Animals Can Suffer from Asthma
October 23, 2012
Asthma is a disease that can affect both dogs and cats. Also known as allergic bronchitis, asthma is an inflammation of the airways that is caused by an allergic reaction. Asthma results in an obstruction of the airways when the bronchi (i.e. the air passages in the lungs) fill up with mucous and go into spasms. It is far more common in cats than dogs.
Dogs and cats of any age can get asthma, but it occurs more commonly in young and middle-aged pets. The primary sign is coughing. Owners often report wheezing and, in rare cases, respiratory distress. In some cases, pets may become lethargic and stop eating, resulting in weight loss. It is rarely life threatening. Between episodes, pets are usually normal.
To diagnose asthma, it is necessary to take an x-ray of the chest to rule out other respiratory medical problems. Once a diagnosis of allergic bronchitis has been made, treatment often consists of steroids, antihistamines, bronchodilators, or a combination of these drugs. In severe attacks, an injection of epinephrine may be necessary.
The prognosis for control of this disease is excellent, with most pets living happy and normal lives with the help of life-long medication. Unless an underlying cause can be determined, a cure is unlikely. Your veterinarian can help to determine both the cause of asthma as well as the treatment options available for your pet.