GASP! My Dog Has Asthma

pet breath Albuquerque vet
pet breath Albuquerque vet

It is always amazing how much we have in common with our dogs. We look alike, we pant when we run, we like chasing cats, and belly rubs, and we get asthma. Ok, maybe that last one is not so fun. Though dogs get asthma just like their human companions, it presents itself a bit differently and the treatment is different. Always remember, they are dogs and we are humans, what is good for us is very often not good for them.

FACT: Dog asthma tends to affect young and middle aged dogs, though older dogs can be affected, it is less likely.

Just like in humans, asthma can be very serious. For many dogs it is often a dry hacking cough that is persistent. It can be an occasional breathing problem or a very severe breathing problem that can lead to suffocation.

Symptoms of Asthma in Dogs

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Breathing problems (aka. Dyspnea)
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • “Blue” gums
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Lack of interest in exercise
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss

Any time your dog is having great difficulty breathing, or difficulty breathing over a long period of time, you need to get them into a vet immediately.

How Do You Get Dog Asthma?

Dog asthma, also called chronic allergic bronchitis, is most common in small dogs, though all breeds are susceptible.

This is a list of common allergens that can lead to chronic allergic bronchitis:

  • Smoke: Tobacco, fireplace, or wood stove
  • Perfume
  • Air fresheners
  • Household cleaners
  • Pesticides or fertilizer
  • Air pollution
  • Pollen
  • Mold spores
  • Particles from cat litter (see, your dog was right, the cat is out to get them)

How to Prevent Asthma in Dogs

Dog asthma is not always reversible so the best treatment is prevention.

  • Give your dog regular baths so any exposure allergens that can stick to their coat is cleaned off.
  • Don’t smoke near your pets. If you must smoke, please do it outside and away from your pets. This includes vaping.
  • Upgrade your wood burning stove for a pellet stove and convert your fireplace from log to gas or fake glowing logs. – Ok, we know that for most of us this is an unrealistic request. If you can’t do this, then make sure to get your chimney swept and exhaust pipes cleaned. If your fires are properly ventilated you will greatly decrease smoke exposure, and it will keep your house safer from fire.
  • Do not let your dog out for a couple days after you have been using fertilizer.
  • Use natural cleaners around your house.
  • Don’t wear perfume when not needed, or use essential oils.
  • Install air purifiers to reduce the air pollution in your home.
  • Make sure your evaporative cooler pads are not moldy and replaced as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Use dust free cat litter.

Treating Asthma in Dogs

The most important treatment option for dog asthma is removing the source of the allergen. If you do not remove the source of the allergen, it is more likely that your dog will continue to suffer. If you are not sure what is causing the asthma, you can speak with your Albuquerque vet and they will help you figure it out.

If removing the allergen is not enough to clear up the symptoms, or cannot be identified, your vet may prescribe a medication to help manage their symptoms. If your dog escalates to chronic asthma then some of the symptoms, such as the cough, will never fully dissipate.

Some of the treatments may include bronchodilators to reduce the severity of the attacks. These are given through an inhaler which fits over your dogs mouth. If there is an infection, he may be prescribed an antibiotic and a cough suppressant.

Asthma is not common in dogs. If you are concerned that your dog may have asthma, call your Albuquerque veterinary clinic to make an appointment to have them evaluated. Asthma can be very serious and should not be overlooked.

Swamp Cooler Filling Your Pets Lungs with Mold

evaporative cooler pet

As the weather gets hotter and hotter in Albuquerque, we are reminded that it is the season to get the evaporative coolers up and running. Though no one really likes the task, we all do like that it heralds the warm weather and the upcoming summer. Did you know that improper servicing of your evaporative cooler could be cause you and your pet health issues?

Have you ever turned on your swamp cooler and your house smelled musty. We all just say, oh that is the dust being blown out of the system or the pads just need to get some of the must out of them and then it will stop smelling. Well, that smell could be telling you that something is moldy.

Swamp coolers have big pads on the sides of them that get wet with water and then air is pulled through those pads and cooled down. That cool moist air is blown through our house and cools us down, as well as adding a little bit of humidity to our air. It feels great. The problem is, it is easy for a pad to develop mold in it over the winter and as you blow that cold air you are also blowing mold.

Breathing mold can cause things like:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Infection
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Chronic lung issues

Things To Check for During Swamp Cooler Maintenance

  • Look for visible mold on the pads. Even if it is not time to replace your pads, if you see mold, you need to replace them
  • Replace the pads according to the manufacturer recommended schedule, if not sooner.
  • Hose out the pan of the swamp cooler to clean out any debris that developed over the previous year.
  • If you see signs of mold anywhere on your cooler, thoroughly clean the cooler before turning it on.
  • Wet down the pads and rinse any dust and debris before you turn on the system.
  • Give your pads a sniff after they have been wet, if they smell moldy, they probably are, and it is time to get new ones.

Though doing a thorough mold check does take a little more effort, it is worth it for your health and the health of your pets.

If you notice your pets having any breathing issues, bring them in to your Albuquerque vet immediately for an evaluation. If they have had an allergic or asthma reaction, if addressed early enough it can prevent it from developing into a chronic condition.

TLC Plumbing has a great article on how to properly clean your evaporative cooler.

Vetco Is Hiring a Veterinarian

Vetco is hiring! We are looking for an associate veterinarian. We are a non critical pet clinic with no quota.

We are a high volume spay-neuter clinic.

We offer a competitive salary.

No emergency hours.

Closed Sunday.

Efficient support staff.

No-critical pet.

If you are interested please message us and we will provide you with a phone number to call to apply.