Bronchitis In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

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Bronchitis in dogs is a chronic or acute condition where the bronchial airways become inflamed. This results in symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing among other symptoms. Chronic bronchitis usually lasts over two months and affects middle-aged dogs, while acute bronchitis is characterized by severe, short-term symptoms that can appear in dogs of any age. If you see the signs of bronchitis in your dog, it is important to contact your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. If bronchitis goes untreated, it can lead to other conditions such as pneumonia in dogs. Most dogs recover from bronchitis without complications so long as they get proper treatment. Here is what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for bronchitis in dogs.

Symptoms Of Bronchitis In Dogs

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The main symptom of bronchitis in dogs is a harsh, dry, persistent cough that may get worse with physical activity. This is a symptom of other canine disease and conditions, which is why it is important to get to your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis if you see the signs of bronchitis. Here are a few common symptoms of bronchitis.

  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Fever
  • Retching or gagging
  • Spitting foamy saliva, sometimes mistaken for vomit
  • Excessive mucus
  • Exercise intolerance or worsening symptoms with physical activity
  • Difficulty breathing or increased rate of breathing
  • Sneezing or nasal discharge
  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy
  • In chronic bronchitis, temporary loss of consciousness after coughing due to lack of oxygen in the brain

Causes Of Bronchitis In Dogs

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The causes of bronchitis in dogs can vary depending on whether the condition is acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis is often caused by viral infections after contact with another infected animal. Sometimes bacterial infections can cause the condition, too. Kennel cough, the flu, and distemper are among the most common viral causes of acute bronchitis in dogs. Extreme temperatures, poor ventilation, and stress make infection more likely, as well as being in a place where contact with other animals is unavoidable, such as kennels, dog parks, and shelters. Here are a few common causes of acute bronchitis.

  • Adenovirus
  • Distemper
  • Herpes
  • Influenza
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Streptococcus zooepidemicus
  • Lung parasites
  • Smoke or airborne allergens

Chronic bronchitis in dogs is a condition that lasts for two months or longer. The cause of the condition is often unknown, but there are a few factors that make the condition more likely to develop. If acute bronchitis is left untreated, it may become persistent and lead to chronic bronchitis. Here are a few factors that may contribute to chronic bronchitis in dogs.

  • Respiratory infection or damage
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Age (middle-aged dogs are more at risk)
  • Airborne irritants such as dust, smoke, or chemicals

Treatments For Bronchitis In Dogs

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Treatment for acute bronchitis in dogs may include medications such as antibiotics, bronchodilators, and anti-inflammatories, such as prednisone, to treat infection and inflammation. The veterinarian may also prescribe a cough suppressant, though these are not usually given to dogs when there is an underlying viral or bacterial infection or if the cough is productive, meaning it expels mucus, phlegm, or pus. In cases where a dog is having significant trouble breathing, they may be hospitalized and given oxygen.

Chronic bronchitis is more difficult to successfully treat. Anti-inflammatories, cough suppressants, and bronchodilators can help keep affected dogs comfortable. Antibiotics can be used if there is a bacterial infection. A veterinarian may also prescribe a weight loss program. Obesity can greatly worsen symptoms of bronchitis, so maintaining a healthy weight is very important. One of the main treatments is to remove any irritants from an affected dog’s environment, including smoke, chemicals, perfumes, allergens, or other inhalants that can contribute to the condition. It is important to stick to any treatment your veterinarian advises and follow their guidelines closely.

Has your dog ever suffered from bronchitis? How did you treat it? Let us know in the comments below!