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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.

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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