higgins avatar image

on going issue with phlegm

HIggins is a senior.  It seems like the problems are just compounding at this age.   We have been dealing with a congestion issue that seems like it is never going to get better.  Early last summer we thought he had kennel cough.   One of the many guesses that our vet tried.  Send us home with a new antibiotic.  

With all the information I am reading, I am really wondering if perhaps his diet, and maybe his oral health may be contributing to this on going problem.

Every day, multiple times a day, gurgling breathing then finally coughing out huge balls of white phlegm.  I can not get higgins to drink water with lemon.  Is there anysuggestions on how you get your bullies to take it....  He will be ok for a few hours and then its a repeat.  we have a very expensive humidifier that is helping a bit.  I sometimes fill the bathroom with steam and put him in there when its really bad....  at least once a month he ends up with the pukey sways were he cant get enough oxygen and collapses.  I have to blow air through his nose to get him going again....

He currently eats half wellness senior formula and half taste of the wild salmon....   Does any one think that food can be contributing?  I really would appreciate any input, especially since im sick to death of taken higgy for xrays that show nothing and blood panels that show nothing.  

His other issues are hip problems, arthritis, and very large fatty tumor on his front leg.  The vet does not think the issues are related but just thought it was worth mentioning.

DOes any one else here have experiance with older bulldogs.  I dont seem to find much on any forums, in the elevenish age....

kibby5's picture

higgins is really cute in his pic...as for the phlegm,

kibby has phlegm quite often as well. she is only six, she had pneumonia when we first got her from the rescue and lucky we took her to the vet too, otherwise we would have never known. She is always congested at night time and it seems in the mornings.  i taken her to the vet at least a couple of times more since then , worrying that it could be pheumonia again- but luckily she is always clear.. this is what i have learned about her phlegm...

1. dr. says that she keeps getting older that it could be her palette is changing or growing so therefore causing more phlegm or difficulty breathing. but so far so good, no need for any surgeries yet. she doesn't pass out like her older sister, gabby. she is 13 and when she throws up to hard sometimes, she passes out from not breathing.

2. i will give kibby some orange juice instead of lemon juice, i heard somewhere that its just the acid that breaks it up, so it doesnt have to be as nasty tasting as lemon juice.

3. when she yawns and i can see that there is phlegm built up and sticking to the roof of her mouth.. i will literally go in there with a warm washcloth and wipe it out! it makes her gag a little but i figure a couple of quick swipes won't hurt her. its seems easier for me to try to take some out then for her to try to hock it out.

4. i warm up her wet food (with a little rice sometimes).. at meal b4 she goes to bed and meal in the morning..i kinda figure if she has a couple of big gulps of warm mooshy food it will help push down some of the phlegm stuck around her mouth/throat..

5. i noticed when i leave the window open a bit at night, it will be too drafty for her- and she will wake up with more phlegm.

6. i notice that if she mooshes the blanket up into her face so when she is sleeping, so she is breathing thru the blanket, it also helps.

7. sometimes when she gets too phlegmy and eyes look watery, i think it may be allergies- so i give her a claratin before she goes to sleep at night.. or if i think she is catching a cold, i will give her an aspirin.

It's so hard to know when its pneumonia or just the way that bullies are made.. but i listen to her chest when she breathes like the dr.s do when we take her to the vet... i think if you hear "crackling" when she inhales- then its just an upper respritory cold... but crackling when exhales, then its more serious.. ( i am not 100% sure about this) but if it sounds clear in both directions, then its not pneumonia. of course, when in doubt , i just go to the vet. good luck with your senior bully!


sincerely, christine

jihigg's picture

Rex had kennel cough when he was a puppy

that turned into pneumonia. The lemon water works, but he wouldn't drink it either. I took a an eye dropper, filled it with lemon and water (I dont remember how much of each) and I dropped it into the back of his mouth. He didnt like it, but it does work. In fact I've used it on myself when I am congested-minus the eye dropper :-D

I've noticed that Rex does really well on the glucosomine/chrodroitin pills we started giving him when he hurt his knee over the summer. perhaps that would help with mr. higgins arthritis? Check with your vet first :-)

good luck with him, he is a cutie <3


Jllian and PorkChop and our beloved BullyAngel Rex <3


I do have a senior 12 year old with arthritis and vision issues, but not with breathing and phlegm problems.  However, I have in the past used guaifenesin tablets for her daughter when she was young and had some phlem.  I got some from the vet and later bought them from Pro Health on line.  We had 400 mg. tablets and they were not expensive and really helped.  Ask your vet.  For the senior's arthritis I give Glycoflex III and an occasional aspirin.  Good luck.

higgins's picture

oh I never have heard of

oh I never have heard of guaifenesin.  I am going to look that up.  How wonderful to have a 12 year old.  The bond and love from twelve years with a bulldog must be amazing.    I know  my higgy bear is just a giant love bomb.....

ive noticed the phelm is worse after eating.  


Yes, and those years go by too fast.  You can also get the guaifenesin in plain Robitussen (dollar store Tussin)....just don't get the one that contains other other ingredients (DM, or whatever).  I just checked the website where I used to buy the tablets and it appears they come in 400 mg. capsules now or 600 mg. tablets which may be too expensive.  It's been a while, and I'm not sure, but think I may have been giving 1/2 of the 400 mg. tablet, or 1 tsp. of the Robitussen when I used that.  Maybe your vet will have the 400 mg. and give you a few to try before you buy any.  Good luck.