Similar to humans, dogs can suffer from asthma attacks ranging from mild to severe. Today, our Oklahoma City vets describe signs and symptoms of asthma in dogs, what to do if your dog has an attack, and how we can treat it.
What is asthma in dogs?
Asthma is a less common allergic disease in dogs compared to cats. Dogs experience asthma attacks due to allergic reactions to irritants. The lungs' small airways constrict and spasm due to inflammation in the airway.
Typically, middle-aged dogs and some young dogs have been affected by the disease. Large dogs have a lower likelihood of being diagnosed with the condition compared to small dogs.
What are the symptoms of asthma in dogs?
Symptoms of asthma in dogs may include:
- Persistent cough
- Loss of energy
- Difficulty breathing (often sudden)
- Rapid breathing
- Heavy panting with mouth wide open
- Bluish colored gums (caused by lack of oxygen)
- Loss of appetite
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it is crucial to get in touch with your vet right away. Although asthma can lead to these symptoms, it is important to accurately identify the cause as there are several other serious conditions that can produce similar symptoms.
How is asthma diagnosed in dogs?
A thorough physical examination will be conducted by your veterinarian to accurately assess your dog's overall health and eliminate other possible causes for these symptoms, such as heartworm disease, heart disease, and bacterial infections. Your vet may recommend additional diagnostic tests, such as heartworm testing or x-rays, to gain a better understanding of your pet's condition.
What are the treatment options for dogs with asthma?
Anti-inflammatory steroid medications can be effective in controlling symptoms and preventing long-term lung damage in dogs with asthma, depending on the severity and frequency of their attacks. It is crucial to take symptoms of asthma attacks in dogs seriously, as they can result in permanent damage to their lungs. If you observe any of these symptoms, it is important to promptly reach out to your veterinarian.
Can dogs have asthma inhalers?
Doctors may prescribe asthma inhalers in certain situations. Albuterol sulfate, available as Ventolin or Proventil, can effectively relax the airway muscles, leading to improved breathing for your dog. Make sure to always check with your veterinarian before administering any medication to your dog. Dogs can be harmed by many medications that are safe for humans.
How can I help my dog avoid asthma attacks?
Pollen, mould, cigarette smoke, and cleaning products are among the most common triggers of asthma attacks in dogs. To help your dog, it's important to identify the cause of their asthma attacks with your vet. Once you know the allergen, make sure to keep it out of your home.
Your dog will experience fewer attacks if you minimize their exposure to the irritant.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.