Dogs, like humans, can experience asthma attacks in varying degrees of severity. Today our Memphis 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.
How do I know if my dog has asthma?
Symptoms of asthma in dogs include:
- Heavy panting with mouth wide open
- Rapid breathing
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty breathing (often sudden)
- 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.
How is asthma diagnosed in dogs?
To diagnose asthma in dogs vets work to 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.
What treatments are available for 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.
Can dogs have asthma inhalers?
In some cases your vet may prescribe inhalers for your dog. Albuterol sulfate, (Common brands include 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 help my dog avoid having an asthma attack?
Cigarette smoke, cleaning products, pollen and mould are some of the most common triggers of asthma attacks in dogs. 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.