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Asthma in Dogs: Signs & Treatment

Similar to humans, dogs can suffer from asthma attacks ranging from mild to severe. Today, our Laguna Woods vets discuss the signs and treatment options for asthma in dogs.

Canine Asthma

In dogs, asthma is an allergic disease that’s much less common for our canine friends than in felines. Asthma attacks occur when a dog has an allergic reaction to an irritant. The airway becomes inflamed, resulting in constriction and spasming of the lungs’ small airways.

The disease has typically been seen in middle-aged dogs and some young dogs. Small dogs are more likely to be diagnosed with the condition than large dogs.

Signs of Asthma in Dogs

Symptoms of asthma in dogs may include:

  • Loss of energy
  • Rapid breathing
  • Persistent cough
  • Difficulty breathing (often sudden)
  • Wheezing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Heavy panting with mouth wide open
  • Bluish-colored gums (caused by lack of oxygen)

If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately. While asthma may cause these symptoms, several other serious conditions can cause similar symptoms, and it’s critical to accurately diagnose the trigger.

Diagnosing Asthma in Dogs

Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination to get an accurate picture of your dog’s general health and rule out other potential causes for these symptoms, such as heartworm disease, heart disease, and bacterial infections. Other diagnostic tests such as heartworm testing or X-rays may be recommended to give your vet a further understanding of your pet’s condition.

Treating Asthma in Dogs

Depending on the severity and frequency of your dog’s asthma attacks, anti-inflammatory steroid medications may help to control symptoms and prevent long-term lung damage. Asthma attacks can cause permanent damage to a dog’s lungs, which is why symptoms should always be taken seriously and you should contact your vet if you see any of these.

Asthma Inhalers for Dogs

Asthma inhalers may be prescribed in some cases. Albuterol sulfate (commonly sold under the brand names Ventolin or Proventil) can help the airway muscles to relax, which will improve your dog’s breathing. Always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication. Many human medications are toxic to dogs.

Helping Your Dog Avoid Asthma Attacks

Some of the most common triggers of asthma attacks in dogs include pollen, mold, cigarette smoke, and cleaning products. If you and your vet can identify the cause behind your dog’s asthma attacks, avoid bringing the allergen into your home, as this is the best thing you can do to help your dog.

The less your dog is exposed to the irritant, the fewer attacks he or she will likely 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. 

Is your dog showing signs of asthma or heavy breathing? Contact our Laguna Woods vets to have your pup examined and treated.

New Patients Welcome

Laguna Hills Animal Hospital is welcoming new patients! Our vets are friendly, experienced, and passionate about caring for the health of the cats and dogs in Laguna Woods. Contact us today to schedule your pet's first appointment.

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