Dog owners are often surprised to learn that their pet dogs can also suffer from asthma. If you notice your dog suffering from labored breathing, including wheezing or coughing, your dog may actually have asthma. While asthma is more common in certain species, like cats and humans, it is still a relatively common condition in dogs. As a dog owner, take some time to try and recognize the symptoms of dog asthma and then consult a veterinarian about diagnosis and treatment options.
As a layperson, you will not be able to diagnose dog asthma on your own. Nevertheless, if you suspect your dog is having some breathing problems, there are some common asthma symptoms that will become apparent.
- Difficulty breathing
- Blue gums
- Breathing with an open mouth
- Respiratory distress
As in humans, asthma in dogs may be triggered by allergies, irritants, exercise, and dry air. During an asthma attack, the bronchi start to spasm and excrete mucus; the airways become inflamed and narrow so that breathing becomes difficult. In addition, dogs suffering from asthma may refuse to eat or drink during an attack.
Should you notice any of these symptoms, you’ll want to visit a veterinarian. While these symptoms are normally related to a respiratory disorder, it will be difficult to determine the problem without a complete physical examination from your vet. In order to diagnose asthma in dogs your vet will rule out respiratory infections and airway obstructions. Further tests will likely include a chest x-ray and blood work to rule out infections, heartworms, and cardiac disorders.
Once asthma has been diagnosed, your veterinarian will recommend treatment. Depending on the cause of the asthma, your vet will likely prescribe one of four treatment options: steroids, antihistamines, bronchodilators, or oxygen. In most cases, your dog will continue to need treatment as asthma in dogs has no cure. Nevertheless, the condition is easy to manage and your dog should be able to live a normal, happy life.