Can Dogs Have Asthma?

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Humans can and often do suffer from asthma, but is it a possibility in pets as well? If a dog can have seasonal allergies, does that mean he can also have asthma? It is possible for dogs to have asthma and suffer from symptoms related to it, and as a pet owner, it’s important to recognize these symptoms so you can respond appropriately.

Dog asthma

Below, we’ll explore several aspects of asthma in dogs. With this information, you can learn all about what this ailment is like in your canine friend and what you can do about it, too.

However, it’s important to note that there are many reasons why your dog may experience these symptoms, so it’s important to get a proper evaluation from a veterinarian in order to determine the correct underlying cause.

Symptoms of Dog Asthma

Some common symptoms of dog asthma include:

Wheezing and Coughing

This is often one of the first symptoms many pet owners notice when it comes to asthma in their dog. However, wheezing and coughing are symptoms of a variety of other health problems that can affect dogs, so it’s crucial to have your pet checked by a veterinarian if he’s displaying these concerning signs.

Panting Often

Dogs who pant even when they haven’t been exercising or haven’t been exposed to hot temperatures may have asthma.

Loss of Appetite

Dogs may feel uncomfortable when they eat if they suffer from asthma, which then leads them to eat less and less over time.

Loss of Energy

Since asthma prevents your dog from getting the oxygen he needs, he may have trouble being active. He may just want to rest all day, and if so, this could be a symptom of asthma.

Pale or Blue Gums or Tongue

These are emergency symptoms that should not be ignored. They require immediate emergency vet care and are a sign that your dog is severely lacking in the oxygen he needs. He may be having trouble breathing and could be having a severe asthma attack.

Complications of Asthma in Dogs

Complications from dog asthma can be categorized as either non-life or life threatening.

Non-Life Threatening Complications

Most complications of asthma are not life-threatening, but they may significantly reduce your dog’s overall quality of life.

For example, if your dog feels lethargic all the time, this isn’t going to become a fatal condition. However, he may be unable to get up and play, and he may feel uncomfortable when he moves too much, so his quality of life will suffer because of this symptom.

Life Threatening Complications

Some complications of asthma may be life-threatening, however. Some of these are acute risks, while others are chronic ones.

For example, if your dog has an asthma attack which causes a lot of mucus in his throat and prevents him from breathing, he may lose oxygen quickly. He may lose consciousness shortly after this, and the condition could be fatal if not responded to immediately by an emergency vet. On the other hand, your dog may also experience a chronic loss or decrease of appetite, which may lead to an inability to meet his/her nutritional requirements. This can cause severe and possibly life threatening disruptions to the body’s basic functions.

In addition to this, chronic lung changes can have a detrimental effect on your dog’s cardiopulmonary system, which may lead to life threatening changes in your dog’s ability to oxygenate and compensate for the functions and activities of normal daily life.

Your vet will be able to give you more information about the potential complications of asthma you need to be concerned with when it comes to your specific dog. Your vet knows your dog’s individual health concerns and can tailor a treatment plan to your pet.

Treatments for Dog Asthma

Your veterinarian will determine the best course of action for treatments for your dog’s asthma.

Some of these potential treatments for dog asthma could include:

Steroids

Most of the time, steroids are given as a short-term solution to severe asthma attacks. Dogs may take them for a few weeks to help reduce inflammation associated with asthma. In rare situations where a dog’s condition is extreme, vets may prescribe long-term steroid treatment.

However, the risks associated with this often make it a less than ideal solution for long-term care.

Antihistamines

Dogs who have asthma attacks caused by allergies will likely need to take antihistamines long-term. Your vet will let you know if these are meant to be temporary or permanent medications.

Epinephrine

In the case of an acute severe asthma attack, your dog may be given a shot of epinephrine, just like a human might during a severe allergic reaction. You may also be given these injections to help your dog in case of severe reactions such as this.

Oxygen

During dog asthma attacks, they tend to panic and become even more short of breath. Because of this, your vet will likely give your dog oxygen while he is at the vet’s office if you go in during an asthma attack. This can help your dog get back to normal again quickly.

Inhalers and/or Bronchodilator Medications

Certain medications and inhalers can help relax the muscles of the airways and help them open up and improve your dog’s breathing.

See a Vet Right Away for Your Dog’s Asthma

As you can see, it is possible for dogs to have asthma, but it should be diagnosed and treated by a trusted veterinarian for best results. There could be other reasons why your dog is experiencing these symptoms as well, so consulting with a vet is extremely important for finding out what’s causing this.

If you think your dog may have asthma, he will need to undergo several tests to determine whether or not his symptoms might be coming from something else. From there, your vet will be able to provide the best solutions based on your dog’s specific, individualized needs.

If you suspect that your dog has asthma, or other breathing-related issues, our team is ready to help. Please contact us or make an appointment today!

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