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Causes, Symptoms & Treatments for Asthma in Dogs

Much like us, your dog can experience asthma attacks in varying degrees of severity from mild to life-threatening. In today's blog our Cordova vets share the causes, symptoms and treatments for asthma in dogs, as well as what you should do if your dog has an asthma attack. 

How can I tell if my dog has asthma?

Symptoms of asthma in dogs include:

  • Wheezing 
  • Heavy panting with mouth open
  • Rapid breathing
  • Difficulty breathing (often sudden)
  • Persistent cough 
  • Loss of energy 
  • Bluish gum colour
  • Loss of appetite

If your dog is displaying any of the symptoms listed above contact your vet immediately. 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 dogs breathing difficulties.

How do vets diagnose asthma in dogs?

There is no specific test for diagnosing asthma in dogs. When asthma is suspected, vets focus on ruling out other possible causes of the symptoms such as heart disease, bacterial infections, and heartworm disease. Following a full physical examination, your vet may recommend other diagnostic tests such as x-rays or heartworm testing to determine your dog's overall state of health. 

How is asthma in dogs treated?

Depending upon the severity and frequency of your dog's asthma attacks, your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-inflammatory steroid to help control your dog's asthma symptoms and prevent long-term damage to your pet's 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 shows signs of having an asthma attack.

Can dogs have inhalers to help with asthma symptoms?

In some cases inhalers may be prescribed for a dog with asthma. Albuterol sulfate, (common brands include Proventil and Ventolin) may help to relax the dog's airway muscles to improve breathing. That said, you should never give your dog medications without consulting your veterinarian. Many human medications are toxic to dogs.

How can I help my dog avoid having an asthma attack?

Some of the most common triggers of asthma attacks in dogs are cigarette smoke, cleaning products, pollen and mould. If you and your vet are able to determine the cause of your dog's asthma, 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 dogs is likely to have.

If your dog is experiencing symptoms of an asthma attack, contact us at Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital, or contact your nearest emergency vet for immediate assistance Our experienced team of Cordova vets offer a full suite of veterinary services. From our on-site diagnostics laboratory, to our surgical offering and focus on preventive care.

Asthma in dogs - symptoms and treatments, Cordova Animal Hospital

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