Easy Breathing: Dealing with Asthma in Pets
Asthma is a common health condition in both humans and pets characterized by inflammation in the lungs and/or uncontrolled mucus or fluid production that may block the airways. Like with humans, asthma in pets is essentially an allergic response to something in the environment. Both cats and dogs can develop asthma, although cats and smaller dogs are more prone to the disease.
Symptoms of Asthma in Pets
Asthma in pets is categorized by specific upper respiratory symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and in some cases emergency treatment may be needed.
- Excessive panting
- Difficulty breathing, wheezing
- Wide, open-mouthed breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Blue or white gums
Because asthma is an acute allergic reaction to something in the environment, it’s important to be aware of what potential allergens your pet may be exposed to. Some common triggers include:
- Dust and dust mites
- Second-hand smoke
- Household cleaners
- Air fresheners
- Perfume or cologne
- Scented laundry detergent
- Cat litter particles
- Pesticides and herbicides
Care and Treatment
Before your pet can be diagnosed with asthma, all underlying medical conditions must be ruled out. Medications such as steroids are often prescribed to help get the allergies under control, and in severe cases oxygen therapy and bronchodilators may be used.
Your pet’s ongoing comfort will depend largely on their home environment and care. Consider the following lifestyle changes carefully:
- Eliminate the use of chemical cleaning products and scented laundry detergents and soaps.
- Use HEPA filters on vacuums and furnace filters, and change them regularly.
- Don’t use cologne, perfume, or body spray around your pet.
- Vacuum and dust on a regular basis.
- Wash your pet’s bedding weekly.
- Brush and bathe your pet often (check with your vet for recommendations on hypoallergenic bathing products).
- Switch to dust-free cat litter.
- If possible, replace carpeting with hard flooring.
We’re Here for You
Prevention and treatment are critical to maintaining your pet’s long-term health, comfort and happiness. For more information on asthma in pets, or to schedule an appointment for your pet, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.