While asthma isn't a condition that we typically associate with dogs, it is relatively common. Here at Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Charlotte, we offer advanced diagnostics and treatment for respiratory conditions in dogs. Do you think your dog may have asthma? Our vets share some of the most common signs of asthma in dogs.
What are the symptoms of asthma in dogs?
Much like people, dogs can experience asthma attacks in varying degrees of severity from mild to life-threatening. If your dog is having an asthma attack they may display one or more of the following symptoms:
- Sudden difficulty breathing
- Persistent cough
- Heavy panting with mouth open
- Rapid breathing
- Bluish gum color
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of energy
If your dog is displaying any of the symptoms listed above contact your vet immediately, or visit your nearest animal emergency hospital for urgent care. Although asthma may be the cause of these symptoms, there are also a number of other serious conditions that can cause similar symptoms. Veterinary diagnosis is key to understanding the cause of your dog's breathing difficulties.
How is asthma in dogs diagnosed?
When asthma is suspected, vets focus on ruling out other possible causes of the symptoms such as heart disease, bacterial infections, and parasites. Following a thorough physical examination of your dog, your veterinarian may recommend other diagnostic tests such as x-rays or heartworm testing to determine your dog's overall condition.
How is asthma treated in dogs?
How your vet will treat your dog's asthma will largely depend upon the severity and frequency of your dog's asthma attacks. Veterinarians often prescribe anti-inflammatory steroids to help control the dog's asthma symptoms and prevent long-term damage to the lungs. Permanent lung damage can result from asthma attacks, which is why you should always take symptoms seriously and contact your vet if your dog is having breathing difficulties.
Can dogs have inhalers to help with asthma symptoms?
Inhalers fitted with masks designed especially for dogs may be prescribed to help relieve your dog's asthma symptoms. Albuterol sulfate, (common brands include Proventil and Ventolin) can help to relax the dog's airway muscles to improve breathing. However, it is important to note that you should never give your dog medications without consulting your veterinarian. Many human medications are toxic to dogs, and the dosages provided in each use of an inhaler can vary greatly.
How can I help my dog avoid having an asthma attack?
As with humans, some of the most common triggers of asthma attacks in dogs are cigarette smoke, cleaning products, pollen and mold. If the cause of your dog's asthma attacks is known, avoiding the allergen entirely is the best thing you can do to help your dog to breathe easier. The less exposure your dog has to the irritant, the fewer attacks your dog is likely to experience.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.