Asthma in dogs is a serious disease. It is also known as chronic bronchitis. It is a chronic condition and is characterized by inflammation and thickening of the small air passages in the lungs. When your dog breathes in the affected air passages collapse making it hard for your dog to catch its breath.
In severe examples of asthma, the airways get blocked with mucus and the muscle that surrounds the airways goes into spasm. This restricts the dog's ability to breathe.
Dogs of any age can suffer from asthma but it is usually found in younger to middle-aged pets. Many holistic vets think that commercial pet foods that we provide for our dogs today, as well as over vaccination, can damage the immune system and cause our dogs to have allergies. Nearly all asthma attacks are triggered by allergens in the environment.
Mild cases of asthma in dogs might even go unnoticed, or appear as nothing more than a dry cough which may develop into wheezing sounds that become most obvious when your dog exhales.
Severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening and are distressing for both you and your dog. If your dog is having a severe asthma attack it takes a great amount of effort for it to take a breath.
You will notice shallow, rapid, labored breathing with marked movement of the abdomen as your dog tries to get more air into it's compromised lungs. If you should see a bluish purple tinge to your dog's tongue or gums take your pet to your nearest vet for treatment at once. This is a sign of an oxygen shortage and your dog requires urgent veterinary assistance.
Causes of Asthma in Dogs
Episodes of asthma in dogs can be triggered by allergens or stress. Some common allergens include grass and tree pollens, fire smoke, fumes from cars and factories, dust especially dust from cat litter and aerosols of various sorts such as perfumes, deodorants and flea sprays.
Your vet will examine your dog and try to determine what sets off the asthma attack. The vet will want to take a chest x-ray and may even need to do a broncho-alveolar lavage so as to obtain a sample from the airways in your dog's lungs.
The successful treatment of asthma in dogs is determined by finding out what triggers the attack in the first place. If the triggers can be identified and eliminated then no additional treatment is necessary. However, it is rarely possible to discover all the triggers and even if they're identified it may be impractical to eliminate them all.
Because of this it may be necessary to put your dog on lifelong conventional drugs such as Bronchodilators, Corticosteroids or Antihistamines to control the asthma attacks.
Alternatively, there are some natural therapies that may alleviate the symptoms. These natural therapies have been proven to promote the health of the respiratory system and best of all; they do this without the side effects that often come with the use of conventional medicines.
Recently, more and more dog owners have started using natural and complementary therapies to support their dog's health.
Natural remedies can also be used alongside conventional treatment for asthma in dogs but discuss any changes to your dog's current medication with your vet.