What’s causing severe respiratory illnesses in dogs?

What’s causing severe respiratory illnesses in dogs?

It's not just people who have breathing problems—dogs can also have a variety of breathing problems and illnesses. There have been more and more cases of dogs getting severe respiratory illnesses, which makes pet owners upset and desperately seeking answers. There are a lot of things dog owners should know about these breathing problems. They should know how to spot the signs of a breathing problem, how to treat or control it, and how to keep it from happening.  

The Respiratory System in Dogs

Before we talk about what causes lung illnesses in dogs, it's essential to know how their respiratory system works. The respiratory system's main job is to remove carbon dioxide from the blood and keep the body's tissues and bloodstream oxygenated. The nose, nasal tubes, sinuses, pharynx, and larynx are all parts of the upper respiratory system. It lets air get to the lungs. 

The airways, bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli in the lungs are all parts of the lower respiratory system. They help oxygen and carbon dioxide move through the lungs. A dog can get very sick if the exchange doesn't work right because of an illness or lung infection.

Common Dog Respiratory Illnesses

There are several lung illnesses and diseases that can happen to dogs, such as

1. Kennel Cough

    Kennel cough, which is also called Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, is an upper respiratory illness that spreads very quickly. It is caused by a number of different types of bacteria and viruses. Dogs can get it from each other through direct touch, droplets in the air, or objects that are contaminated, like water and food bowls. 

    It is straightforward to treat for most dogs, even though it is very infectious. But it can be worse in puppies younger than six months and dogs that don't have robust immune systems.3

    Symptoms of Kennel Cough

    Dry cough that won't go away, sometimes with retching or gagging.

    How to Treat Kennel Cough
    • Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics.
    • Using cough suppressants.
    • Rest and isolation are essential to stop the infection from spreading.

    2. Canine Distemper Virus

    Canine Distemper Virus, which is also called Footpad or Hard Pad Disease, is a dangerous virus that can spread to many animal groups and make them sick. The upper and lower breathing systems, as well as the brain and digestive systems, of a dog can get this virus. This is why the virus has other names. It can also make the pads of dogs' feet grow or harden.

    Canine Distemper Virus can happen to dogs of any age, but it is most likely to happen to puppies younger than four months old and dogs that have not been vaccinated.

    It is best to catch it early, especially if you keep your dogs close to each other because it can spread quickly through the air (through coughs or sneeze). 

    Symptoms of Canine Distemper Virus

    A discharge from the eyes that ranges from watery to pus-like

    • Fever
    • Lethargy
    • Coughing
    • Loss of appetite
    • Being sick
    • Circling behavior
    • Twitches in muscles
    • Convulsions
    • Salivation
    • Seizures
    • Paralysis, either partial or complete  

    How to Treat Canine Distemper Virus

    • Giving compassionate care to help ease problems.
    • Antibiotics are used to treat secondary bacterial illnesses.
    • Vaccinations as a way to stay healthy.

    3. Canine Chronic Bronchitis

    Dogs can get chronic bronchitis, which is a long-term illness that makes the lungs swell and hurts them permanently over time. All dog breeds can get chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), but small and toy breeds may be more likely to get it.

    Bronchitis in dogs can't be fixed or reversed, and it gets worse slowly over time. There are, however, treatments that can help control the disease and slow its growth.

    Signs that your Dog has Chronic Bronchitis

    • Coughing
    • Symptoms such as wheezing or other abnormal lung sounds
    • Having trouble breathing
    • Vomiting or retching
    • Gagging
    • loss of consciousness

     How to Teat Canine Chronic Bronchitis

    • The use of bronchodilators in order to open up the airways.
    • Corticosteroids are given to reduce inflammation.
    • Environment-based trigger management and control.

    4. Pneumonia

    Infection of the lungs called pneumonia is brought on by swelling of the air sacs in the lungs called alveoli. It's hard to breathe when these sacs get full of pus or fluid. 

    Many things can cause it, such as allergens, lungworms, bacteria, viruses, inhaled food or fluids, or foreign bodies. 

    Signs of a Pneumonia

    • High fever
    • Having trouble breathing
    • Decreased exercise tolerance (tire quickly)
    • Feeling tired
    • Coughing
    • Getting stuffy nose
    • Breathing out loud
    • Taking quick breaths
    • Loss of weight
    • Lack of appetite
    • Dehydration

    How to Treat Pneumonia

    • Antibiotics or antifungal medications are likely to be administered.
    • Oxygen treatment to help with breathing problems.
    • The implementation of measures that provide supportive care.

    5. Lung Tumors

    Lung diseases and problems in dogs, like lung tumors, can also affect their breathing health. There are two ways for lung tumors to grow in dogs: 

    • Lung tumors that start in the lungs are less common and tend to be primary.
    • Most of the time, lung tumors that start in another part of the body and then spread to the lungs are called metastasis. 

    In the last 20 years, more primary lung cancers have been identified. This is likely because people are living longer, finding and learning about cancer is more accessible, and people may be more exposed to environmental agents that cause cancer.9 

    Symptoms of Lung Tumors

    Primary lung tumors can cause different symptoms depending on where the cancer is, how fast it is growing, and if the person already has or has had lung disease. These are the most usual signs that a dog has a primary lung tumor: 

    • Coughing
    • Loss of weight
    • Lethargy
    • Heavy breaths
    • Poor appetite
    • Reduced exercise tolerance (tire quickly)
    • Taking quick breaths
    • Puffing up
    • Vomiting or regurgitation
    • Feeling sick
    • Lameness 

    How to Treat Lung Tumors

    • Surgical removal of small lumps in one area.
    • Cancerous masses can be treated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
    • You can get palliative care to ease your problems and make your life better.

    Prevention and Management of Severe Respiratory Illnesses in Dogs

    Here are the Prevention and Management of severe respiratory illnesses in dogs:

    • Regular trips to the vet are essential for keeping an eye on a dog's general health, including how well its lungs are working. Finding possible problems early on lets people act quickly, which leads to better results.
    • To keep dogs from getting lung infections, it's essential to make sure they have all of their shots up to date. Getting a vaccine for a disease like canine influenza or kennel cough can make getting sick a lot less likely.
    • Pet owners should be aware of what their dog is exposed to and try to keep it as free of possible toxins and allergens as possible. Keeping the air inside your home clean and making sure it stays that way can help your lung health.
    • Balanced food, regular exercise, and controlling their weight are all critical parts of a dog's healthy living. Obesity can make breathing problems worse, especially in breeds that are already prone to them.
    • Pet-proofing the house and its surroundings helps keep pets from accidentally coming into contact with dangerous substances. This includes blocking access to plants, chemicals, and other things that could be harmful to the lungs.

    Final Thoughts

    When we look at how complicated canine lung health is, it's clear that we need to use more than one method to avoid and treat problems. By learning about the different reasons why dogs get respiratory severe illnesses, pet owners and vets can work together to make sure that dogs' lungs work at their best. We can make sure that our beloved dogs live long and healthy lives by taking them to the vet regularly, learning about the problems that come with their breed, and committing to a healthy lifestyle.

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