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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

Breathing Trouble: Asthma in Cats and Dogs 

Have you noticed breathing difficulty with your furry loved one as the weather warms? Or an increase in coughing, sneezing, and general lethargy? They may have asthma, or a related respiratory illness. 

Asthma can make your pet feel under the weather, as well as experience lowered immunity. The team at Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic is here to explain this condition and how to help your pet feel better.

What Is Pet Asthma?

Asthma is a respiratory illness that can be serious in some pets. Cats are more likely to develop asthma than dogs, but 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. During an asthma attack, the airway passages are blocked by excessive mucus. 

Asthma, as a reaction to allergies, can be caused by a number of things, such as:

  • Dust
  • Dust mites
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Cleaners and air fresheners
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Cat litter particles
  • Pesticides and fertilizers

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

Symptoms of Asthma in Cats and Dogs

Much like allergies, your pet will develop specific upper respiratory symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and in rare cases, emergency treatment may be needed. Symptoms often include:

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

An acute asthma attack can be serious because your pet is unable to get adequate oxygen. Call us right away if your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms.

Treatment and At Home Care

After underlying medical conditions are ruled out and your pet is diagnosed with asthma, they will likely be given steroids to manage the allergies. For more serious cases, oxygen therapy and bronchodilators may be used. Allergy testing and treatment may also be an option.

At home care and prevention is equally important to reducing your pet’s asthma symptoms. Please consider the following:

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

For More Information 

If you would like more information about asthma in cats and dogs, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us. Coughing and struggling to breathe is both uncomfortable and scary for you and your pet. Prevention and veterinary treatment are imperative to maintaining a healthier life for your fur friend.