Breathing problems aren't exclusive to humans; dogs can also face respiratory issues. Our Mount Vernon veterinarians will provide insights into when dog owners should be concerned and will review signs, treatments, management, and prevention strategies.
Common Respiratory Problems
Numerous illnesses and conditions have a direct impact on the lungs. This is also the case for dogs, as they are susceptible to such diseases as:
Canine Distemper Virus: Distemper virus affects not only the respiratory system but also the nervous and gastrointestinal systems. This virus spreads very fast in areas where dogs are kept together.
Treatment options are limited in dogs with distemper. Vaccinations are available for distemper from your Mount Vernon vets.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): COPD is a lasting health issue that triggers inflammation in the lungs. This condition is not reversible and develops gradually. It's also referred to as chronic bronchitis. While COPD can't be fully treated, there are ways to control it. These include antibiotics, bronchodilators, and chest physiotherapy.
Kennel Cough: Kennel cough is a highly contagious illness that can be caused by either bacteria or a virus. It is called kennel cough because it quickly spreads through dogs when they are in close contact with one another.
Kennel cough is most common in the middle to late summer. Antibiotics can help treat dogs who come down with kennel cough.
Pneumonia: Pneumonia is a lung infection that inflames the lungs. It can be caused by allergens, lungworms, bacteria, viruses, or things like food and foreign objects getting into the lungs. Antibiotics can help treat pneumonia.
Lung Tumors: Lung tumors often are caused by tumors from other parts of the body, such as the abdominal organ, bones, or skin. The most common tumor that starts in the lungs is pulmonary adenocarcinoma. Most of these tumors are malignant.
Most often, pulmonary adenocarcinoma occurs in animals who are more senior (over the age of 11).
Lung tumors are very hard to treat. Surgery is an option, but if the tumor has spread, it's less likely to be effective.
Colds and Flu: Just like people, dogs can catch colds and the flu. When dogs get these illnesses, they often show similar symptoms as humans. If left untreated, these conditions can turn into more severe illnesses. Usually, a dog's immune system is strong enough to fight off these illnesses without needing treatment.
If your dog's symptoms are severe, you can assist in their recovery by offering ample fluids, administering antibiotics, and providing extra meals.
Symptoms of Respiratory Problems
The most common signs of respiratory problems include
- Difficulty breathing
- Gagging after coughing
- Blue gums
- Nasal congestion
- Exercise intolerance
Depending on the condition, other symptoms may also be present. Lethargy, fever, lack of appetite, and numerous other systems may also be noticeable to pet owners.
Diagnosing and Treating Respiratory Problems
Your Mount Vernon can diagnose some respiratory conditions. However, they may require further treatment. Diagnosing these conditions could require X-rays or other tests like blood. Treatments are different for different respiratory conditions. Antibiotics can be helpful in some cases, but they won't help all conditions. Respiratory and ventilatory therapies can help with lung problems. Ventilator treatments can also be helpful for a dog with breathing troubles.
Preventing Respiratory Problems
Not all respiratory problems can be prevented, but some can be prevented. Like human flu spots, there is always a possibility that your dog will get a strain that they weren't vaccinated for, but often the vaccine is very effective in preventing illness. In the case of some of these illnesses, the best thing you can do for your pet is just to watch for signs of illness.