Pet Asthma Treatment Options

Pet asthma is a medical condition that’s fairly easy to diagnose in both dogs and cats, and pet owners have several different treatment methods, including both traditional and alternative medicine, to use to control symptoms in their pets.

Symptoms of Asthma in Pets

Asthma is a sudden narrowing of a pet’s airways, which causes breathing difficulties. One of the common asthma triggers is an inhalant allergy. When a pet inhales something he’s allergic to, the lower parts of his lungs begin to tighten, and he may begin to wheeze or cough, often while stretching his neck. His gums may turn blue, and he may begin to pant.

In extreme situations, your pet may collapse from a lack of oxygen, which is why it’s important to treat all asthma attacks as medical emergencies. Exercise or exertion can also trigger asthma attacks in your pet. Some pets with asthma may have only occasional mild attacks, while others have frequent moderate to severe attacks.

Asthma is a more common condition in cats than in dogs, and it’s most often seen in cats between the ages of 2 and 8 years. Female cats are more likely to develop asthma than male cats and Siamese and Himalayan cats seem more prone to the condition than other breeds of cat.

Diagnosing Asthma in Your Pet

Your veterinarian will use a combination of tests, including x-rays and blood tests, to diagnose asthma. He or she will rule out other conditions that could be causing your pet’s symptoms, such as airway obstructions, infections or heartworms.

As part of the diagnostic process, your veterinarian may ask you to keep a record of your pet’s asthma attacks to try to determine what his triggers are. If your pet has a problem breathing after a strenuous play session or on days when pollen counts rise in your area, this information can help your veterinarian devise a treatment plan for your dog or cat.

Traditional Medical Treatments

Traditional medical treatments for pet asthma include steroids and antihistamines to help reduce swelling and control allergic reactions. Your pet may also be prescribed supplemental oxygen or asthma inhalers to help ease his breathing during and after an attack.

In more serious asthma cases, injections of epinephrine may be required during an asthma attack to allow your pet to breathe easier. Your veterinarian can show you how to administer epinephrine if your pet falls into this category of asthma patient.

Alternative Medical Treatments

In some cases, your pet’s asthma symptoms may be eased by alternative medical treatments, such as herbal remedies, dietary supplements or acupuncture. Discuss these treatment methods with a qualified veterinary health professional to see if they will help control your pet’s asthma.

Control Your Pet’s Asthma Triggers

Regardless of the type of medical treatment you choose for your pet, controlling the situations that trigger his asthma is an important part of his overall treatment. If, for example, dust from your cat’s litter box triggers his asthma attacks, you may need to switch litter brands to one that produces less dust. If your dog’s asthma attacks are triggered by cigarette smoke, you may need to quit smoking or restrict your smoking to a part of your home that your dog is restricted from entering.