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Can My Dog Have Asthma?

October 1, 2014

Your golden retriever Chaz has been panting and wheezing a lot lately. In fact, his breathing sometimes doesn’t look normal, as his mouth is wide open and his chest muscles expand and contract with each breath. You know Chaz pants when he’s had a trot around the neighborhood or played a vigorous game of fetch, but Chaz hasn’t done either one of those things recently. Clearly, poor Chaz is in serious trouble, and you need to get your pooch to your West Greenwich veterinarian right away.

Common Causes

Just like humans, poor Chaz might be affected by asthma, an allergic reaction to some sort of allergen in his environment. When Chaz reacts to the allergen, he can accumulate lots of mucus in his airways, which narrows the airways and makes it tougher to breathe. Chaz can suffer an asthma attack from an inhaled allergen like tobacco, wood stove, or fireplace smoke. Air fresheners, household cleaners, perfumes, pollen or mold spores, pesticides, and even cat litter can send him over the edge. While any dog can experience asthma symptoms, smaller dogs are at a higher risk.

Scary Symptoms

If Chaz has asthma, he’ll pant more noticeably and for a longer time than he usually does. You’ll see him cough and wheeze, and he’ll seem to have trouble catching his breath. He might even become lethargic or lose his normally ravenous appetite. If Chaz’ gums turn pale or even a bluish color, drop everything and get him to the vet immediately, as he may be experiencing a life-threatening emergency.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your vet can probably take one look at Chaz and suspect an asthma problem; however, he’ll perform an X-ray to confirm his diagnosis. He’ll likely treat Chaz with different medications, depending on the severity of your pooch’s problem.

Banishing the Triggers

Now that Chaz has gotten some much-needed help, you don’t want him to go through another asthma attack. Remove asthma triggers such as cigarette, wood stove, and fireplace smoke. Dump your chemical-packed carpet if possible; and scrub your hardwood and tile floors with white vinegar rather than a chemical cleaner. An air purifier and/or air conditioner with a HEPA filter helps to remove airborne allergens. If Chaz shares his home with a cat, dust-free cat litter will lower Chaz’ asthma risk and also help your cat’s respiratory system.

Our Advice on Can Your Dog Have Asthma in 2024

Can dogs suffer from asthma-like humans?

Yes, dogs can suffer from asthma, much like humans. This condition, often called allergic bronchitis in canines, is triggered by inhaled allergens, leading to airway inflammation, mucus accumulation, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, and excessive panting. While asthma can affect any dog, certain breeds or smaller dogs may be at higher risk. Environmental factors such as smoke, dust, and household chemicals can exacerbate the condition. Veterinary intervention is crucial for diagnosis and management, which may include medication to alleviate symptoms and advice on reducing exposure to triggers.

What are the common causes of asthma in dogs?

Common causes of asthma in dogs include exposure to airborne allergens such as pollen, mold spores, dust mites, tobacco smoke, and household cleaning agents. Perfumes, air fresheners, and even particles from wood stoves or fireplaces can also trigger asthma attacks. Additionally, certain breeds or smaller dogs may have a higher predisposition to asthma. The condition is characterized by an allergic reaction that leads to airway inflammation, resulting in difficulty breathing, wheezing, and coughing. Managing the environment to minimize exposure to these triggers is crucial for dogs with asthma.

Are specific dog breeds more susceptible to asthma?

Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to asthma, particularly smaller breeds and those with brachycephalic (short-nosed) features. Breeds such as Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers have anatomical characteristics that can make breathing more challenging and potentially exacerbate respiratory conditions like asthma. However, asthma can affect any breed due to its allergenic nature. It’s triggered by environmental allergens rather than breed-specific genetic factors. Regardless of breed, it’s important to monitor dogs for asthma symptoms and manage their environment to reduce exposure to potential allergens.

What symptoms indicate a dog might have asthma?

Symptoms indicating a dog might have asthma include persistent coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing, often characterized by a rapid or complex breathing pattern. Dogs may also exhibit reduced tolerance for exercise, lethargy, and, in more severe cases, a bluish tint to the gums due to lack of oxygen. An asthmatic dog might also display an increased effort to breathe, with noticeable expansion and contraction of the chest. If any of these symptoms are observed, seeking veterinary care promptly to diagnose and manage the condition is crucial.

What treatment options are available for a dog with asthma?

Treatment options for dogs diagnosed with asthma typically include corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in the airways and bronchodilators to help open the air passages, making breathing easier. These medications may be administered orally, via inhaler, or through injections, depending on the severity of the condition and the dog’s response to treatment. Environmental management is also crucial, involving the removal of potential allergens from the dog’s surroundings to reduce asthma triggers. In severe cases, supplemental oxygen may be required. Ongoing veterinary supervision ensures the treatment plan is effective and adjusts as needed for the dog’s health.

Now that your West Greenwich vet has solved Chaz’ asthma problem, make sure Chaz gets regular checkups so the vet can tweak your dog’s treatment plan.

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