If you are reading this, it is highly probable that your pet dog is showing signs of asthma. But, is it possible for dogs to suffer from asthma? Yes, is the answer and it is definitely heart breaking. Dog asthma is primarily categorised as an allergic condition. This means that asthma attacks in dogs are caused by an allergic response that results in irritation of the airways, causing constriction and spasm of the narrow airways of the lungs.

Asthma is usually found in middle-aged dogs and in some young dogs. Small dogs are usually more likely to develop allergies than big dogs.

What Triggers Asthma In Dogs?

Canine asthma, also known as allergic bronchitis may be the outcome of allergic reactions to pollen, grass, smoke, aerosol sprays and many other inhaled compounds. Some more allergens causing asthma in dogs include:

  • Mold spores
  • Dust and mold mites
  • Cat litter dust
  • Cat dander
  • Pollen
  • Household cleaners
  • Air pollution
  • Perfumes
  • Air refreshers
  • Airborne pesticides and fertilizers
  • Smoke from cigarettes, pipes, e-cigarettes

If your dog is showing any signs of asthma, it is vital to take it to the vet for a complete and thorough examination.

Symptoms Of Asthma In Dogs

Dogs generally exhibit one or more of the following symptoms of asthma:

Loss of Appetite

Asthma complications may cause the lungs to become hyper-inflated, pulling down the stomach of the animal. These problems may lead to stomach ache and a feeling of fullness, even though the animal hasn't consumed enough food. This is risky since it will lead to inadequate feeding, exacerbating the effects of your pet's asthma.

Diminished energy

Due to a lack of oxygen, your pet can suffer from lack of energy. This may range from being lethargic to showing intolerance towards any substantial amount of exercise that they previously did. They may not be able to handle long walks or may refuse to go for walks at all.

Respiratory Discomfort

Symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and continually running out of breath are highly indicative symptoms of asthma. These problems can arise with some colds and flu, but if they are chronic, the dog may have the asthma condition.

Blue Gums

If your dog's gums seem to be pale or blue, you should seek assistance immediately. This is a symptom of a serious asthma attack which can lead to significant complications, including death, if not adequately treated. If your pet has other signs of asthma, it is important to check their gums frequently for any bluish tint on them.

An asthmatic dog can panic and thus become difficult to calm down. Though in many cases were the dog is getting aggressive due to any injury or pain, muzzlers can be used to avoid biting incidents, in the case of asthma, it should never be done. The key is to never obstruct the ability of an asthmatic dog to breathe by shutting his mouth.

DIAGNOSIS OF ASTHMA IN DOGS

Dog asthma can be a little challenging to detect if the dog is not having an aggressive asthma attack. Dog asthma is commonly detected by a combination of the history you submit and the results of the physical tests and radiography (X-rays). When the dog is not having an asthma attack, the X-rays will come back as ordinary and will have to be performed again in the future.

Many other diseases may exhibit almost same kind of symptoms in dogs, for example the heartworm disease. It may also show the same kinds of symptoms as asthma, so your doctor may perform a heartworm test to provide further insights into your pet's condition.

TREATMENT FOR ASTHMA IN DOGS

The treatment for asthma in dogs relies on the seriousness of the dog's condition, whether your dog has an acute attack, or whether you are attempting to avoid attacks.

Treatment for Acute Asthma Attacks in Dogs

It should be considered an emergency if your dog undergoes an acute asthma attack. In these situations, to help him breathe better, your veterinarian can hospitalize your dog and put him in an oxygen cage.

To inject medications or fluid therapy intravenously, the vet may also place an IV catheter in your dog. Fluids may be provided if the pet does not feed or drink or if the dog is dehydrated. Bronchodilators and/or steroids may be used in IV drugs. In case of an infection, IV antibiotics may be suggested.

A bronchodilator (a respiratory drug to relieve bronchial muscles) to loosen up the airways, an antihistamine (allergy relief for dogs) to alleviate the allergic response, and a steroid to decrease the irritation of the airways are the three primary elements of treatment.

-Treatment for mild attacks and recurring asthma attacks

The core medications are the same in mild cases. It is possible to give prescription medicine orally or by a nebulizer to your dog. A nebulizer is a medical instrument that transforms liquid medicine into mist, which is then inhaled, such as bronchodilators, antihistamines, steroids, or whatever the doctor prescribes.

In addition to providing a positive impact, since they are inhaled and not swallowed, nebulizers can help to minimize the harmful side effects of drugs. The undesirable side effects include - Weight gain, increased appetite, heavy drinking and urinating increased susceptibility to infections, and muscle loss.

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN ASTHMA IN DOGS AND ASTHMA IN HUMANS AND OTHER ANIMALS

Human beings, cats, or dogs exhibit almost same symptoms in asthma.

These similar symptoms are -

  • Wheezing that sounds like a high-pitched whistle
  • Pale mucous membranes, such as gums that appear bluish
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Inability to indulge in sports/ physical activities
  • Breathing through an open mouth
  • Loss of weight

While there are many correlations in how dogs, cats, and humans experience asthma, there are a few differences that one may be mindful of.

In cats, symptoms do not reflect the seriousness of the disease. Asthma in cats can lead to exhaustion and anorexia. In case of human beings, asthma is not an allergic reaction at all times. In some cases, anaphylactic shock connected to asthma can even cause a person to turn purple.

THINGS TO DO AT HOME TO HELP DOGS WITH ASTHMA

Apart from medicine, to deter asthma attacks in dogs, prevention of offending allergens is important. To discover what your dog is allergic to, you may approach your vet about getting your dog checked for allergies, which is a non-invasive process. Further prevention precautions you should take include:

  • No Smoking or vaping in the proximity of the dog
  • Wiping the dog after going outside with moist wipes to alleviate allergens from the fur
  • Not using the fireplace or burning wood near your dog
  • If you have cats, use dust-free cat food!
  • Drop carpets from your house and cover them with hard floors
  • Wash bedding for dogs daily
  • Using mattress covers and pillowcases that are dust- and mite-proof and
  • Don't burn candles or incense.

Asthma is a serious allergic reaction and it is vital to consult a veterinarian before making your dog undergo any form of medications and to learn about the adversity of the condition for a better and happy recovery!

LINKS FOR FURTHER REFERENCE -

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1094553908000084

https://www.aecmemphis.com/site/vet-blog-memphis/2020/07/15/signs-symptoms-treatments-for-asthma-in-dogs

https://justnebulizers.com/blogs/respiratory-blog/canine-asthma-treatment

https://www.foundanimals.org/how-to-tell-the-difference-between-normal-panting-and-dog-asthma/

https://books.apple.com/us/book/dog-asthma-hacking-canine-asthma-16-tactics-to-help/id1403834071