Symptoms of Allergic Bronchitis in Dogs

The symptoms of allergic bronchitis in dogs become easy to notice only when the bronchitis has become chronic, therefore dog owners should pay attention to all changes in their pet's behavior. The more the dog's owner can tell about the circumstances when the symptoms appear, the easier it will be for the veterinarian to diagnose and treat the condition.

Canine Allergic Bronchitis

Allergic bronchitis is a condition similar to asthma in humans and consists of coughing and wheezing episodes caused by constriction and spasms of the upper airways (the trachea and the bronchi) as a result of exposal to allergens.  As the allergens enter the body, histamines are produced, causing the swelling and redness of tissues. When the airways are swollen, breathing becomes difficult and the dog starts coughing, the coughing also causing a constriction of the airways. If the allergic bronchitis is left untreated, the coughing damages the trachea and bronchi causing chronic bronchitis.

Symptoms of Allergic Bronchitis in Dogs

Symptoms of allergic bronchitis in dogs vary from trouble breathing to suffocation, which can lead to death. Watch out for symptoms such as:

Wheezing, an early symptom, indicating that the airways are being blocked. Usually, in allergic bronchitis, the wheezing will appear after exercise or a longer walk. It is important for the owner to be able to give an account of the things the dog has been exposed to before he started wheezing.

· Dry cough due to constriction of the airways. While coughing, the dog will try to eliminate what he believes to be an irritant, but he cannot eliminate anything.

· Difficulty breathing

· Breathing with an open mouth

· Lethargy

· Refusal to exercise

· Loss of appetite

· Weight loss

· Fever

· Fainting after coughing

Causes of Allergic Bronchitis in Dogs

Usually the cause of an allergic bronchitis is an external factor or something the dog has inhaled. There are elements in the household or outdoors which can be triggers of the allergic reaction:

  • Cigarette or cigar smoke, ashes from the fireplace
  • Carpet or floor cleaners
  • Air fresheners or deodorizers
  • Grass pollens
  • Rubber and plastics

Allergic Bronchitis Diagnosis

The coughing can help the diagnosis. However, sometimes X-rays are requested in order to establish if there is any damage to the trachea. As there are millions of allergens and it would be difficult to find which specific one is causing your dog's problem, the best way to determine what your dog is allergic to is knowing the activities of your pet and observing how and when the symptoms occur.

Treatment of Allergic Bronchitis is Dogs

There are several means of treating allergic bronchitis in dogs. The most common are bronchodilator drugs, which reduce the constriction of the bronchial tubes

Antihistamines can also be helpful, as they reduce the allergic reaction by inhibiting histamines.

In severe cases of suffocation due to allergic bronchitis epinephrine is injected to reduce the swelling and save the dog’s life.