx Hematology Analyzer, Catalyst One Chemistry Analyzer Hematology 12/4/17 10:15 AM TEST RESULT REFERENCE VALUE RBC 7.36 5.65 - 8.87 M/μL Hematocrit 49.8 37.3 - 61.7 % Hemoglobin 17.5 13.1 - 20.5 g/dL MCV 67.7 61.6 - 73.5 fL MCH 23.8 21.2 - 25.9 pg MCHC 35.1 32.0 - 37.9 g/dL RDW 17.7 13.6 - 21.7 % % Reticulocyte 0.5 % Reticulocyte 33.1 10 - 110 K/μL WBC 8.77 5.05 - 16.76 K/μL % Neutrophil 58.1 % % Lymphocyte 24.4 % % Monocyte 12.4 % % Eosinophil 4.9 % % Basophil 0.2 % Neutrophil 5.09 2.95 - 11.64 K/μL Lymphocyte 2.14 1.05 - 5.1 K/μL Monocyte 1.09 0.16 - 1.12 K/μL Eosinophil 0.43 0.06 - 1.23 K/μL Basophil 0.02 0 - 0.1 K/μL Platelet 338 148 - 484 K/μL PDW 12.6 9.1 - 19.4 fL MPV 10.3 8.7 - 13.2 fL Plateletcrit 0.35 0.14 - 0.46 % Generated by VetConnect® PLUS December 29, 2017 03:46 PM Page 1 of 3 BELLA GABLE PET OWNER: ERIC GABLE DATE OF RESULT: 12/4/17 LAB ID: RBC Run Download RBC RBC_FRAG PLT RETICS WBC WBC Run Download NEU MONO URBC EOS BASO LYM Chemistry 12/4/17 10:23 AM TEST RESULT REFERENCE VALUE Glucose 113 74 - 143 mg/dL Creatinine 0.8 0.5 - 1.8 mg/dL BUN 14 7 - 27 mg/dL BUN:Creatinine Ratio 17 Phosphorus 4.2 2.5 - 6.8 mg/dL Calcium 10.3 7.9 - 12.0 mg/dL Sodium 150 144 - 160 mmol/L Potassium 4.9 3.5 - 5.8 mmol/L Na:K Ratio 30 Chloride 112 109 - 122 mmol/L Total Protein 7.9 5.2 - 8.2 g/dL Albumin 3.1 2.3 - 4.0 g/dL Globulin 4.8 2.5 - 4.5 g/dL H Alb:Glob Ratio 0.6 ALT 18 10 - 125 U/L Generated by VetConnect® PLUS December 29, 2017 03:46 PM Page 2 of 3 BELLA GABLE PET OWNER: ERIC GABLE DATE OF RESULT: 12/4/17 LAB ID: Chemistry (continued) TEST RESULT REFERENCE VALUE ALP 69 23 - 212 U/L GGT 2 0 - 11 U/L Bilirubin - Total 0.2 0.0 - 0.9 mg/dL Cholesterol 227 110 - 320 mg/dL Amylase 271 500 - 1,500 U/L L Lipase 666 200 - 1,800 U/L Osmolality 299 mmol/kg Generated by VetConnect® PLUS December 29, 2017 03:46 PM Page 3 of 3 4. Pathologist's Report SOURCE/HISTORY: 6 months ago, patient developed cough and oral ulcerations. Responded to prednisone and cyclosporine. Cough has returned with debris prednisone. Following activation, red-tinged fluid collected from endotracheal tube. MICROSCOPIC DESCRIPTION: Two slides, one previously stained, of high cellularity are examined. Large numbers of erythrocytes are present within a variably dense, often thick eosinophilic proteinaceous background. The leukocyte population consists of primarily nondegenerate neutrophils with smaller numbers of vacuolated hemosiderin laden macrophages. Occasional macrophages exhibit erythrophagia. The moderate numbers of superficial squamous epithelial cells are present individually and in variably sized sheets. The remaining nucleated cell population consists of small to moderate numbers of polygonal cells that are present individually and in variably sized tightly cohesive clusters. The cells contain small to moderate amounts of deeply basophilic cytoplasm and round to ovoid nuclei. The chromatin is finely to coarsely granular and nucleoli, when visible, are basophilic and round to ovoid. There is mild to moderate anisocytosis and anisokaryosis in this population. An extensive search reveals no intracellular microorganisms. MICROSCOPIC INTERPRETATION: Neutrophilic inflammation with epithelial atypia. See comment. COMMENTS: A cause for the inflammation is not identified on the slides. The absence of visible microorganisms does not preclude infection. Given the presence of significant inflammation, it is not clear whether to polygonal cells represent a reactive or neoplastic population. Given the chronicity of the disease process and relatively young age of the patient, reactive change is considered more likely. Findings need to be interpreted in conjunction with any other relevant information and the clinical impression. Thank you for including the relevant clinical history; it is greatly appreciated. For veterinarians not currently viewing this pathology report in VetConnect PLUS, please log onto www.vetconnectplus.com today to see the image associated with this case, at no additional cost. If you need help logging on, please contact your local IDEXX Customer Support Team. PATHOLOGIST: Jennifer Steinberg, DVM Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Pathologists Direct: 410-424-3545 1-888-433-9987, option 0 x43545 Email: jennifer-steinberg@idexx.com

    Dec. 30, 2017

    Bella's Owner


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    The main problem here is that there is no weight towards a particular cause between infection, autoimmune or neoplasia from cytology; response to treatment is suggestive of an autoimmune component but it seems like there is doubt understandably. It is a good move to wean off prednisone onto another immunosuppressant and see if the symptoms increase in severity like the last time the prednisone was tapered. I am a General Veterinarian and have no advanced training in Pathology, I would however in these cases recommend consulting with a telemedicine company like PetRays who will have their own Pathologists/Oncologists look at the case history (and images) to draw a more informed conclusion. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.petrays.com

    Dec. 31, 2017

    My dog had the same thing. I did not want her to live on steroids, so my vet treated her with a six week dose of steroids along with a long dose of antibiotics. We did this twice a year for two years and then another vet recommended that my dog become vegan. She has not needed steroids for three years now.

    April 17, 2018

    Tracy B.

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    Duke

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    miniature poodle

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    12 Years

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    Moderate severity

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    Moderate severity

    Has Symptoms

    Loss Of Appetite
    Coughing
    Lethargy
    Vomiting
    Breaths Faster At Rest

    Hi my miniature poodle was prescribed Rilexine and Tolfedine 5 days ago, since my vet said he has a throat infection. I didn't see any improvement and yesterday morning he vomited sort of clear, yellowish liquid. He hasn't eaten anything for 5 days, almost 6 now! I took him to the vet again yesterday and he asked me to stop the Rilexine and gave me Marbocyl P instead, since he said Rilexine weren't working on the infection. The vet gave him an antibiotic injection shot and a Foltedine injection shot. However about two hours later, at home, he vomited yellowish liquid again..I presume it was the medication. He is currently also on VetMedin, Fortekor and Furosemide since he has Congestive Heart Failure. I'm mostly concerned because he's taking so much medication yet hasn't eaten anything for 5 days now. Only drinks a little water when I urge him to. All he does is lie down breathing a bit heavily and occasionally gets up to move from place to place. Most of the time when he coughs, he seems like gagging, that's why he then vomits too. This morning then I took him again to the vet as after I gave him the Marbocyl and Tolfedine he vomited again. The vet told me his heartbeat was a bit not in control and gave him 4 injections: vitamin, furosemide, antibiotic and anti vomiting. He has since drank a bit of water and the vet prescribed Nutri-Cal. What worries me most is that he's taking all this medication and not eating and getting really lethargic.

    Nov. 12, 2017

    Duke's Owner


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    All pages on this website come through to the same person, me; this is your fourth question and I understand your concerns that Duke is taking many medicines and doesn’t have an appetite but apart from treating the symptoms and the underlying cause there is little else that can be done. A loss of appetite is a known side effect of VetMedin and Fortekor as well as vomiting being a known side effect of Marbocyl P; as I have mentioned already (in previous responses), an infection in the throat will make swallowing painful as well as a decreased appetite which is a side effect of some medications. The coughing may also be due to the congestive heart failure where an enlarged heart puts extraluminal pressure on the trachea inducing a cough; also lethargy, breathing difficulties and loss of appetite may be attributable to an increase in severity of symptoms. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

    Nov. 12, 2017

    Thank you Dr. Turner. Just wrote here again coz I thought you hadn't seen the previous one, but in the meantime you replied on the previous one as well! Thanks a lot for your time. Regards.

    Nov. 12, 2017

    Duke's Owner

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    Pharyngitis Average Cost

    From 563 quotes ranging from $800 - $2,000

    Average Cost

    $1,000

    Vet bills can sneak up on you.

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