This is a heads up for all gun dog owners. After a pheasant hunt last winter, my black lab Tucker developed a cough. The temperature was just below freezing with wet snow flying. I figured he just had some wet pheasant feathers caught in his throat and a good drink of water would wash them out. Well that wasn’t the case. We hunted on Saturday and when the cough persisted through to Sunday with him occasionally throwing up a little bile I knew it was time to call the vet. I got him in on Monday and they said to try some antibiotics to see if that would help clear him up. With him still coughing after five days I knew that they weren’t working so I made another appointment. This time they took x-rays which ended up showing nothing. They recommended that I have him scoped at Cornell Companion Animal Medical Hospital to have a better look. I couldn’t get an appointment for the procedure for two weeks. There was no way I was waiting two weeks so I did some research and found a local vet, Metzger Animal Hospital who had the equipment to do the scope. I got Tucker there with the x-rays from the previous vet which they said they couldn’t use so we had to get another x ray done. First they gave him some food with dye in it to see if his esophagus and stomach were clear of any abnormalities. I was hesitant on getting another x ray because I thought the scope would get us the answer we needed. They suggested we stick with investigating the simpler and less expensive solution first. When the x-rays also showed nothing, we finally got to do the scope. We had been hunting in Milo and the scope showed two pieces of it curled into a U shape in his lungs right at the end of his esophagus. They removed this obstruction and the cough cleared up in days. Here are some of the x-rays and a photo of the plants that they removed from his lungs. If this should happen to your dog, my advice is to skip the antibiotics and x-rays and consider getting a scope done instead. You might save some money but more importantly, the time your dog is in discomfort and at the risk of catching pneumonia.
-John Sarver, LCS Warehouse