A couple of days ago, we talked about how an AeroKat helps cats suffering from feline asthma. Today we want to discuss another product by Trudell Animal Health, the AeroDawg for chronic bronchitis in Dogs.
What Causes Chronic Bronchitis in Dogs
The air passages between the nose and the lungs of any mammal are quite sensitive. The windpipe, trachea, and the larger air tubes that lead to the lungs are prone to minor irritations. When the problem lasts for more than a few days, it may result in an inflammatory reaction in the smaller interior airways of the lungs known as bronchitis. This condition can be difficult to relieve and may result in several months of incessant coughing if left untreated.
Acute vs. Chronic Bronchitis in Dogs
The less serious type of bronchitis generally follows a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu and is relatively common during the colder months. Patients typically suffer from an unpleasant and persistent cough for about two weeks before the symptoms subside. By comparison, chronic bronchitis may be an early warning sign of a much more serious lung disease that must be treated as soon as possible.
Which Dogs are at Risk of Suffering from Bronchitis?
Just like their masters, dogs can suffer from either form of bronchitis. More often than not, the acute condition will resolve itself within a couple of weeks. But if your dog continues to cough for more than a month, see the veterinarian as soon as possible. The longer you wait the harder and longer it will take to treat the ailment.
Because their immune systems are either immature or too mature, puppies and older dogs are more susceptible to bronchitis than middle-aged pets. Although some cases are exacerbated by infectious agents or by common kennel cough, they rarely play a role, except in chronic cases that last for several months without treatment.
Symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis in Dogs
It is not at all uncommon for domesticated animals to cough or gag, but when they have bouts of coughing that are triggered by excitement or activity, it may mean that their airways are severely irritated. The more serious the sickness the more your pouch will cough and gag and expectorate as a way to clear the throat and lungs. Your dog’s appetite should not be affected and his weight should therefore remain unchanged.
Complications of Chronic Bronchitis in Dogs
When chronic bronchitis is left unaddressed, it may permanently damage the lungs and even increase the risk of congestive heart failure. The most common result of chronic coughing is called emphysema, which is when the air sacs inside the lungs (also known as the alveoli) are enlarged, which can cause shortness of breath in our canine friends.
Treatment of Canine Chronic Bronchitis at Home
Whether we walk on two legs or four, most animals get sore throats from time to time. And when we do, we tend to avoid dishes that may aggravate our symptoms, such as spicy foods. An animal suffering from bronchitis can be sent into a coughing fit if anything irritates or tickles the throat or lungs. This includes environmental agents, pollutants, dust, and cigarette smoke. While exercise is important and can actually expedite the healing process, don’t overdo it!
If your dog is overweight, he or she should be put on a diet, since excess pounds puts more pressure on the windpipe and lungs and makes it harder to breathe! It is also important to switch from a collar to a chest harness for the very same reason. A humidifier may also help soothe your dog’s irritated airways.
Medical Treatment of Chronic Bronchitis in Dogs
Whether the problem is an acute or a chronic one, your veterinarian may prescribe medications to reduce bronchial inflammation. If your pouch responds positively to these drugs, he or she may be placed on a bronchodilator, such as albuterol, which can help relax inflamed airways and reduce respiratory strain. This class of drugs can be quite beneficial to dogs suffering from retching, wheezing, and other airway spasms.
Flovent HFA (fluticasone) given with an AeroDawg Inhalation Chamber for Chronic Bronchitis in Dogs
The most effective way to fight a lung problem is with an inhaler, which is used to deliver a straight shot of a steroid directly into the lungs. Prescribed to humans for both asthma and chronic bronchitis sufferers, it is also effective on our pets. But because it can be expensive, veterinarians often exhaust every other option before they prescribe Flovent. The drug is typically administered twice a day via an inhalation chamber called an AeroDawg and may be taken in conjunction with an antibiotic, depending on the severity of the disease. Your dog’s veterinarian may also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs called corticosteroids that reduce swelling in the lungs and airways. Both treatments have their fair share of side effects but are typically quite safe.
Has your dog needed to use an inhaler and AeroDawg. Please share your experiences in the comments section below so we all can learn how to help dogs with chronic bronchitis.