"Dog Bronchitis refers to inflammation of the airways or bronchi (Singular: Bronchus) which supply air to the lungs from the trachea. Each bronchus of the lung divides into smaller extensions, which are called bronchioles. In dogs, bronchitis has several causes including allergies, secondary bacterial and viral infections, parasites, environmental stress and sometimes lung cancer. Canine bronchitis can be acute or chronic in nature, which is characterized by persistent cough, wheezing and gagging. Diagnosis is based upon clinical examination, symptoms and chest X-Rays. An Additional laboratory culturing of mucous might be needed in complicated cases. Treatment is accomplished with the administration of broad spectrum anti bacterial agents and cough depressants. Mild canine bronchitis can be treated with natural remedies, which can also be used for added support in combination with specific drugs. Hygienic measures, warmth and rest is compulsory for early recovery and to reduce the chance of complications, since the lungs can become prone to acute infections. "
Causes of Dog Bronchitis:
Canine bronchitis is considered to be a minor issue, which is commonly caused by allergens, dust, environmental allergens and cold. But, in some cases, it can turn into a complicated health issue, like cases of bronchitis in dogs caused by secondary infections to those caused by pneumonia and pneumonia and tracheo-bronchitis (Kennel Cough).
Parasites like Aelurostrongylus abstrusus, Crenosoma vulpis, Capillaria aerophila and Oslerus osleri can cause dog bronchitis and other respiratory system complications in later stages of the disease. Similarly, common respiratory tract viral and bacterial infections, if they spread, can cause dog bronchitis as a secondary complication.
Young and old dogs are more susceptible to canine bronchitis, since they have relatively weakened immunity. On the other hand, dogs which are exposed to environmental stress, chemical fumes and owners that smoke most of time, gets their bronchi frequently inflamed.
Symptoms of Dog Bronchitis:
It is relatively impossible to identify canine bronchitis through symptoms alone, as most respiratory problems have almost the same signs and symptoms. It is believed that dogs with bronchitis exhibit signs such as a persistent cough, which produces a spasm that gets worse if the environment is changed or if a dog is put on rest. It is noted that in most of the dogs with only bronchitis, cough symptoms are more severe at the beginning of any exercise, even if it does not involve excessive running or jumping.
Other signs of canine bronchitis include wheezing and gagging. In mild cases, respiratory sounds remain normal. In terms of generalized signs, anorexia (loss of appetite) and mild fever may occur, but if the condition is severe or chronic, severe fever and respiratory signs such as cough, wheezing, gagging and stress are noted.
Diagnosis of Dog Bronchitis:
Clinical history, symptoms and examination can only confirm the immediate status of respiratory problem. Confirmation of the exact condition can never be identified with routine clinical procedures. In order to confirm the presence of bronchitis, chest X-Rays are considered to be the most effective tool, along with laboratory examination of respiratory mucous. In cases of bacterial or viral infections, blood work might also be needed. To carry on with an effective and safe treatment, other respiratory problems such as pneumonia, tracheo-bronchitis etc should be carefully eliminated. Advanced diagnostic techniques such as bronchoscopy, in vitro assay of mucosal swab and bronchial washing can help to confirm any chronic and/or complicated condition related to simple dog bronchitis.
In mild cases of dog bronchitis, only supportive therapy can help during recovery. This can be done either with prescribed specific drugs such as cough depressants, steroidal agents or with natural remedies. Both of these approaches are considered effective, but using natural remedies for this purpose are comparatively safer.
If canine bronchitis is a secondary viral or bacterial infection, broad spectrum anti microbial therapy is needed, which should only be done with a prescription from a veterinarian after sensitivity tests are complete to make sure the dog can tolerate medication prescribed.
Dog cough is the primary symptom that requires control. It can be done effectively with anti-tussives, that preferably contain codeine.
Natural remedies can help to control symptoms as well, but it is recommended that an owner follow the veterinarian's instructions, to avoid a worsening of the condition, which in turn could lead to severe lung complications.
Hygienic improvement, warmth and rest with specific and supportive therapies can lead to a timely recovery and to prevent any other respiratory complications.
Merck Veterinary Manual (Merck & Co.)
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