FunNature & AnimalCan dogs have asthma?

Can dogs have asthma?

Asthma is much more common in cats than dogs, but in both it can present with:

  • Cough : depending on the degree of the problem, it can be sporadic and infrequent or almost continuous, requiring in this case to go immediately to the veterinary clinic. It is not strange that after intense coughing processes the animal ends up vomiting. This vomiting is not related to a digestive problem and is due to brain stimulation of the center responsible for vomiting, whose position is close to the cough center.
  • Respiratory noises: what we generally know as “whistles” and that can be audible without the need for auscultation through a stethoscope; In medical terminology these sounds are known as wheezes. If our animal presents this symptom we should not wait, under any circumstances, and we will immediately go to the clinic.
  • Respiratory difficulty: the animal does not breathe normally, there is an increase in the respiratory rate (tachypnea) as an attempt to compensate for the scarce air intake and the animal acquires postures aimed at facilitating the entry of vital gas into the body: it extends the neck forward, open the forelimbs… this set of postural changes in search of sufficient air intake is called orthopneic postures.
    Animals with asthma also tend to breathe with their mouths open and even with their tongues sticking out, in the same way as when they perform intense exercise… but without doing so.
  • Weakness: if the air enters with difficulty, not enough oxygen reaches all the organic territories, with main importance, the brain.
    This weakness can manifest itself in a more obvious way with the temporary loss of consciousness of the animal, but in milder cases, but maintained over time, the animal can present varying degrees of “tiredness”, “fatigue”, among other reasons due to the difficulty to properly move your musculoskeletal system due to the decrease in oxygen supply to the muscles.
  • Intolerance to exercise: an animal with an asthmatic process is logical that it refuses to exercise: the effort requires a greater intake of air, the respiratory tract does not allow it, the animal “is aware” that something prevents it from starting its walk, its game, and refuse to do it.
  • Cyanosis: in severe cases, or in high intensity crises, the animal’s mucous membranes may appear “bluish” in color due to insufficient oxygen delivery to the tissues.
  • Collapse and death: in severe cases the animal may not only temporarily lose consciousness due to a lack of oxygen, the animal may collapse and die if the necessary medical help is not provided.

Among the main causes of canine asthma are allergic reactions , the reactions caused by various environmental allergens when they come into contact with the animal’s immune system; Among the main allergens that cause asthma we will have: pollens, mites, chemical products (air fresheners, perfumes, paints…)

Given the knowledge of the possible causes of asthma in our canid family, we must bear in mind a series of actions aimed at avoiding its harmful action on our dear friend, or, at least, minimizing it:

  • The home must always be well ventilated to avoid as much as possible the accumulation of static allergens in the various areas of the home.
  • There are vacuum cleaners specifically designed to eliminate a large number of dust particles, mites… vacuum cleaners designed to reduce, as far as possible, the presence of certain allergens.
  • Try to avoid the use of air fresheners, aerosols, tobacco… that can cause irritation of the already affected respiratory system of the animal.
  • Consult with the veterinarian the type of product, or products, to use for the hygiene of the animal and its belongings (beds, dishes…)
    No type of product should be used with these animals without prior consultation with the professional, on too many occasions we are not aware that certain things commonly used in the home can seriously harm an asthmatic animal.
  • Avoid the use of rugs as much as possible; This element of the home is one of the largest reservoirs of dust and mites in the home; it is evident that his daily vacuuming would reduce the possible impact, but it would not cancel it. If possible, it is better not to have carpets with an asthmatic dog.
  • It is opportune to consider the use of air purifiers with proven efficiency.
    As in almost everything, there is a wide variety of products of this type, and not all of them perform the desired function for an animal with a pathology.

One of the most important issues in the case of asthma is to identify the cause(s) in order to avoid contact with the animal as much as possible, and complement it with the appropriate treatment considered by the professional, generally using corticosteroids (oral, inhaled…), bronchodilators and new generation drugs with a similar action to those mentioned above.

In emergency cases, the animal may require the administration of oxygen, either with a mask or intubated, depending on the severity of the case.

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