Bronchitis In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

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Bronchitis in dogs is a condition where the bronchial airways become inflamed. It can also be chronic or acute and causes symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing among other symptoms.

Chronic bronchitis usually lasts over two months and affects middle-aged dogs, while acute bronchitis causes severe, short-term symptoms that can appear in dogs of any age.

If you see the signs of bronchitis in your dog, then it’s important to contact your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. If it goes untreated, it can lead to other conditions such as pneumonia in dogs. Most dogs recover without complications so long as they get proper treatment.

Here’s 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 also a symptom of other canine diseases and conditions, which is why it’s important to get to your vet for a proper diagnosis if you see the signs.

Here are a few common symptoms of bronchitis in dogs:

  • 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.

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, then 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 vet may also prescribe a cough suppressant, though they don’t usually give these to dogs when there is an underlying viral or bacterial infection or if the cough is productive, meaning it expels mucus, phlegm, or pus.

If a dog is having significant trouble breathing, then they may be hospitalized and given oxygen.

Chronic bronchitis is more difficult to successfully treat. However, anti-inflammatories, cough suppressants, and bronchodilators can help keep affected dogs comfortable. The vet may prescribe antibiotics can if there is a bacterial infection.

A vet 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.

Stick to any treatment your vet 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!