Tussigon For Dog Problems

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Shelly Says:
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What's alternative medication for tussigon. My dog is 15.5,15lb shihtzu with partially collapsed trachea, with cough/gagging episodes mostly upon waking up - drink water, excitement. He has been on tussigon 1/2 pill 1-2x p/d. Very hard to give pill. Tried everything from pill pockets, ALL kinds food, empty capsules, compounding, pill ejector, etc, grinding and add chicken flavor & 10 drops water and baby syringe into pocket in mouth to hide it. Pill seems to work better if administered NOT ground up. He fights and stresses horrifically! It's war each time & has drawn blood from my finger. Pill Very bitter. He's also on BP meds, vetmedin for heart 2x p/d, 1/ 4 water pill & eye meds. denamarin every other day (big problem getting that pill down too). These I can handle in syringe. He seems to be uncomfortable and moaning for apx 1 hr after this pill only. Not chronically, but I think gastric upset? It does pa. Is there a 'flavored' liquid form that I can syringe as an inj. form of this pill, or is there another pill that works as good with flavor and not bitter? Hope you can help. Thanks for your time. Shelly



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David Says:

Hi Shelly,

Sorry to hear about the condition your dog is in. I hope he gets around to feeling better soon! As far as alternatives to Tussigon (Hydrocodone + Homatropine) are concerned, it sounds like this would be best determined by a vet who can evaluate the dog in person... But from what I've researched, vets sometimes prescribe Tramadol or Gabapentin to dogs for pain management. They also are reportedly known to prescribe strong opiates "for a short while", depending on how severe the condition is. On the downside, side effects such as an upset stomach or constipation appear to be a common occurrence while taking these types of medications. So maybe it would be a good idea to also look into some 'low risk / vet approved', natural remedies that help soothe this intestinal discomfort and see how he responds from there? Hope this helps!

Does anyone else have some suggestions?

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Shelly Says:
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Thanks for responding. My bigger issue is his coughing, gagging, heavy breathing etc episodes for collapsed trachea. Happens alot during day, nite. As I mentioned before. This is ongoing and always been treated by our vet. I'm trying to find an alternative way to administer 1/2 pill 2X PD. Tramadol worse, more bitter, gaspentin (syringe or injected) worked for pain. Does it work for episodes as stated above? Side effects ? It's a major battle each time I give pill!!! Thanks

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David Says:

I can understand the dilemma there caused by the collapsed trachea. And my thoughts are, if administering a pill is this much of a challenge due to the severity of his condition, then perhaps it may be time to decide whether or not surgery is necessary. Studies show that this particular surgical procedure for a collapsed trachea has a 75-85 percent overall success rate…however, the outcome for dogs who are older than six years of age is reported to be poorer than others. So these are just some things to take into consideration if you do decide to go that route.

While certain medication may help reduce symptoms, it isn't necessarily a curative option. And therefore, in my opinion, another type of approach may be in order. I for one am not aware of any alternative/safe way to administer the pills that are needed (due to potentially harmful binders/fillers that could be fatal if inj.)… Gabapentin being available in the form of an inj. helps, but to my knowledge isn't indicated for any of the symptoms associated with a collapsed trachea; except pain. I wish I could be of more assistance in that regard, but all I can encourage you to do at this point is to get the vet's opinion on surgically fixing the problem so it no longer has to be "treated" on an ongoing basis.

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Shelly Says:
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Are u a vet or what occupation ? As I said, dog almost 16. He cannot survive an operation along with the other issues I stated.

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David Says:

Dear Shelly, no, I am not a vet and I wont ever pretend to be. Just another citizen doing medical research on prospective treatment modalities for the situation at hand. I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help in that regard as I overlooked where you had mentioned the age of your dog when pondering the thought of surgical intervention to begin with. One thing I will say though is that I only cite my information from .edu, .gov, and peer reviewed journals. It is not my intention to try to steer anyone in the "wrong" direction, as from what I was able to gather, surgical intervention had seemed to me like the only viable alternative to what you're already doing now…But seeing as that's clearly not an option due to his age, maybe something in Eastern medicine practices may be worth looking into when Western medicine falls short? I'm thinking that a "holistic veterinarian" may have some interesting advice to offer when it comes to various herbal remedies that help support a distressed trachea… Although everything can be a game of trial and error whether it's natural or not. Just another avenue to look into I suppose.

If anyone else has thoughts on the matter, please don't hesitate to chime in! We're all here to try and help one another in some way.

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Ketty Says:

Hi there Shelly,
Have you tried pressing the tussigon into a small or suitable size of sliced hotdog meat. I have a Yorkie with simular issues. Worked here.

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Marilyn Says:

You could grind the pill up, add water to dissolve it, then add honey, and give it to him in a syringe. I have tried this on my dog and it works reasonably well. This is not saying that it is easy to give it in a syringe, but my dog resists anything being forced, and this will at least save your fingers. I hold my dog's head very firmly with one hand, force her mouth open with the other hand and stick the syringe in very quickly.

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Barb Says:

I found that hiding a pill in Philadelphia whipped cream cheese is the only way I can keep from upsetting my dog. Some pills are very bitter, so cover the pill without moving it around too much.

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AmyS Says:

I use liversworth to hide pills for my Shih Tzus (my older Shih Tzu was treated for coughing/collaped trachea with Predisone and Tussigon, too)

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Marilyn Says:

Shelly I have tried Tussigon and Torbutrol and I have found The Torbutrol works better on my Maltese. I give her 1/4th of a pill 4 times a day. I use a pill crusher and add a little water and honey and give it to her in a syringe. She does not like it but she knows she has to take it. The Torbutrol works faster and she has less coughing with it. The vet recently prescribed Prednisolone once a day, which is given on the inside flap of her ear, so it is relatively easy to administer . I had to go to a compounding pharmacy to get this, and you have to wear gloves when administering it, as it can be absorbed through the skin. She has a problem with her liver and she also has a heart murmur so surgery is not an option for her.

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mom to Benny Says:
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To Shelly, this may be too late to help, but...my chihuahua gets a syrup for his coughing. It's Tussigon, but an elixir (It's hydrocodone /homatropine). He has collapsing trachea and enlarged heart but no cardiac meds yet. He gets 2-3 doses a day, and the amount is small, 0.6 mls each dose. He doesn't like it, however, he never fights me with it, either, and I give it to him in the corner of his mouth, very slowly, while he swallows.

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Marilyn Says:

I had used Tussigon and Torbutrol for my little Maltese, who has a collapsed trachea, liver problems, a heart condition. The Torbutrol actually worked better than the Tussigon, which I ground up and mixed with water and gave in a syringe. I had discussed with my vet the problems I had giving her the medicine. She suggested that she might do better on Prednisolone. She ordered a month's supply for me from a compounding pharmacy. She has been on it for 3 months now and I have been able to discontinue the Tussigon or Torbutrol. She is doing much better and does not wake me up at night coughing. While I have a fear of Prednisolone, I can only say she seems to be pain free now and she is eating regularly. While it may shorten her life, at least it has certainly improved the quality of her life. She is 14 years old and has a life expectancy of 18 years. I do not want her to live in pain if at all possible.

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Vickie Says:

Marilyn, Your information was very helpful. I have a 14 year old pom with a collasped trachea that has been on tussigon for several months now. I am going to ask my vet about the other meds you mentioned. She wakes up in the middle of the night with her horrible cough. Poor little thing...it is also very difficult to give her the meds. It works best if I grind the pill and put it in cream cheese or peanut butter. She had her teeth removed about 5 years ago. She eats very well! Thank you for your comments!

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Michelle Says:

Hello....my poodle has a heart condition and he is very picky. I use a small piece of chesse and roll his meds in it like a cheese ball and he gobbles it it up like it a treat.

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Cclark505 Says:

Are any of you with coughing problem dogs in the desert area around Phoenix or Tucson? The valley fever in this area is very bad and my dog has come down with it and has had a horrid cough until the vet finally diagnosed her properly. Anyway if you're in the desert Southwest you might want to check valley fever with your vet. Carolyn

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Marilee Says:
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Askyour vet to prescribe the liquid. Its fast and helps right away.

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Marilee Says:
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Get the liquid. It works better with a syringe.

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Linda Says:

Liquid Tussigon is sweet and cherry flavored...just squeeze it onto chicken or beef or bacon...no need to force it. My dog is 141/2 Toy Poodle, collapsed trachea. He is losing his wolf appetite with Tussigon...we are exploring non narcotic options, which seems to be doggie Robitussin, which has its own effects. Sigh.

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Joni Says:

I have a Jack Russell, Parson Terrier, she suffers from collapsed trachea also. Tussigon has been prescribed for her also. I have used as some of the above have mentioned, pill popper, syringe with the liquid from a compound pharmacy (which in both cases she chews and tries to break the syringe). I have tried cream cheese wrapped in beef, which worked for a bit. I am still fighting whenever she needs it to give it to her. She is 14 and I think she thinks she is being punished. Maybe the bitter taste is what is the problem. Prednisolone sounds like a great idea. Have to check out with the Vet and see. Any side effects anyone knows of?

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Cubbie Says:
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My dog started this medication and is having loose bowl movements. Can this drug cause upset stomach?

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