Friday, February 10, 2012

Asthma in Pets — Signs and Symptoms

Asthma is a serious respiratory condition that can affect animals as well as people. Generally, asthma is caused when irritants in the air cause some kind of obstruction in the airway. The result is inflammation or constriction of the airway and excessive mucus. Animals, however, lack the ability to describe their symptoms to their owners. Because of this, it is not always easy to tell if your pet has asthma. First, it is important to look at the symptoms displayed by your pet.

There are many signs that may indicate an asthmatic response, but as each pet is an individual, they will display individual symptoms. Some pets cough, but this cough often sounds like a hairball cough in cats, and so is often ignored by owners. In general, any signs of respiratory distress may indicate asthma. Serious symptoms might include wheezing, gasping for air through the mouth, or blue gums. If any of these symptoms are present at any time, you should immediately seek medical attention for your pet.

Outside of an emergency situation, if your pet displays any signs of respiratory distress on an ongoing basis, it is possible that your pet has asthma. The best way of coming to a firm diagnosis is to consult your veterinarian, working with him or her to discover the source of your pet’s problems. There is no single symptom for asthma, so your vet will likely have to do a little investigating to arrive at a conclusion. Some of the symptoms of asthma mimic those of other diseases, such as lungworm, respiratory infection, heart disease, heartworm, or even leukemia. Before arriving at a firm diagnosis, your vet will likely want to rule these more serious conditions out.

If other possibilities are eliminated, then your vet may arrive at a diagnosis of asthma. In this case, you will be responsible for treating and controlling your pet’s asthma. There is no cure, but it can be managed effectively with very little effort. There are several asthma medications on the market that your vet can prescribe that may diminish or eliminate the symptoms. Each pet is different, so you may have to try several medications before you find one that works for your animal companion. Even with medication, however, your pet may be prone to occasional asthma attacks.

Preventing asthma attacks isn’t as difficult as it may sound. It is simply a matter of avoiding whatever it is that triggers asthma attacks in your pet. The difficulty comes in identifying these triggers. Almost anything can serve as a trigger, but there are some common possibilities. It would be accurate to say that one of the most common triggers is second hand smoke. Many owners of pets with asthma report that asthma attacks were far less frequent once they stopped smoking around their pet. Other common triggers might include: dust, mold, cat litter, pollen, perfume, air freshener, spices, and even grass. If you can determine what triggers attacks in your pet, you can take steps to eliminate these triggers.

Having a pet diagnosed with asthma can be a frightening experience and is demanding on the owners, at least at first. With a little time, you’ll become proficient at helping your companion and minimizing their discomfort. You’ll also become more knowledgeable about asthma in general. You pet, with proper care and treatment, can live a long and healthy life with only a little effort on your part.

1 comment:

  1. I am great thankful to you for sharing this information with us.Very informative for pet owners.