Like humans, dogs can experience asthma attacks with varying degrees of severity. Today our Benicia emergency vets explain some of the signs and symptoms of asthma in dogs, what you should do if your dog has an asthma attack, and how it can be treated.
Signs Of Asthma In Dogs
Symptoms of asthma in dogs include:
- Panting heavily with wide-open mouth
- Rapid breathing
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty breathing (usually sudden onset)
- Loss of energy
- Bluish gum color (caused by lack of oxygen)
- Loss of appetite
Contact your vet immediately if your dog is displaying any of these symptoms. While asthma may be the cause of these symptoms, there are a number of other serious conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
Diagnosing Asthma In Dogs
In order to properly diagnose asthma in dogs, vets must first rule out other possible causes of the symptoms such as heart disease, bacterial infections, and heartworm disease. After a complete physical examination to determine your dog's overall health, your vet may recommend other diagnostic tests such as x-rays or heartworm testing to provide further insights to your pet's condition.
Treating Dogs With Asthma
Based upon the severity and frequency of your dog's asthma attacks, your vet may prescribe anti-inflammatory steroid medications to help to control the symptoms and prevent long-term damage to the lungs. Permanent 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.
Are There Inhalers For Dogs?
In some cases, your dog may require a vet-prescribed asthma inhaler. Albuterol sulfate (e.g. brands like Proventil and Ventolin) can help to relax the dog's airway muscles to improve breathing. Do not give your dog medications without consulting your veterinarian. Many human medications are toxic to dogs.
How Can I Prevent Asthma Attacks In Dogs?
Common triggers of asthma attacks in dogs include cigarette smoke, cleaning products, pollen and mold. 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 is likely to 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.