Chronic bronchitis in dogs can affect all breeds and age groups, but it is much more frequent in small toy breeds or middle sized dogs.
If your dog is obese, it can add to the complications of this condition as your dog’s diaphragmatic function is impaired.
Once this happens, it will close the airways in your dog earlier than normal and as a result their ventilation is impaired.
This condition can also cause fast breathing, shortness of breath, or wheezing.
However, the most frightening aspect of this condition is the coughing that will develop.
Coughing on occasion will occur in all dogs, but when it becomes chronic it is now of the most chilling sounds you will ever hear.
In most cases it indicates a serious lung disease that can be slowed, but not cured.
Chronic bronchitis in dogs is an inflammation of the air passages between their nose and the lungs, and it includes the windpipe or trachea.
It also includes the larger air tubes of the lung that brings in the air from the trachea.
When your dog becomes afflicted with bronchitis it can be for a brief period, in which case it is acute, or if it lingers, it has become chronic and very dangerous.
The acute form of bronchitis is usually the result of a viral infection.
However it can also be the result of bacterial infections.
The acute form will in most all cases heal without any further complications.
Once it becomes chronic is has now become a very serious lung disease in your dog.
It can be slowed and treated, but it can never be cured entirely.
What makes it so very difficult to actually treat, is that once it does become chronic, the actual underlying cause is almost always idiopathic, meaning that there is no known cause.
Chronic bronchitis in dogs causes inflammation as well as irritation which alter their airflow. The airflow is usually altered by mucus which will lead to your dog developing a difficulty in breathing.
This can also be complicated by a very sudden or dynamic collapse or closing of your dog’s large airways when they breath out.
The bronchi and the trachea may totally collapse when your pet tries to force breath, or when they cough.
This will now start to happen more frequently as the mucus and secretions of the bronchi force your dog to cough.
As the Chronic bronchitis intensifies, mucus plugs may cause even further obstruction by interfering with the flow of air.
Once this chain of events starts, it becomes non-reversible and will begin to threaten your dog’s life.
Chronic bronchitis in dogs will show you several signs initially and the sooner you recognize them and understand what they may be, the sooner you can treat your dog or at least try to make their life more comfortable.
The first symptom is usually Tachypnea, which is a fast or rapid breathing by your dog. However, this condition can also be accompanied by what is referred to as dypsnea, which is shortness of breath.
Since this is the first warning sign that you will see, it is very helpful to understand what normal breathing in your dog actually means.
Normal respiration in your dog is between 10 and 30 breaths per minute.
The best time to test your dog for normal breathing is when they are asleep, as panting can throw the counts off.
In a normal breath, the chest of your dog expands as the breath enters, and sinks as the breath leaves. Neither of these will require any extra effort.
Once your dog passes this threshold, or is exerting pressure to try to breath, they most likely have chronic bronchitis.
As this condition increases, they will also start to show signs of gagging that can very easily be taken for vomiting.
They will also start wheezing and this will cause a sound almost like a squeak.
If you see the gagging and hear wheezing, watch them very closely next time you think they are vomiting. By now it should be very easy to identify it as gagging.
Next will come the most chilling of all the symptoms; coughing. Anytime your dog coughs more than a few times, it should stop you dead in your tracks as it is that serious.
Chronic bronchitis in dogs will cause the cough to be even more extreme by any type of exercise and they may have severe spells of coughing a couple of time during the day.
If your dog is in the severe state of bronchitis, they may also become cyanotic, which is where their tongues and gums become almost blue in color.
At this stage, if they cough, they will most likely faint as they cannot breathe.
Treatment for Chronic bronchitis in dogs will have to be done on an individual basis depending on the actual severity of your pet’s condition.
However, treatment can be extremely frustrating because the actual cause that triggered this situation is almost impossible to determine and as a result can be very difficult to control.
But there is one thing that is certain; it will not be cured and making the remainder of your dog’s life as comfortable as you can needs to be the objective.
One thing very important to remember when treating chronic bronchitis in dogs, this is not kennel cough as this is much more serious.
Natural remedies for coughs such as licorice will not be effective as this is too severe.
There are several cough suppressants that your veterinarian can recommend, but most of them only have one active ingredient.
There is one, called Nectadyn that contains mixtures of several herbal ingredients and can be very effective. If your veterinarian does not have it, it might be helpful to ask them about it.
But it will be important to remember that this is not a dry hacking cough, it is caused by mucus.
As such anti-inflammatory therapy is the most effective and usually involves prednisone, as it is designed especially for bronchitis.
Chronic bronchitis in dogs also has some treatments that you can use to help your dog live with this condition.
If they are overweight, it will only add to the problem, and as a result you will need to place them on a supervised diet as soon as possible.
If they wear a restraint color, replace it with a harness so it does not irritate their airways.
Try to avoid your pet breathing excessive house dust and by all means keep them away from second hand smoke.
A vaporizer or nebulizer will also help them liquefy the secretions and help reduce the cough.
But there is one other thing, although it is still not verified.
There are some very serious thoughts in the medical community that one of the actual causes may be any type of dental or oral infections
If your dog has developed chronic bronchitis, place them on a regimented routine of weekly or even daily tooth cleaning, as it can only help with the secretions.