Bovine Cough

Bovine Cough

A bovine cough lacks the explosive character of a normal voluntary cough. It may result from injury to the distal part of the vagus nerve, particularly the recurrent laryngeal branches which innervate all the muscles of the larynx (with the exception of cricothyroid) with resultant vocal cord paresis. Because of its longer intrathoracic course, the left recurrent laryngeal nerve is more often involved. A bovine cough may be heard in patients with tumors of the upper lobes of the lung (Pancoast tumor) due to recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy. Bovine cough may also result from any cause of bulbar weakness, such as motor neurone disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and bulbar myopathies.


Arcasoy SM, Jett JR. Superior pulmonary sulcus tumors and Pancoast’s syndrome. New England Journal of Medicine 1997; 337: 1370-1376


Cross References

Bulbar palsy; Diplophonia; Signe de rideau