Has your dog been coughing recurrently lately, and you are wondering, does my dog have Asthma? Well, dogs unlike cats and human does not have a reactive airway, so they can’t have Asthma. However, they still suffer from numerous respiratory issues that can cause them to cough excessively.
Your dog’s recurring cough may be caused by Canine Influenza virus, kennel cough, or even bronchitis.
When we say bronchitis, it is the inflammation of the bronchi in dogs. Bronchi is a short pipe that connects a dog’s trachea to the alveoli where the exchange of gases occurs.
When the bronchi become inflamed, it becomes filled with mucus which blocks inhaled air from passing into the lungs. In a bid to clear the airways, coughing happens as a reflex, and it may be continuous and get worse if the bronchi keep getting blocked by mucus.
There is a lot to know about bronchitis in dogs and this blog post, we have revealed all you need to know including the causes, treatment, prevention, and most importantly the answer to this question “Is bronchitis contagious in dogs?”
Without further ado, let’s begin!
What is Canine Bronchitis?
Canine bronchitis refers to inflammation in the bronchial tubes of dogs. It can be caused by various factors such as infections, irritants, or allergies.
It can also be either acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis affects middle-aged dogs, and it is often caused by viral or bacterial infections. It is usually temporary and will stop after a few weeks with simple medications.
However, prolonged acute bronchitis can lead to chronic bronchitis. In this case, the symptoms last for long and can’t even be cured completely but they can be managed throughout the dog’s lifetime.
What Are the Symptoms of Canine Bronchitis?
The major symptom of bronchitis in dogs is a persistent cough. However, it may also present some outward visible signs such as:
- Wheezing while breathing
- Feverish condition
- Difficulty in breathing
- Production of excess mucus or frothy saliva after coughing
- A harsh dry cough accompanied by gagging and retching (usually common in viral bronchitis)
Is Bronchitis Contagious in Dogs?
The answer to the question above is not a straightforward YES or NO. Bronchitis can be contagious if caused by viral or bacterial infection. In this case, it can potentially spread to other dogs through respiratory droplets.
However, bronchitis is not always caused by infections, it can also be caused by non-infectious factors like irritants or allergies. In this case, bronchitis isn’t contagious.
How is Canine Bronchitis Diagnosed?
The major symptom of bronchitis in dogs is coughing. Although, coughing can be caused by other health issues such as kennel cough, respiratory infection, heartworm, lungworm, etc.
With that being said, it isn’t logical that you just conclude that your dog has bronchitis simply because you saw it coughing recurrently.
To diagnose bronchitis, the best thing to do is to visit a vet. The vet will perform physical examinations and diagnostic tests such as bronchoscopy and X-ray.
How To Treat Bronchitis in Dogs
Bronchitis can be treated in different ways depending on its severity whether acute or chronic. Some of the methods of treating bronchitis in dogs include:
1. Apply Steam Therapy
Steam therapy is a great treatment technique against respiration problems in dogs. Since, bronchitis deals with the respiratory process, it can also be applied to treat bronchitis.
It is also important to note that steam therapy should only be applied for acute bronchitis and not chronic, as this technique can only help alleviate some symptoms, but it does not address the underlying cause of bronchitis.
To treat bronchitis using steam therapy, follow these steps:
Step 1: Take your dog to the bathroom.
Step 2: Put on the hot shower and turn it off after five minutes.
3rd Step: Allow your dog to breathe the hot steam that would result from it.
Step 4: Allow your dog to inhale this steam for about three to five minutes.
This technique aims to allow your dog to inhale humid air which can help clear its airpipe already blocked by mucus.
2. Use of Antibiotics, Steroids and Corticosteroids
The specific antibiotic requirement for your dog would be administered by your vet. However, the common treatments for acute bronchitis usually administered by vets are doxycycline, amoxicillin, and the like.
Aside from antibiotics, veterinarians usually recommend steroids or Glucocorticoids such as prednisolone to reduce inflammation and also stop the cough irritation cycle.
However, steroids and corticosteroids are not recommended for longer use as they have side effects such as increased appetite, increased thirst for water, frequent urination, and aggressiveness.
It is also important to note that while getting your dog treated for bronchitis, you should him from other dogs. This is because as stated earlier, bronchitis can be contagious in dogs if it’s caused by a virus or bacteria.
A bronchodilator is another medication your vet may recommend. Bronchodilators are like medicine that helps dogs with bronchitis breathe better. They work by expanding airways where smooth muscles have become constricted, making it easier for them to breathe and reducing coughing.
How To Prevent Bronchitis in Dogs
I believe we are all familiar with the popular saying “Prevention is better than cure”. Instead of spending money to cure your dog’s bronchitis, you can easily prevent it by doing the things highlighted below.
Modify your Environment.
If you live in an environment where the air is dominated by dust or cigarette smoke, then the chances of your dog being affected by bronchitis would be high.
So, to prevent your dog from having this disease, reduce the number of environmental stimuli such as dust, cigarette smoke, fumes, household powders, or aerosols that can irritate your dog’s respiratory tract.
You may also invest in a humidifier or air filter that can cleanse the air in your dog’s environment and make them safe for inhalation.
Keep Your Dog Healthy
Your dog should be of the right size if you want bronchitis to be far from your dog. It has been scientifically shown that an obese dog faces a higher risk of being affected by bronchitis. This is because, when obese, their obese experience a closure that cannot be found in healthy dogs.
To help your dog maintain a healthy weight, feed them nutritionally dense foods and avoid highly processed or canned foods. You may also incorporate fruits into their diet as an occasional treat.
Vaccinating your dog against diseases such as distemper, parainfluenza, canine adenovirus 2, and Bordetella can help prevent canine bronchitis.
These diseases are often the cause of infectious bronchitis in dogs. However, vaccinating your dog against them beforehand can help protect your furry friend.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does Acute Bronchitis Last in Dogs?
For dogs, acute bronchitis (bronchitis at its early stage), can last up to two months. Beyond this time frame, symptoms can become severe and then can be called chronic bronchitis.
How Can I Treat My Dog Bronchitis at Home?
If after diagnosis, your vet finds out that your dog’s bronchitis is acute and non-infectious, you may proceed to treat them using home remedies like steam therapy. Steam therapy involves allowing your dog to inhale a hot steam shower for a short period (usually five minutes). When done, it can reduce the effect of bronchitis on your dog and bring relief to your dog.
Can Bronchitis Spread from One Dog to Another?
Bronchitis can be contagious or non-contagious depending on its causative factor. If your dog’s bronchitis is caused by viral or bacterial infection, it can be contagious. However, if it is caused by a non-infectious factor like allergies, or irritants in the environment, it will be non-contagious.
Should You Walk a Dog with Bronchitis?
You shouldn’t walk your dog with bronchitis. This is because the coughing and gagging may make the leash uncomfortable for the dog.
Aside from that, taking a walk outside with your sick dog might expose him to environments full of irritants such as smoke, dust, mold, pollen, etc. In this case, your dog’s healing process might be impeded leading to a prolonged case of bronchitis.
Is Bronchitis contagious in dogs? The answer to this question can be YES and No.
Yes, in the sense that bronchitis is contagious if it is caused by bacterial or viral infections. While on the other hand, if caused by a non-infectious factor like allergies or irritants, it is non-contagious.
Bronchitis in dogs may be acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis usually lasts for a few weeks before it relieves your dog. However, if it continues for more than 2 months, it can develop into chronic bronchitis.
Bronchitis should only be diagnosed by a vet and after diagnosis, treatment Is often medications like antibiotics, steroids, corticosteroids, or bronchodilators. You may also involve steam therapy to soothe and relieve your dog’s bronchitis symptoms. This should only be done if the bronchitis is acute.
We believe that with the vet-approved tips outlined in this article, you have found the right solution to getting rid of bronchitis in your dog. Be sure to share this article with other dog owners who you think may find it helpful.
Before you go, you can also read: What are the Pros and Cons of Rattlesnake vaccines for Dogs.