Asthma in dogs - Symptoms and treatment


Inhalers help treat asthma in dogs, which is usually allergic in origin.

  • Publication date: April 11, 2013

Dog asthma is a disease that affects the respiratory tract, although it is not very common in dogs. This article explains what triggers asthma in dogs, its treatment and prevention. In addition, it is clarified why dogs are not usually asthmatic.

Causes of asthma in dogs

Asthmatic episodes of the dog are caused by a substance that causes an allergic reaction in the dog. Pollen, dust, mites, as well as other environmental components, which the dog inhales causes in asthmatic animals bronchial closure as self defense. The consequence is that the dog cannot breathe and suffocates.

The usual thing is that the origin of canine asthma is associated with allergic processes, but it may also be the case that the trigger is an infectious disease of the respiratory system, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

Canine Asthma Treatment

Canine asthma is a chronic disease that may need oral treatment if it causes many relapses. However, it is usually treated with inhaler substances if asthma is more sporadic.

The bronchodilators (inhalers) cause the opening of the dog's bronchial tubes, which close when they come into contact with the substance that triggers the dog's allergy (pollen, dust).

In this way, the animal can breathe and the feeling of suffocation disappears.

An asthmatic dog can die if he has no treatment and suffers from heart disease

Inhaler placement is not easy. "Similar cameras are used to those applied with babies," explains veterinarian Aitor Llamas.

In other cases, canine doctors manage them with a lot of imagination, as veterinarian Dolors Corredera adds. "We use a plastic water bottle, which acts like a mask," says the animal doctor. The animal introduces the head and aspirates the product that is applied with the inhaler at the other end.

Once the animal is stabilized it can return home, where the owners must continue with the treatment indicated by the veterinarian. Typically, the dog continues with the inhaler that dilates for a few more days.

Asthma prevention in dogs at home

Contact with the allergenic substances that cause asthma in the dog should be avoided, in order to prevent respiratory crises. The adoption of certain measures at home helps prevent relapse:

The placement of a humidifier that reduces the number of suspended particles and does not dry out the environment.

Maintain proper hygiene at home to avoid the accumulation of dust. To achieve this, it is advisable to vacuum carpets and upholstery in a usual way and remove dirt with cloths that catch it and do not spread it.

If the dog is allergic to pollen and other substances present in the environment temporarily, it is advisable to prevent the dog from exercising outside. The can could aspirate substances that cause asthmatic reactions.

The prevention of asthmatic episodes is key to ensure that the dog has an adequate quality of life. The decrease in the number of relapses helps prevent the disease does not lead to more common processes or attacks, which accentuate the chronic nature of this respiratory disease.

Why dogs are not usually asthmatic?

One in every million dogs suffers from asthma, compared to 10% of cats

Asthma in dogs is a disease that causes respiratory difficulties, but is rare among the canine population. However, cats suffer from this disease more often. According to the estimate of Aitor Llamas, veterinarian, the percentage of asthma incidence in a dog stands at one in a million. In the case of cats, asthma affects 10% of the feline population.

The reason for the low incidence of asthma among the canine population is anatomical. The dog's bronchi are different from those of people or cats. Dogs have less elastic lungs than other species, which prevents them from suffering spasms in the bronchial tubes that cause asthma breathing difficulties.

Typically, dogs suffer from dermatological allergies and not respiratory type, as in the case of asthma.

However, brachycephalic dogs suffering from asthma may suffer more acute and chronic processes due to their innate breathing difficulties. However, a dog that is brachycephalic (bulldog, carlino) does not always have to suffer from asthma.

Respiratory problems in dogs

He asthma in dogs It is included in a group of disorders that will affect the lower respiratory tract. Due to the presence of an irritant, the bronchial tubes contract to prevent this from passing into the lungs and also generate mucus to trap it.

This mechanism of bronchoconstriction makes breathing difficult and originates from a mild condition with symptoms such as cough or breathing difficulties to an acute crisis in which we will find that the dog has breathing attacks, that is, drowning that will compromise your life.

Symptoms of asthma in dogs

Dogs with asthma can stay for a long time only by showing signs of mild symptoms but, also, they may suffer acute crises in which your breathing is compromised and, consequently, your life is at risk. Among the symptoms to which we must pay attention are the following:

  • Cough
  • Breathing with your mouth open and sometimes with your tongue out in an attempt to get more oxygen
  • Orthopedic posture (with the front legs apart) also in an attempt to make breathing more productive
  • Obvious breathing difficulties
  • If oxygen is lacking, the mucosal coloration can be cyanotic, that is, a bluish hue
  • Sneezing

In the most serious cases, will produce a collapse and, of not receiving urgent veterinary assistance, the dog could die.

Asthma treatment in dogs

If we appreciate in our dog any of the aforementioned symptoms we must inform the veterinarian since, as we have said, if asthma is not treated it will be aggravated and the consequences could be fatal.

The goal of treatment is based on dilate the bronchi to recover the flow of air and, therefore, improve breathing. For this, corticosteroids and bronchodilators are used. In severe cases of respiratory crisis it is also important to provide oxygen. In addition, the handling must be careful because if this causes stress, breathing will be more difficult, making the picture worse.

It is possible to give the medication orally but administer it through inhalers It has the advantage of reducing side effects and acting faster. These devices are used by spraying in a chamber where the dose of the medication is contained so that the dog, when breathing in it, inhales it. Of course, all medication, as well as its dose and frequency of use, should be prescribed by the veterinarian.

If there is an asthmatic member in the family, it is easy to ask the question of whether a dog can be ventilated. The answer is negative because, we insist, although we usually use some medications, give us good results or seem innocuous, the truth is that giving drugs for human use to dogs can have fatal consequences. Therefore, we can only use those prescribed by the veterinarian.

Home remedies for asthma in dogs

If our dog has been diagnosed with asthma we must provide an environment that minimize the risk of having an attack. To do this, we will implement measures such as the following:

  • Keep the house ventilated
  • Vacuum frequently
  • Do not lift dust in the presence of the dog or use aerosols, including dog colonies
  • Avoid exposure to smoke
  • Remove carpets
  • Use air purifiers

As for the natural bronchodilators for dogs We can offer chamomile for its anti-stress effect, which will help you breathe better. A teaspoon of natural oatmeal will also get a calming effect. We can resort to these remedies as medication companions prescribed by the veterinarian, never as substitutes.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Asthma in dogs - Symptoms and treatment, we recommend that you enter our section of Respiratory Diseases.

The main reasons that trigger the disease are allergies and dust.

Asthma is a disease that can also affect your beloved furry friend, specifically dogs and cats, regardless of age or size, so if you have a dog or a feline that makes you company, look well in the following symptoms, because they can mean that they suffer from an asthmatic picture.

If your dog or cat stops eating and loses weight, has a slow and marked cough and breathing, moves more slowly or looks fatigued, you should take it to the vet, as this may mean that your friend has asthma.

However, dogs are less likely to have asthma than cats, since their lungs are less elastic, which prevents spasms in the bronchial tubes that cause respiratory difficulties caused by asthma, although when they suffer, this it can lead to more acute and chronic processes due to its innate respiratory difficulties.

Do not be fooled by appearances. That a dog has a flat nose does not mean that it is more prone to suffer from asthma.

Since asthma is associated with allergic processes, you can prevent it by maintaining proper hygiene in your home, to avoid dust accumulation. To achieve this, it is advisable to vacuum carpets and upholstery in a normal way and remove the dirt with cloths that catch it and do not spread it. With this you will also be protecting your family and keep a clean home.

Can a dog have asthma?

The answer is yes, although it is rare, it affects only 1 in every million dogs. The reason is due to their anatomy that is different from humans and cats, and they have less elastic lungs and do not suffer spasms in the bronchi that cause asthma. The percentage of asthma is higher in the feline world, which affects 10% of cats. The allergic dogs or with brachycephalic syndrome, they are usually prone to more acute and chronic respiratory problems but this does not mean they have asthma. Asthma has a genetic factor but can also derive from the development of a respiratory allergy not treated properly.

What causes asthma?

Although the cause is unknown exactly, asthma is related to a genetic predisposition and external environmental agents (dust, pollen, smoke, gums ...). The bronchi of the animal react to the oxygen, close, swell and block with mucus, making it difficult to pass air at risk of suffocation. It can also be derived from an infectious respiratory disease such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

How to prevent asthma?

Ideally, to prevent asthma attacks is to avoid the triggering allergens, reducing the attacks will help them not to become chronic. It is necessary to eliminate, as far as possible, dust and smoke from the environment, in addition to carrying a Good control with deworming and not allowing the animal to be overweight.

  • Hygiene at home If your dog is allergic to dust, you should maximize household hygiene to reduce dust and eliminate dust mites. Vacuum often and keep all carpets and upholstery that accumulate particles well clean and airy. E vita the environmental dryness, you can place a humidifier to reduce the particles present the air. If your dog is allergic
  • Avoid exposure to pollen. If your dog is allergic to pollen, you should be careful and avoid taking the dog for a walk in the hours and areas where the greatest amount of pollen is generated, especially in the spring season, which is when these types of allergic reactions increase rustic.

Why does asthma occur?

Asthma is a condition in which there is respiratory distress and inflammation and narrowing of the bronchi. It is usually accompanied by cough, wheezing-like breathing noises (wheezing), open mouth breathing, weakness, exercise intolerance, as well as weight loss and appetite. Often the animal adopts the body posture that makes breathing easier, also called orthopedic posture, for example, with the neck stretched forward to favor the entry of air into the lungs.

This process is the result of the interaction of the pet's immune system with environmental allergens, such as: chemical products (pesticides, fertilizers, paints, perfumes, air fresheners ...), pollens, dust mites, and so on.

If you suspect that your pet may have asthma, the most reasonable thing is to go to the veterinarian to explore it, since there are other diseases whose symptoms may resemble, such as lung infections, parasitic worm of the heart (filaria) or heart disease among other.

Alternatives in the treatment of asthma

Usually, asthma treatment consists primarily of identify and avoid the allergen, if possible, and secondly, in the application of corticosteroids to relieve inflammation of the bronchial tubes and bronchodilators to increase their diameter and facilitate the exchange of oxygen during breathing.

Both corticosteroids and bronchodilators may have side effects such as hypertension, fluid retention, increased susceptibility to infections, tachycardia, nausea or predisposition to diabetes. It is because of that The use of nutritional supplements in asthma control is very useful, which can help us reduce medication doses or decrease the frequency of asthma attacks.

A great ally in asthma control is the quercetin, a natural anti-inflammatory present in fruits and vegetables. This one acts restoring the elasticity of lung tissue and reducing the production of enzymes that destroy the alveolar walls, thus helping to maintain the normal structure and function of the lungs.

On the other hand, quercetin decreases histamine levels. Recall that histamine is a substance produced by the body, which is involved in inflammatory reactions. In the case of asthmatics, it acts on the smooth muscle of the bronchi causing its constriction. The effect of quercetin on the allergic response is so effective that there are studies that show how it helps to inhibit anaphylactic reactions in peanut allergic rats (1).

That is why the nutritional supplement Histamine Control of Stangest with active ingredients such as quercetin, extracted from Acacia from Japan or Sophora japonica, It is helpful in improving asthma symptoms. It also contains antioxidants such as vitamin C and grape seed. He grape seed extract reduces histamine levels, decreasing allergen sensitivity.

Histamin Control, therefore, has a beneficial effect for pets suffering from allergies and helps reduce the symptoms of it.

(1) Shishehbor F, Behroo L, Ghafouriyan Broujerdnia M, Namjoyan F, Latifi S.M. Quercetin effectively quells peanut-induced anaphylactic reactions in the peanut sensitized rats. Iran J Allergy Asthma Immunol. March 2010, 9 (1): 27-34

An article by Raquel Hernández, veterinarian