Canine Asthma or allergic bronchitis, is a respiratory disorder in with the upper airways spasm and constrict, leading to difficulty breathing and other symptoms. As the na,e suggest, allergic bronchitis is cause by a reaction to something a dog inhales from the enviroment.
Causes of Asthma
When dogs breath in an allergen, their respiratory system responds to it adversly, causing the symptoms associated with asthma. For dogs, common allergens include pollen, grass and weeds, dander from other animals, smoke, perfumes, cleaning chemicals, air pollution, fertilizer, paints and even air freshners.
Symptoms of Asthma
- Respiratory difficulties- wheezing, couching, struggling to take a breath.
- Open-mouthed breathing
- General weakness
- Lack of appetite with concurrent weight loss
- Reluctance to perform physical activity
- Gums may turn pale blue (sever)- starved for ocygen and need emergency veterinary attention immediately.
A diagnosis of canine asthma will be reached by physically oberviing symptoms and ruling out other possible causes of coughing or shortness of breath, such as heartworms. Radiographs of the lungs, parasite tests, an echocardiogram to evaluate heart health and examination of the trachea and respiratory system may also be in order.
Treating canine asthma will involve identifying the offending allergen. Once the vet and pet owner know what is causing a dogs' reaction, steps can be taken to remove the allergen from the dog's enviroment or have the dog avoid the substance. Of course, it is not always possible to identify the exact allergen causing a dog's symptoms. In these cases, medications can be prescribed to help. Bronchodilators and glucocorticoids can help lessen inflammation and prevent attacks, and cough suppressants are sometimes prescribed to fight presistent coughs.
Preventing Asthma Attacks
Preventation is easiet when the allergen causing a dog's symptoms is known. This way, the dog can avoid it whenever possible. Otherwise, the aforementioned medications will need to be kept on hand to use in the event of an attack. Some dogs even have specialized inhaler that fit to the muzzle; these devices quickly administer anti-inflammaroty medications to open a dog's airways and lessen the severity of asthma attacks.