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Bronchitis in Dogs

Can a dog get bronchitis? What causes it? What are the symptoms of bronchitis in dogs? What treatments are most often used to treat dogs with bronchitis? Today, our Pine Grove vets answer questions about this common respiratory illness.

Can dogs get bronchitis?

They sure can! Just like people, our canine companions are also susceptible to a variety of respiratory illnesses. This includes bronchitis.

What is bronchitis in dogs?

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the air passages (bronchial tubes) that carry each breath to the lungs. When your dog's bronchial tubes become inflamed, mucus and secretions begin to accumulate and can lead to symptoms such as coughing, breathing difficulties and other respiratory issues.

In dogs, we see two different types of bronchitis, chronic and acute. Chronic bronchitis lasts for two months or longer and is typically seen in dogs that are middle-aged or older. Acute bronchitis is seen in dogs of any age, clears up within a few weeks with treatment, and is generally caused by a viral infection.

Is Pneumonia the same as bronchitis?

Pneumonia is not the same as bronchitis; however, it can develop as a direct result of bronchitis if the inflammation reaches the lungs.

What are the most common symptoms of bronchitis in dogs?

If your dog has bronchitis, the first thing you are likely to notice is a persistent cough. In some cases, the cough can sound like a goose honking, and other times it can appear as if your dog is choking.

Other signs of bronchitis in dogs can include:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing
  • Frothing saliva followed by coughing/gagging
  • Fatigue/Lack of energy
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Rapid loss of consciousness followed by coughing
  • Loss of appetite

If your dog has a persistent cough, and/or any of the symptoms listed above, contact your veterinarian to book an appointment.

What causes bronchitis in dogs?

So, how do dogs get bronchitis? Well, that depends on which form of the condition you are asking about.

Acute bronchitis tends to be the result of viruses, such as canine adenovirus, canine distemper virus, canine herpes virus, parainfluenza virus, bordetella bronchiseptica and streptococcus zooepidemicus. These viruses are rapidly transmitted from one dog to another in areas such as dog parks, kennels and dog shelters.

While old age is often a factor in the development of chronic bronchitis, the condition can also result from anything that irritates the airway, including, prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke or other irritants, damage to the respiratory tract system, trauma, infections and heart disease.

What is the treatment for dog bronchitis?

Most dogs recover from acute bronchitis with just a little extra attention and TLC from pet parents. More severe cases and chronic bronchitis may require other treatments and medications, such as:

  • Rest with limited exercise
  • Keeping your dog warm and dry indoors
  • Steam therapy to loosen secretions
  • Weight loss diet to reduce strain on the respiratory system
  • Anti-inflammatory corticosteroids such as prednisone
  • Bronchodilators such as theophylline
  • Cough suppressants
  • Antibiotics to clear up secondary infections

Is there a way to prevent my dog from developing bronchitis?

Vaccines are available to protect against many of the viruses that can cause bronchitis in dogs, including distemper, parainfluenza, canine adenovirus-2, and Bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough). Your veterinarian can recommend the most appropriate vaccines for your dog based on your pup's risk factors and lifestyle.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Does your dog have a persistent cough? Contact our Pine Grove veterinary hospital right away to book an examination for your canine companion.

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Pine Grove Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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