Dog owners cannot see their lovable pups are ever hurt. But, keeping them free from diseases is easier said than done. There are many concerning diseases dogs get infected with and Asthma is one of them. Though, you might know about human asthma of humans to date. In that case, a simple question may come into your mind, that is, “Can dogs get asthma?”. The answer to this question would be, yes. Even if it sounds peculiar, dogs can get asthma just like humans.
Asthma in dogs
Canine allergic bronchitis, otherwise, commonly named Asthma is an allergic reaction in dogs triggered by various natural elements like pollen, smoke, mildew, chemical grain, dust, cigarette butts, and many other irritants. These irritants forcefully cause excessive mucus production and inflammation of a dog’s airways. This situation is recognized as Asthma in dogs.
Although this condition affects all breeds and ages of dogs, seems like smaller breeds of dogs can get asthma due to allergy-inducing agents such as pollen, dust, cigarette smoke, mould or mildew, or other household chemical agents. Excess mucus production can be triggered by any of these allergy-inducing agents, along with symptoms like the inflammation of the airways of your dog making it hard for them to breathe. Canine asthma in dogs can sometimes be induced by unknown causes too.
Signs of asthma properly noticeable in dogs
Even though the causes of asthma in canines are sometimes not known, the symptoms of asthma that appear due to asthmatic conditions are quite visible. You can yourself be aware of the asthmatic tendencies of your dogs from these symptoms and your answer to the question “can dogs have asthma?” will automatically be answered. Some symptoms of asthma in dogs are –
- Your dog will pant heavily without any heavy exercise or such.
- A wheezy kind of cough will be noticeable in your dog.
- A sudden breathlessness feeling by your dog or a difficult breathing condition may appear in your dog.
- A cough that will persist for a long time.
- Your dog may show a very lethargic tendency.
- The gum colour of your dog may change to a yellowish shade compared to what he has normally.
- Your dog may exhibit or show a sudden loss of appetite.
- Your dog’s breathing pattern may change into rapid short breathing.
Asthma in Dogs – Treatments of canine asthma
Just like every other difference between humans and dogs, treatments regarding asthma varies from human to dog too. The treatment for dog asthma attacks varies on the severity of the asthma attack on your dog, and special treatments include an active asthma attack faced by your dog or an attack that you are trying to prevent. Let us look at the various kinds of treatments of canine asthma based on severity –
Severe asthma attack treatments for your dog – A very severe asthma attack is no less an emergency and should be treated as such. Your vet may advocate hospitalization of your dog in such cases and an oxygen cage may be used to put him in and artificially make his breathing normal and make him feel better.
IV catheters can also be placed in your dog by your vet to deliver fluid therapy or other drugs to your dog’s body. In cases of loss of appetite or dehydration by your dog, fluid therapy is generally administered. IV medications also include artificial steroids and/or bronchodilators. IV antibiotics are used in cases of lung infections caused by asthma.
Bronchodilators (medicines that relieve and soothe the bronchial muscles), antihistamines (Relieves allergy in dogs), and steroids (medicines to soothe the airway inflammations), form the three pillars or mainstays of treatment when your dog suffers from a severe asthma attack. Don’t apply such medications without consulting your vet as steroids and bronchodilators need to be prescribed by a certified vet.
Popular and effective bronchodilators include aminophylline, terbutaline, or theophylline. Commonly recommended antihistamines include diphenhydramine and loratadine. Steroids such as prednisone, dexamethasone, or prednisolone are effective for asthma attacks. Another commonly prescribed medicine is Temaril-P, which is a mixture of both steroids and antihistamines.
Treatments for mild and ongoing asthma attacks – The primary medications that are involved in severe asthma attacks remain the same for mild asthma attacks too. Some prescribed asthma medications can be given to your dog for ongoing asthma attacks through a nebulizer or by oral means.
Nebulizers convert liquids like steroids, bronchodilators, and antihistamines as prescribed by your vet, into a mist which is then inhaled by your dog. Along with the immediate effect on the disease, these nebulizers also reduce the adverse reaction or allergic reactions towards medications as they are generally not ingested but inhaled.
Increased appetite, weight gain, the sudden urge of urination many times in a day, muscle loss, and infection susceptibility are some of the side effects of this treatment. There are nebulizer treatment options available at home too and you can easily purchase them from the market. Consult with your vet before administering any nebulizers to your dog, since wrong treatment can be fatal to your dog.
Along with medications, cautions are very important to treat a dog infected with asthma.
- Try to clean your dog after a walk or every time he goes outside with wet wipes or baby wipes to protect him from the dust and germs thus protecting him from having asthma.
- Never smoke or vapour when your dog is near and try to clean the remains of a cigarette.
- If you have a fireplace at your home, try to keep the dog away from it as much as possible and the grains of burning wood can cause asthma to your dog.
- If you own cats along with dogs, you should use dust-free cat litter as grains and dust from the cat litter can be an effective element in your dog’s asthma problems.
- Carpets are a factor in causing asthma in dogs. Replace carpets with wooden floors if possible if you have a dog who has asthma.
- Try to wash the bed where your dog takes a nap every alternative day, if possible, if not do it at least twice.
- Try to use cotton and dust-free pillow and bed covers to protect your dog from asthma.
- Do not burn any candles or incense when your dog is in the same room.
It can be very frightening when dogs have trouble breathing as they cannot speak like humans to express themselves but the best way to handle asthma in dogs is to stay calm. Call the animal hospital immediately if your dog has an asthma attack while gently talking to them.