While choosing a homeopathic medicine is not dependent upon which mechanism is producing a cough, you obviously need to know the cause. This determination will help decide what supportive measures may be beneficial, and it allows you to understand the severity and prognosis of your companion animal's illness.
Aconitum napellusA sudden dry cough in an animal that has recently been chilled, especially in a cold wind, is a good indication for Aconite. These animals will usually have a fever, and thirst for cold water. They are often extremely anxious and fearful. In dogs, kennel cough may respond to this remedy if the symptom picture fits. The best response to Aconite is when it is administered early in the course of the disease, within the first 24 to 48 hours. Example Dose: Depending on the severity of the problem and the animal's sensitivity to the remedy consider using a 30C or 200C potency.
Antimonium TartaricumAntimonium tart. is indicated in fairly serious respiratory affections, with copious amounts of mucous and a loose, rattling cough. Although abundant, the mucous proves to be quite difficult to expel (consider this remedy for pet rats with mycoplasma).These animals may be very weak, with poor respiration, leading to drowsiness and trembling. They must sit up to breathe, and vomiting (in animals that vomit) may follow coughing fits. Despondency and chilliness generally accompany the condition. Consider this remedy for canine distemper.
Arsenicum albumArsenicum or Ars. is often helpful with asthma, a major cause of coughing in cats, although other remedies are frequently needed for permanent relief. Nighttime aggravation is usually present, as are RESTLESSNESS, thirst and chilliness—all classic Arsenicum symptoms. The cough will tend to be dry, although it may alternate with a loose cough, coughing may follow drinking. This remedy should also be considered for Mycoplasma and respiratory distress in pet rats, use a 30C for rats, wet or dry dose. Example Dose: 30C potency.
BelladonnaBell. states usually begin suddenly and include intense anxiety, sometimes aggression, and dilated pupils during periods of aggravation. The cough is dry and animal may have a fever, chills, and be sweating (check the foot pads in dogs and cats). Coughing often occurs with the slightest motion and may come on in spasms. This remedy may be indicated in kennel cough. These animals may be thirsty for cold water, or they may be thirstless. Example Dose: 30C potency.
Bryonia albaThe Bryonia cough is similar to that of Belladonna: a dry cough aggravated by the slightest motion, and fever with great thirst. The onset is more gradual, though, and the thirst is even greater, as this is one of our thirstiest remedy states. The bryonia cough is aggravated upon entering a warm room. Motion is generally intolerable for these animals, even being carried. They most always prefer to be left alone. Coughing and breathing may be very painful, so rapid, short respiration take place. The pet may have to sit up or lay on an incline to breathe more comfortably. Example Dose: 30C potency.
CinaPronounced Keena, this remedy can be indicated in an infestation with worms. It is more commonly needed in young animals. They tend to be irritable, touchy and moody, to the point of biting or swatting. The Cina cough is one of gagging, hacking, and is spasmodic sometimes to the point of being violent. The aggravation occurs in the morning when Cina is needed; this is different from most other remedies. It may also be worse during the full moon. This is another remedy to be considered for Canine kennel cough. Example Dose: 30C potency.
DroseraAlso a good choice for kennel cough. Drosera is indicated for violent, spasmodic coughing spells. The throat is very ticklish, so vocalization or touching the throat, even a collar incites a coughing spell. The cough may be worse when the animal lies down, an unusual symptom. Coughing is deep, as though it was coming from the abdomen. Hoarseness and laryngitis may accompany the cough. Example Dose: 30C potency.
DulcamaraAggravation in cold, damp weather or from lying on damp ground point to the successful use of this remedy. It is also commonly needed toward the end of summer, when the days are warm and the nights are cold. Coughing may be brought on after exertion. A common cause of the Dulcamara state (as in horses) is rapid chilling after being hot, as after exercising on cold, damp days. Example Dose: 30C potency.
Ferrum phosphoricumThese animals tend to have low-grade inflammations with productive coughing. They may cough up blood or bleed from the nose. The cough is usually tickling and hacking and may be spasmodic. Ferrum phos is often indicated in earlier stages of infections and inflammations. Mentally, the animal may alternate between depression and excitability, and they generally wish to be left alone. Example Dose: 30C potency.
Hepar sulphuris calcareumThis is one of the major croup remedies for children. Hepar sulph can also benefit animals with bronchial inflammation. Coughing is almost always productive when Hepar sulph is indicated, and a thick, yellow pus is produced. These animals are chilly, and and anytime they become chilled the cough worsens. Cold drafts are especially troublesome. Mental irritability and violence often predominate, and touch may bring about a vicious response. There may be a history of abscessed wounds. Example Dose: 30C potency.
IpecacCoughing with nausea is a firm keynote for Ipecac. These animals will cough, usually violently, and then often vomit. Bleeding from the nose or mouth often accompany the cough. Asthma may be accompanied by skin disease, and may be aggravated in damp weather. Breathing can be quite difficult, with violent wheezing; it is better in warm and open air but worse going into cold air. Ipecac may be indicated in kennel cough or when animals cough until they stiffen and pass out. Example Dose: 30C potency.
PhosphorusThis is a polychrest remedy and it centers its action around the lungs. Not out of the ordinary, many respiratory conditions will improve under its influence—if the animal is in a phosphorus state. Bleeding often accompanies any Phosphorus condition. These animals may cough up blood-tinged mucous or bleed from the mouth or nose. The cough is typically dry and deep and is worse in cold air, especially upon leaving a warm room to go out into the cold. These animals may tremble when coughing, and may cough more in the presence of strangers. The are often chilly, thirsty for cold water, ravenous and startle easily. Constitutionally, they are friendly and vocal, with long, lean bodies. Example Dose: 30C potency.
PulsatillaThe Pulsatilla cough is generally dry at night and loose in the morning. Heated rooms aggravate the Pulsatilla condition, while open air will relieve it. Sitting up will also provide relief,as will lying with the head elevated. This remedy is frequently needed near the end of a respiratory infection, when congestion has settled in the chest, and the body needs to clear the discharges. Animals needing Pulsatilla are generally sweet, desire attention, and are not thirsty, even with a fever. Example Dose: 30C potency.
Rumex crispusA characteristic of Rumex is tickling in the throat leading to coughing. This tickling is so severe that a slight touch to the throat will elicit a cough. The other very important sensitivity is to cold air; every breath of cold air will initiate a cough. Any temperature change may also elicit a coughing spell. The Rumex cough tends to be dry and persistent. This remedy should be strongly considered for kennel cough. Example Dose: 30C potency.
Spongia tostaSpongia comes to mind for croupy, barking coughs. The sound is similar to that of sawing through a board. Eating and drinking warm things will generally improve the cough; cold drinks may aggravate the cough, as may cold wind. Spongia may be indicated in coughs from heart disease. These animals may be quite anxious and fearful, and often startle easily from sleep, moving into coughing or breathing difficulty. Spongia may also be indicated for kennel cough. Example Dose: 30C potency.