Can Dogs Have Asthma? Things You Need to Know About Your Pet
There are a lot of maladies that humans can have that surprisingly dogs can get as well. This may not seem possible, but dogs can actually get such things as Parkinson’s Syndrome, which can be even more debilitating than they are in humans. We bring this up because many wonder can dogs have asthma and the truth of the matter is that they can contract this respiratory malady. In fact, it is even not that rare.
Asthma, which is commonly referred to as dyspnea, is simply a difficulty in breathing. What happens when dog asthma sets in is that there is a shortness of breath and wheezing. This is caused by spasms and constriction that occur in the larger airways of the animal (the trachea and bronchi).
While dogs can get this illness, asthma is, dogs are generally referred to as allergic bronchitis. It is given this name because most often a dog suffers from the affliction due to an allergic reaction. This is usually something that is in the environment around the dog that is being inhaled. Prolonged troubles with the dog asthma can cause permanent issues with the tissues in the respiratory tract, and may even lead to death.
Symptoms of Allergic Bronchitis
Now that you know that the answer to “Can dogs have asthma” is yes, it is important to understand the symptoms that you will see if a dog has this malady. It is found that asthma in dogs occurs most often in younger to middle-aged dogs. It would seem logical that older dogs would be the one to suffer from this affliction, but that is not primarily the case. The truth is that the younger dogs are the ones are most often affected.
The most common symptom that will be found for allergic bronchitis is a very chronic, dry hacking kind of cough. It can come on suddenly, but many dogs see a gradual cough that becomes much more chronic. This is not the only symptom however.
The cough will usually be accompanied by respiratory distress, which can range from difficulty breathing to shortness of breath. It is also common for the dog to have a wheezing sound when trying to breathe. These can be quite serious, and if you find that your dog is suffering these symptoms you need to have him or her looked at right away.
Most dogs do not breathe with their mouth open unless they are panting because they are hot. This is something that not many people notice, so if you find that your dog is breathing more through its mouth then this is usually an early symptom of asthma in dogs.
Some of the other symptoms you need to watch for include such things as pale mucous membranes and lethargy. The membranes will appear as a blueish color, especially in the gums of the dog. Lethargy is quite common because the dog is having difficulty breathing so he or she does not feel like doing very much. This can also be accompanied by the dog not being able to do much exercise or playing. The canine becomes winded easily and may even be unable to run for more than a second or two.
A lack of appetite is also common. The dog may find it difficult to eat because it cannot chew food and breathe through its mouth at the same time. This will frequently result in weight loss.
If you are starting to see these symptoms appear then it is important to take the dog to the vet. This can be a very serious condition that can lead to death if not treated properly.
Facts About Asthma in Dogs
While you see it is possible that dogs can have asthma, they are not as susceptible to the malady as cats. Cats are much more likely to come down with asthma than dogs are, and the severity in cats can be much greater than you would find in a canine.
You will also find that the symptoms in dogs range the whole spectrum. Rarely does a dog exhibit all the symptoms you have learned. More frequently you will see that they have three or four, but it is most likely that you will find the cough and difficulty breathing are present. It is when you start to notice things like a bluish color around the gums that you know there is a real problem. This coloration is due to a lack of oxygen and is a sure sign that your dog has a problem.
What Dogs Are at Risk
Now that the question Can dogs have asthma has been answered, the next question is what dogs are most susceptible to this ailment? That is a good question and there is a very sensible answer to it.
The dogs that are most commonly afflicted with this are older dogs and smaller sized ones. Gender does not really play a role at all, but size and age do.
Age is a logical assumption because age brings on a variety of issues with health. Asthma in dogs just happens to be one of those issues. As the dogs get older the lungs are less efficient, and the airways are more likely to become constricted or allow for less airflow.
In smaller dogs the same issue is true. While they need less air because they are smaller dogs, the truth is that smaller dogs are more likely to suffer from constricted airways than you would see with a larger dog. This is why having your dog checked at about the age of three or four is a good idea just so you will know if there is a likelihood that an issue could arise.
There are other issues you should be aware of however. If there is a heavy smoker in the house, then it is much more likely that the dog will get asthma. This is equally true in humans. Excessive use of wood burning stoves and chimneys can also cause this problem, as can deodorizers.