Bronchial Asthma in Dogs

Asthma in dogs also known as bronchial asthma, is a condition that is more frequent in certain dog breeds such as pugs, due to the anatomy of their airways. The asthma is a disease that causes constriction of the airways, making the dog unable to breathe normally.

Causes of Bronchial Asthma

The bronchial asthma occurs when the dog’s bronchi are obstructed with mucous matter, start to spasm and constrict the airways. The disease may be hereditary and may be more frequently met in certain dog breeds.

There are numerous possible triggers that can cause this allergic reaction:

  • Pollens
  • Grasses
  • Chemicals such as cleaners, shampoos, soaps, fragrance, flea sprays or powders or air purifying sprays
  • Smoke (cigarette or fireplace)
  • Mold
  • Dust mites
  • Air pollution

Symptoms of Asthma

A dog with asthma may not display any symptoms most of the times, but have a few negative reactions when an asthma attack occurs. The asthma attacks will be manifested through:

  • Dry coughing
  • Superficial breathing, as the airways are constructed and the dog will have difficulties breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Lethargy
  • Purple gums and tongue, but only in severe cases

These symptoms may also be present if the dog is affected by heartworms or a respiratory infection. However, if these symptoms have a sudden onset, the dog is more likely to be affected by bronchial asthma. You should consult a vet for a proper diagnosis.

Diagnosing Asthma

Asthma may be diagnosed by performing a few tests and chest x-rays. Bronchial lavage may also be used to diagnose asthma.

The vet may perform a few tests to determine if the dog has heartworms or a respiratory tract infection.

Treatment for Bronchial Asthma

Bronchial asthma cannot be treated, but may be managed with medication.

Most commonly, vets prescribe steroids for dogs with asthma. The steroids should be administered regularly, to prevent severe attacks.

If the asthma attack is severe, the dog should receive steroids that will have a fast action. Oxygen therapy may also be needed in serious asthma attacks.

Some vets may prefer antihistamines or bronchodilators, which will help cleaning the airways and allow the dog to breathe.

It is important to determine the triggers that cause the asthma attacks in your pet and avoid the exposure to these.

Asthma Prognosis

Once detected, the asthma may be kept under control and the dog may live a normal life.

In rare cases, bronchial asthma may be fatal. This happens if the asthma attack is severe and the dog is not able to breathe and help is not administered in a timely manner.

Preventing Asthma Attacks

Knowing what triggers asthma attacks in your pet can help you avoid some asthma attacks. Try reducing your dog’s exposure to the asthma triggers. If this is not possible, as the trigger is grass or pollens, you should administer medication on a regular basis.