Coughing. This symptom seems benign enough, but if your dog develops a harsh dry cough that may or may not be productive and persists for more than a few days, the cause should be investigated by your veterinarian in Markham. Coughing can indicate many conditions, such as heart disease, tracheal collapse, heartworm infection, pneumonia, bronchitis, kennel cough and other afflictions. A persistent cough that lasts for more than two months, without evidence of other conditions could possibly be caused by chronic bronchitis. In this case the coughing may be triggered by exercise and excitement. Episodes often end with gagging, retching, and the expectoration of foamy saliva which can be mistaken for vomiting.
What is chronic bronchitis?
Simply put, the term bronchitis means inflammation of the bronchi. Bronchi are tubes in your dog’s lungs, made of cartilage, that allow oxygen to make its way from the nose and mouth down into the lungs. When the dog’s lungs are irritated by a substance – perfume,
cigarette smoke, scented candles, air pollution – it causes them to cough. This produces more irritation in the airways, and the lungs respond by creating mucus. This increase in mucus then makes the dog cough even more. It is a vicious cycle that needs to be managed by your veterinarian in Markham. So although some cases are preceded by kennel cough, infectious agents usually do not play a role except as secondary invaders. House dust, cigarette smoke, and other atmospheric irritants contribute to bronchial inflammation.
What dogs develop this condition?
Older, small breed dogs and obese dogs are much more prone to this condition.
How is it diagnosed?
X-rays of the chest can be used to aid in diagnosis of bronchitis and to rule out other causes for chronic coughing. There may be some evidence of bronchitis on an x-ray, but there are other procedures that the veterinarians in Markham prefer to use that can give a more accurate diagnosis.
Bronchoscopy, a procedure in which a tiny camera is inserted into the airways, is very helpful in diagnosing bronchitis. A sample of mucus and/or tissue from the lungs is usually taken during the procedure for laboratory analysis. Tracheal washing, a procedure in which a sterile tube is inserted into the airways to collect samples, is also helpful. Once the tube is removed, the material is rinsed off, and any fluid or tissue is sent to the lab for testing.
These tests do involve the use of sedation or general anesthesia, which may be risky to dogs with airway disease, so it is best to discuss all the risks and benefits of these tests with your veterinarian in Markham. If your dog is not a good candidate for anesthesia, medication trials may be prescribed to see if there is any improvement.
What does treatment involve?
Chronic bronchitis cannot be completely cured. Treatment involves the use of medical management to control the cough, and make your dog as comfortable as possible. A variety of antihistamines, cough suppressants, antibiotics, steroid inhalers, oral steroids, nebulization and coupage can be used. Some dogs will require the use of several different medications to control the symptoms. Frequent check-ups from your veterinarian in Markham will be required to closely monitor this condition.
Avoiding irritating substances, such as fragrances, cigarette smoke, and chemical cleaners is a good idea. Eliminate stress and strenuous exercise as much as possible. Using a harness instead of a collar will also help reduce pressure on the trachea.
A weight loss plan should be developed if your dog is overweight. Excess fat in the chest can push on the lungs, causing diminished air capacity. Simply losing weight can help tremendously for some dogs with this condition.
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Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham
Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.
Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.).
Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.