Asthma in dogs is a relatively common condition. Today, our San Diego vets discuss asthma in dogs, signs and symptoms to look out for, and treatment options.
Common Signs of Asthma in Dogs
Dogs can experience asthma attacks much like people and in varying degrees of severity from mild to life-threatening. If your pup is having an asthma attack you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Sudden difficulty breathing
- Persistent cough
- Heavy panting with mouth open
- Rapid breathing
- Bluish gum color
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of energy
Permanent lung damage can result from asthma attacks, which is why you should always take your dog's symptoms seriously and contact a veterinarian if your pup is having breathing difficulties.
If your dog is displaying any of the symptoms listed above contact your vet immediately, or visit your nearest animal emergency hospital for urgent care!
Diagnosing Asthma in Dogs
If your vet believes that your dog is having asthma attacks, they will focus on ruling out other possible causes for your pet's symptoms. Conditions that can cause breathing difficulties similar to asthma include heart disease, bacterial infections, and parasites. Following a physical examination of your pup, your vet may recommend other diagnostic tests such as x-rays or heartworm testing to help determine the cause of your dog's symptoms.
How To Treat Asthma in Dogs
Treatment for your dog's asthma will largely depend upon the severity and frequency of the attacks. Your veterinarian may prescribe anti-inflammatory steroids to help control symptoms and prevent long-term damage to your pup's lungs.
Canine Specific Inhalers
Albuterol sulfate, (common brands include Proventil and Ventolin) can help to relax the dog's airway muscles to improve breathing. Inhalers fitted with masks designed specifically for dogs may be prescribed to help administer your dog's asthma meds.
Never give your dog medications without consulting your veterinarian first. Many human medications are toxic to dogs, and the dosages provided in each use of an inhaler can vary greatly.
Helping Your Dog Avoid Asthma Attacks
Some of the most common triggers of asthma attacks in dogs are cigarette smoke, cleaning products, pollen, and mold. If the cause of your dog's asthma attacks is known, avoiding the allergen is the best thing you can do to help prevent attacks. The less exposure your dog has to the irritant, the fewer attacks your canine companion is likely to have.
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.