Antibiotics for Bronchitis in Dogs

Bronchitis in dogs is a respiratory condition which requires prompt veterinary treatment, and there are a variety of antibiotics for bronchitis in dogs. However, before you can understand which antibiotic medication might be most effective for your dog, you need to thoroughly understand bronchitis, its symptoms, and your dog’s treatment needs.

Bronchitis in Dogs Explained

In dogs, the bronchial tubes carry air into and out of the lungs. The inflammation of these tubes is known as bronchitis, and the condition can be labeled as either acute or chronic. In cases of acute bronchitis, the condition is typically brought on by a viral or bacterial infection, lasts a few weeks and then dissipates after treatment. Chronic bronchitis, however, is more like a predisposition to developing bronchitis. Chronic conditions are those that recur over the lifetime of the dog. Dogs that repetitively suffer from bronchitis or those that cannot get rid of the illness within a few weeks are typically considered chronic sufferers of bronchitis.   

Signs and Symptoms of Bronchitis in Dogs

Because bronchitis in dogs typically requires antibiotic treatment, it is important to be able to recognize the symptoms soon after they present so that they can be reduced in severity. Signs and symptoms of bronchitis in dogs can include:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fast breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Fever
  • Lethargy

Antibiotics for Bronchitis in Dogs

One of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for dogs with bronchitis is amoxicillin, which is a penicillin product. Because it is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, it can be used to treat a variety of different bacterial infections. It can be quite effective in treating cases of chronic bronchitis initiated by bacterial infection. Some dogs do have allergies to penicillin-based medications, so that will need to be considered before administering amoxicillin to your dog. Furthermore, because amoxicillin is filtered through the kidneys, it should be used very cautiously in dogs with kidney failure. Amoxicillin for dogs does come in liquid-drop form for dogs with difficulties taking tablet medications.

Doxycycline is another commonly prescribed medication for dogs with bronchitis. This particular antibiotic is also broad-spectrum antibiotic, so it is highly effective against several bacterial organisms. However, it is not a penicillin product; so doxycycline may be a more viable option for dogs with allergies to penicillin. Side effects of this antibiotic are not common but can include vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. Doxycycline is available in injectable form for dogs that do no tolerate oral medications.

Another option for treating bronchitis in dogs is TMP/SMX, also known as trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole. This is a combination antibiotic, but it is not broad-based; so it can only be used against susceptible organisms. In most cases, this antibiotic is an effective option for dogs with bronchitis. However, some dogs have been known to develop anemia when taking this medication indefinitely; so this particular antibiotic may not be a good option for long-term care of chronic bronchitis.

Another option is Zithromax, which is the brand name for azithromycin. This is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, and it is most commonly used to treat upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis in dogs. Since this is not a penicillin-based medication, it is typically a good option for dogs with penicillin allergies. This is an oral suspension medication, so it is generally easier to dispense than tablet medications.