Chronic Bronchitis Symptoms in Dogs

Bronchitis symptoms in dogs can quite easily be mistaken for those of other diseases, such as heartworm or pneumonia. However, it is important that you notice the symptoms in a timely manner and see your veterinarian as soon as possible. Bronchitis is the name for the inflammation of the bronchi, the tubes which transfer the air from the trachea to the lungs.

Chronic Bronchitis Symptoms in Dogs

The causes of chronic bronchitis are not always known; sometimes it may be caused by viruses or bacteria which can even come from a dental infection. Smaller dogs (toy breeds, small and medium breeds) over the age of one seem more inclined to develop chronic bronchitis.

Constant coughing is the most common symptom of bronchitis. The cough can appear regularly at certain times of day. Exercise or physical strain can trigger coughing episodes. In the most severe cases the cough can be very extenuating and the dog may even faint. Coughing can also be a symptom of heartworm, which is a lethal condition, so it is recommended that you do not postpone a visit to the veterinarian.

Difficult breathing is actually the first symptom of canine bronchitis, although it is hard to notice this until it becomes severe. The normal breathing rate is between 10 and 30 times every minute (you can only measure this when the dog is asleep). At the beginning of bronchitis, the dog experiences shortness of breath (dyspnea), or his breathing becomes fast and shallow (tachypnea). Wheezing can also occur.

Gagging is another symptom of bronchitis, but the gagging can be misinterpreted for vomiting. The gagging is caused by the dog's effort to eliminate mucus from the throat.

The dog may become cyanotic (his gums and tongue have a blue hue) because there is not enough oxygen in the blood.

Dogs that have chronic bronchitis can lose weight very quickly. This is a symptom that can indicate bronchitis as well as other conditions, so a visit to the veterinarian is needed. It is common for dogs to become lethargic when affected by a health condition such as bronchitis.

Treatment of Chronic Bronchitis in Dogs

While acute bronchitis develops suddenly and can be cured, chronic bronchitis cannot be treated. In the case of chronic bronchitis, the dog's health can be improved, but he will not be cured.

Chronic bronchitis is a lung disease and your dog will permanently need to be under veterinary supervision and medication, with cough suppressants and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Home Care of Dogs with Chronic Bronchitis

You should remove your dog from any elements which can irritate the airways such as cigarette smoke, deodorizers or dust. If the dog is overweight, this worsens the symptoms, so discuss a diet with your veterinarian. Keeping the dog's nose clean can improve his condition by removing the secretions and helping with the breathing.