Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the lungs and airways which can cause sudden (acute) episodes of increased airway mucus, airway constriction or narrowing, and trouble breathing. This may cause or increase coughing, sneezing in your pet. If you notice breathing difficulty with your furry loved one as the weather warms, they may have asthma or a related respiratory illness. Asthma can make your pet feel under the weather as well as experience lowered immunity.

What Is Pet Asthma?
Asthma is a respiratory illness that can be serious in some pets. While Cats are more likely to develop asthma than dogs both species are susceptible. Small breed dogs tend to experience asthma more often than large dogs. Asthma is an allergic reaction to something in the environment, which then manifests as breathing difficulty.

Asthma, as a reaction to allergies can be caused by a number of things like Dust mites, cigarette smoke, pollen, mold, cat litter particles, perfume sprays, dust, pesticides and fertilizers.

Depending on your pet’s sensitivity, a reaction can happen with even the smallest amount of particles.

Symptoms of Asthma
Much like allergies, your pet will develop specific respiratory symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and in rare cases a trip for emergency treatment may be needed. Symptoms usually include:

  • Difficulty breathing (wheezing, long inhales, etc.)
  • Wide, open mouth
  • Snoring
  • Excessive panting
  • Lethargy
  • Coughing
  • Appetite loss
  • Blue or white gums

An acute asthma attack can be serious because your pet is unable to get adequate oxygen. Always call if you suspect your pet is having an asthma attack or is struggling to breathe or is experiencing any of these symptoms.

How to help your furry friend
Avoiding inhaled allergens is one way to help prevent symptoms or attacks. Please consider the following to help improve the overall environment for your pet:

  • Get rid of carpeting and switch to tile or wood flooring.
  • Use HEPA filters on vacuums, furnace filters, and air conditioning units.
  • Use air filters.
  • Avoid spraying perfumes.
  • Don’t smoke around your pet.
  • Bathe your pet often.
  • Switch to a bowl of baking soda in rooms to absorb odor, rather than scented sprays.
  • Switch to natural lawn and garden care.
  • Don’t use cologne, body sprays, or perfume around your pet.
  • Eliminate the use of fireplaces in your home.
  • For your cat, switch to a dust-free litter.

After your pet is diagnosed with asthma, treatment may include steroids to help manage the allergies. For more serious cases, bronchodilators may be used to help open up the airways so your pet can breathe better. We may recommend Allergy testing also if required in some cases.

Asthma is life-long disease and may require a bit more care and watchfulness to keep them happy and healthy and you can help.

For More Information
If you would like more information about asthma in cats and dogs, or would like to schedule an appointment please call us @ 425-255-8676. Coughing and struggling to breathe is both uncomfortable and scary for your pet just like it is for us. At home prevention and treatment are will lead to a healthier life for your furry friend.