Millions of Americans suffer from asthma. What you may not know is that pets can develop asthma as well. Many pet owners ignore the symptoms of asthma not knowing that their pets could have this condition.

What Is An Asthma Attack?

Asthma is also known as allergic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, or chronic bronchitis. During an asthma attack, your pet's airway leading to the lungs can become constructed. It is often the result of a buildup of mucus that collects in his airway. This can cause the lungs to become inflamed, and in some cases, ulcerated. As a result, your pet's airway can spasm. This causes the constriction that can make it difficult for your pet to breathe.

What Pets Are At the Greatest Risk Of Developing Asthma?

Cats are more likely to develop asthma than dogs. Asthma is also common in brachycephalic dog breeds. These are dogs with flat or pushed in faces, such as Pugs.

What Are the Symptoms Of Asthma In Pets?

Asthma in pets can cause a variety of symptoms including:

    • Wheezing that sounds like a high-pitched whistle or sigh
    • Bluish-colored gums
    • Labored breathing
    • Open-mouth breathing
    • Lethargy
    • Lack of appetite
    • Intolerance to exercise
    • Weight loss

What Can Trigger An Asthma Attack In Pets?

Asthma attacks can come on for any reason; however, there are certain things that can trigger an attack.

    • Grass, pollen or ragweed
    • Mold and mildew
    • Smog and smoke
    • Household chemicals
    • Fertilizer
    • Pesticide
    • Dust Mites
    • Paint fumes
    • Cat litter dust
    • Air freshener

Diagnosing Asthma

If your pet is experiencing asthma symptoms, there are a few tests that your veterinarian will order to make a diagnosis.

    • X-rays
    • Transtracheal wash to remove and test cells from the lower airway
    • Bronchoscopy to visualize the inside of the lungs and collect a tissue sample
    • Fecal testing to check for internal parasites
    • Blood and urine tests

How Is Asthma Treated?

During a severe asthma attack, your vet can give your pet a small dose of epinephrine. To prevent attacks, your vet will prescribe a bronchodilator.  Your vet may also prescribe a steroid inhaler to stop an attack after it has started. Holistic medication can also be useful in preventing asthma attacks.

If your pet is experiencing the symptoms of asthma, you should schedule an appointment with Forest Hill Animal Hospital in Germantown. Our vet will run the necessary tests to determine if your pet's symptoms are a result of asthma. Because a severe asthma attack can be deadly, it is essential that you see our veterinarian right away. Not only can we prescribe medications to treat your pet's asthma, but we can also give you advice regarding removing the asthma triggers from your home. The sooner your pet is diagnosed, the sooner you can prevent future attacks.