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- Dogs & Dog Breeds
Can dogs have asthma?
Asthmatic people whose asthma attacks are triggered by dog dander are warned against getting a dog for a pet. Asthma is a very uncomfortable condition as it makes breathing difficult. Did you know that the pets that can trigger an asthma attack can have asthma too? Yes, dogs can suffer from the wheezing, the coughing and the shortness of breath just like asthmatic humans do.
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What is dog asthma?
Asthma, also known as allergic bronchitis is more common in cats but this condition also occurs in dogs. The inflammation of the airways is often caused by a critical allergic reaction. When the bronchi or the small air passages in the lungs are obstructed with mucus, the dog will have an asthma episode that is characterized by violent coughing, wheezing and breathing difficulty.
Symptoms of canine asthma
Asthma in dogs is really asymptomatic. Unlike other canine diseases that will warn the pet owner of the dog’s condition, the owner of an asthmatic dog will only see the symptoms during an actual attack. As mentioned, the obstruction of the air passages will make breathing difficult. The breathless dog will cough and wheeze. Intense asthma attacks will cause the dog’s tongue to turn blue. Repeated asthma attacks will make the dog’s life very uncomfortable. An owner would notice that an asthmatic dog would sleep in a very uncomfortable position…neither lying down nor reclining and with the mouth slightly open because during an attack the dog would gasp for breath. Recurring asthma attacks will make a toll on the dog’s health. The dog will be lethargic, would have no appetite and consequently would lose weight. This makes the condition worse as the causes why the dog has asthma would in effect have a field day because of the poor immune system of the dog.
Causes of asthma
Asthma is typically caused by an allergic reaction. The dog may have sensitivity to foods and to the allergens in the environment. Similar to humans, the dog’s asthma attack can be triggered by dust; mold and pollen the dog the dog will inhale from the environment.
Diagnosing canine asthma
To be able to administer the appropriate treatment complete examination is necessary given the fact that asthma symptoms can point to another canine disease. Aside from the physical examination, the vet typically requires x-ray of the dog’s lungs. Bronchoscopy will be performed as well. This procedure examines a sample of the bronchial tissue under the microscope.
Treatment for dog asthma
As with humans suffering from asthma, dogs can find relief from antihistamines, bronchodilators, inhalants and steroids. The antihistamines will remove mucus and fluids from the lungs. A bronchodilator allows efficient air flow by reducing the pressure on the chest and lungs. Steroids will reduce the pressure on the bronchi by controlling the inflammation of the lungs. Inhalants will provide the dog with immediate relief. In severe asthma episodes, the dog may be given an injection of epinephrine. Unless the specific cause is diagnosed and treated, asthma cannot be totally cured. However, with the right care and life long medication, it is not impossible for the pet to lead a long and normal life.
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