Greetings from the House of Hacking Coughs. It sounds like the old Chest Wards must have sounded a hundred years ago, with tubercular old men coughing and wheezing, and - well, yes - spitting up.
Flossie has had a cough for over a week; it started as soon as she had finished crunching up one of these:
the spiky beechmast husks that lie everywhere at this time of year. A "huff! huff!" sort of cough, followed by a large amount of spit, always deposited on the carpet rather than in her (fully washable) bedding. It went on long enough for me to move from the "Serves you right, you silly dog!" stage to start fretting about blockages or tears in her throat, and to take her to the vet.
No, unlikely to be a scratched throat, thought the vet, given the copious phlegmy spitting; more like tracheitis, or even low-level kennel cough, quite coincidental. Jabs were given, much wimpish yelping issuing forth, Flossie not being at all stoical about having needles stuck into her, and slowly the "huff! huff! began to decrease and the spitting stopped.
A few days later, daft spaniel pup Alfie came bounding up, greeting Flossie as ecstatically as is his wont. His owner told me that Alfie had been kept indoors for a few days because of kennel cough. Hmmm.
Catkin had gone to the vet at the same time, and was duly jabbed and medicated for cystitis, which seems to have disappeared now. Altogether a happier, calmer cat. We have entered a Cold War phase, with occasional growling stand-offs, but no real battles where fur might fly.
Then Tosca started up. Not a genteel cough like Flossie's, but a loud, painful hacking that woke us both up several times a night. I won't go into the details of the involuntary deposits this racking cough caused, except to say that it wasn't spit.... Her medication, kept in reserve and usually only needed in the damp and dreary days of February, didn't help, so back to the vet we went. An expensive hobby, all this vet-visiting.
And poor old Tosca, gradually going blind and deaf, with a wonky back leg, turns out to be rather poorly, with a chest infection and asthma. She's heavily medicated and on the mend, but can still cough dramatically, with me watching her rear end anxiously.
Perhaps it all has something to do with the arrival of this:
The builders are busy tearing up the floor in what will be the utility room; next week it will be tanked, and eventually beautiful slates laid. I have to keep reminding myself that it will all be lovely in the end.
In the course of the digging, this was found, buried for who knows how long:
I shall clean it up and use it to iron tiny handkerchiefs for the dogs to cough into.