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Respiratory diseases in dogs

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Posted on October 08 2018

Cavities, nasals, larynx, trachea, lung tissue, as well as large and small bronchi can undergo a number of lesions that impede the dog's breathing abilities. These more or less serious diseases can be caused by infections, bacteria, viruses, parasites or malformations.

The respiratory diseases of the dog are of various origins. Trauma, infections and heredity can, in fact, cause different types of pathologies affecting the respiratory faculties of the animal. Their manifestations sometimes become extremely troublesome for the latter, but the treatments exist in most cases. Let's review the main respiratory diseases occurring in dogs, their specificities and the solutions to counter them.

Various causes

When a foreign body invites itself into the dog's respiratory system via its nostrils, which happens very often since it relies heavily on its sense of smell to orient itself, the consequences on the breathing of the animal can be serious. . This can range from simple nasal discharge to the most serious lesions , but several other events can cause respiratory diseases.

It may, for example, be a congenital malformation in the nasal cavity, or even a tumor developing in or to the lungs. The origins of respiratory diseases are varied. Their effects too.


As with humans, bronchitis occurs quite often in dogs. The inflammation of the bronchi may have different forms, such as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, more commonly known as "  kennel cough  ." Disease very contagious , it is transmitted by close contact between dogs. It is caused by parasites of the digestive tract, roundworms , whose parasitic cycle passes through the respiratory tract. This condition is quite delicate - but not impossible - to heal and its consequences can affect the dog's breathing capacity throughout his life.


The inflammation of the trachea is not rare in dogs. It can, in some cases, give rise to a chronic cough , especially in very small breeds because of the reduced diameter of their trachea. The affected dog coughs frequently and noisily . The use of bronchodilator drugs (intended to treat the decrease of the size of the bronchi) makes it possible to improve the state of the sick animals.

Lesions and tumors of the lung

X-ray and bronchial fibroscopy are among the preferred diagnostic tools in cases of lung injury . The goal is to accurately examine the condition of the airways. The nature of a possible lung injury can thus be determined in detail, which makes it possible to implement the appropriate treatment.

The rapid management of lung lesions is all the more important as they are likely to cause heart failure or acute pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in the lung), which can be life- threatening .

As for lung tumors , they were infrequent in dogs in the past, but their cases have significantly increased in recent years for several reasons: the lengthening of the lifespan , improved diagnostic techniques and Exhibition increasingly important to carcinogenic factors (tobacco, pollution, etc.). For the most part, lung tumors are metastatic , which means they come from a primary tumor that originated in another tissue or organ. Primary pulmonary tumors, such as bronchoalveolar carcinoma , are less common.

The main treatments

Respiratory diseases caused by bacterial infections are treated by the administration of an antibiotic . It is often associated with an anti-inflammatory . Those giving rise to an irritating and dry cough necessitate the use of antitussives , expectorants and mucolytics which make the secretions more fluid.

The surgical procedure is necessary in most cases of laryngeal paralysis and obstructive syndrome . It is also used in dogs suffering from cancer , in combination with chemotherapy . Those developing naso-sinus tumors , on the other hand, are treated with radiotherapy , with often satisfactory results.

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