Melancholy dog rests on grey sofa

Breathing is one of those things that should happen without any major effort. But, for some of us it’s just not. There are many different things that can affect your pet’s respiratory system, and just like for humans, asthma in pets is a real condition. 

Luckily for you, the pet experts at Naperville Animal Hospital are here to sort it out and get your furry friend breathing easy again. 

When Good Lungs Go Bad

Asthma in pets is a long-term condition in which the airways become inflamed and narrow. This can make it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs. Asthma ‘attacks’ can happen at any time, causing a sudden increase in respiratory difficulty.

We don’t know why certain pets have asthma attacks, but it seems to be correlated to a very strong immune response to a substance in the airways. Asthma in pets can happen in any species, age, or breed, but cats and pets who are overweight appear to be most prone.

When an asthma attack happens, a sudden onset of symptoms can occur. They may be mild or very severe, and may include things like:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing or gagging
  • Blue or gray mucous membranes
  • Stretching the neck out, gasping, or open-mouth breathing (in cats)
  • Noisy breathing

Please let us know if your pet is displaying respiratory symptoms. While not all respiratory distress is asthma, all respiratory distress is a pet emergency

Diagnosing and Treating Asthma in Pets

When we suspect that a pet may be suffering from asthma, we turn to diagnostic testing for verification. We use radiographs (x-rays), blood work, tracheal washes, and parasite testing to rule out other conditions and prove an asthma diagnosis. 

Once asthma in pets has been diagnosed, we typically prescribe medications. Oral or inhaled corticosteroids, bronchodilators, and antihistamines are often the best medications to help with asthma.

Pet owners have a crucial role in managing an asthmatic patient, too. While you needn’t watch every breath your pet takes, it is important that you keep close tabs on your pet’s symptoms and bring them in for their rechecks as recommended.

It is also crucial that you minimize inhaled irritants in your pet’s home. Avoid smoke, air fresheners, candles, and incense. MInimize dust wherever possible and consider a home air filter to improve air quality. Be sure to use dust free kitty litter and have your pet go outdoors or in a different room while you vacuum and dust.

Thankfully, asthma in pets is typically a very manageable condition. While there is no cure at this time, when our staff works together with a dedicated pet owner, we are often very successful in providing our patients with a great quality of life. If you think your pet might have asthma, please call us today.