Asthma in Dogs - Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

Like humans, dogs can experience asthma attacks. Asthma in dogs is an allergic condition, typically triggered by inhaling allergens. Today our Bartlett and greater Memphis vets explain some of the signs and symptoms of asthma in dogs, and how it can be treated. 

How do I know if my dog has asthma?

The most common signs and symptoms of asthma in dogs are:

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

If your dog is displaying any of these symptoms contact your vet immediately. While asthma may be the root of the issue, there are a number of other serious conditions that can cause similar symptoms.

How is asthma diagnosed in dogs?

The key to diagnosing asthma in dogs is primarily ruling out other possible causes such as heart disease, bacterial infections, and heartworm disease. After a thorough physical examination to determine your dog's overall health, your vet may recommend x-rays or heartworm testing to provide further insights to your pet's condition. 

What is the treatment for dogs with asthma?

Depending on the severity and frequency of your dog's asthma attacks, anti-inflammatory steroid medications may be prescribed for your dog to help to control the symptoms and prevent long-term damage to the lungs. Permanent damage can result from asthma in dogs, 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 asthma inhalers?

In some cases your vet will prescribe inhalers for a dog with asthma. Albuterol sulfate, (Common brands include Proventil and Ventolin) may be prescribed for dogs to help relax airway muscles to improve breathing. Never give your dog medications without consulting your veterinarian. Many human medications are toxic to dogs.

How can I help my dog breathe better?

Cigarette smoke, cleaning products, mould, and pollen are a few of the most common triggers of dog asthma. If you and your vet are able to determine the cause of your dog's asthma attacks, avoiding the allergen entirely is the best thing you can do to help your dog. The less exposure your dog has to the irritant, the fewer attacks your dogs should experience.

If your dog is showing signs of asthma call our Bartlett vets at Hillcrest Animal Hospital today are here for you in case of an emergency. 

Asthma in Dogs - Signs, Symptoms and Treatments, Memphis Vet

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