Allergy Triggered Bronchitis in Dogs

by Betty Lewis
    Pay attention to what's going on around Beau when he has his allergy attacks; you may be able to remove the problem.

    Pay attention to what's going on around Beau when he has his allergy attacks; you may be able to remove the problem.

    Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    Coughing and wheezing is not a happy sound for you to hear, especially when it's coming from your pup. Maybe Beau got a whiff of some perfume or a nose full of cigarette smoke to set him off. If he has allergy triggered bronchitis, a sniff of the wrong thing can provoke an intense reaction.

    Irritating Triggers

    Beau's lungs are filled with bronchi, little breathing tubes that act as passageways for air to enter his lungs. When his airways are sensitive to inhaled environmental irritants, his bronchi become irritated and he'll experience an allergic response to them. Common inhaled irritants include dust, colognes and perfumes, hairsprays, household cleaning products such as rug fresheners and cigarette smoke.

    Bronchial Spasms

    When one of those irritating triggers enters your dog's lungs, he'll have muscle spasms in his bronchi and mucus will accumulate. Trying to exhale can be stressful for a dog experiencing a bronchial attack and he'll likely cough, which is one of the most common symptoms of canine bronchitis. You may notice Beau extending his neck and squatting during one of his coughing fits, not uncommon when a pup has an episode. Other signs of bronchitis include wheezing, easily heard with a stethoscope, as well as sneezing and occasionally, vomiting.

    Testing, 1, 2, 3

    The vet likely will perform a few tests to confirm the suspicion of Beau's bronchitis. Blood work, fecal exam and urinalysis not only provide a clear picture of your pup's health, but give insight into what's causing his problems. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell typically associated with allergic events and can help confirm a diagnosis of allergic bronchitis or asthma, as it's also known. The vet also may test to eliminate suspicion of lungworms and heartworms as the culprits. Occasionally a bronchoscopy, which provides a look into his airways, is helpful to diagnose Beau's malaise.

    Act Early for Best Results

    If Beau's experiencing regular asthma attacks, he should see the vet. Untreated allergy triggered bronchitis can develop into chronic bronchitis. The vet may choose among a variety of medications to help Beau work through his problems. Bronchodilators are drugs that open his bronchi, allowing air to circulate more easily and corticosteroids work to decrease inflammation, widen the passageways and minimize mucus production. Paying close attention to potential triggers for Beau's attacks ultimately can give you the option to eliminate potential problems in his environment.

    Photo Credits

    • Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Betty Lewis is a writer and editor specializing in pet care, animals, careers and emergency management. She previously ran an animal shelter, where she also served as a kennel attendant and dog trainer. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism, an M.B.A. and a master's degree in professional studies.

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