Coughing is a symptom that causes pet owners to worry about their furry friends’ health. It is crucial to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if your pup is coughing. Many conditions can cause dogs to cough, but in this article, we will focus on bronchitis. We will discuss what bronchitis is, its causes, signs, and how it is diagnosed and treated. We will also address frequently asked questions about bronchitis in dogs.
What is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the bronchi, which are air passages in the lungs. The most common type of bronchitis in dogs is tracheobronchitis, which is a sudden onset of infectious bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is a long-term airway inflammation that results in daily or occasional coughing for more than two months. Chronic bronchitis tends to occur in middle-aged and older small-breed dogs, such as Toy Poodles and Pomeranians.
Causes of Bronchitis in Dogs
Bronchitis in dogs can be caused by different factors, depending on the type of bronchitis. Acute infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as kennel cough, is most often caused by bacteria, viruses, or both. The common culprits include Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria and Canine parainfluenza virus.
Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is not caused by an infectious agent. While the exact cause of chronic bronchitis is unknown, it is believed to be associated with an ongoing immune response that leads to changes in airways and excess production of mucus.
Signs of Bronchitis in Dogs
The most common sign of bronchitis in dogs is coughing. The type of cough varies depending on the type of bronchitis. In acute infectious tracheobronchitis, dogs have fits of coughing that sounds like a goose honking. They may also retch, gag, and bring up white foamy liquid. In chronic bronchitis, dogs commonly produce a harsh, dry, hacking cough that is often worse at night, in the morning, or during exercise or excitement. They may also have noisy breathing and reduced ability to exercise.
Diagnosis of Bronchitis in Dogs
Diagnosing bronchitis in dogs involves a physical examination and diagnostic tests. In acute infectious tracheobronchitis, veterinarians may make a presumed diagnosis based on the dog’s history. They may also take x-rays of the chest if there is a concern for pneumonia. In chronic bronchitis, veterinarians often rule out other possible causes of a cough by taking x-rays of the chest, collecting cells from the airway for cytology, and scoping the airways using bronchoscopy.
Treatment for Bronchitis in Dogs
The approach to treatment for bronchitis in dogs depends on the type of bronchitis. For acute infectious tracheobronchitis, many adult dogs only develop mild disease and can clear the infection on their own. If a dog is more severely affected, veterinarians prescribe a short course of anti-inflammatory or cough-suppressant medication. Young puppies, elderly dogs, and those with compromised immune systems may require antibiotics if there is a concern for pneumonia.
In chronic bronchitis, antibiotics are not necessary as it is not infectious. Instead, a combination of medications such as corticosteroids, bronchodilators, and cough suppressants is used to manage the condition. Veterinarians may also recommend a weight loss plan for overweight dogs as weight loss can result in significant improvement in their cough.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long does bronchitis last in dogs?
A: Acute infectious tracheobronchitis typically lasts a few days to two weeks. Chronic bronchitis, however, is a lifelong condition.
Q: Can bronchitis go away on its own?
A: Healthy adult dogs may clear mild cases of acute infectious tracheobronchitis by themselves, but young puppies, elderly dogs, and those with compromised immune systems may need antibiotics. Chronic bronchitis, however, will not go away on its own and requires lifelong medical management.
Q: How can I protect my dog against bronchitis?
A: The best way to protect your dog from infectious tracheobronchitis is to get them vaccinated against the common causes of kennel cough. Vaccination is especially recommended for young puppies. However, vaccination does not guarantee that your dog will not get kennel cough.
Coughing requires concern and immediate veterinary attention. Bronchitis is one of the many conditions that can cause coughing in dogs. It is essential to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if you observe any signs of bronchitis. Both acute and chronic bronchitis have different causes, and treatment approaches vary accordingly. Vaccination is the best way to protect dogs against infectious tracheobronchitis. Early intervention and management of chronic bronchitis may provide better results in managing the condition.