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Dog respiratory ilnesseses and disorders can be very scary and worrisome to dog owners. Differentiating between a dog who is breathing normally and a dog having trouble breathing is not always as simple as it might seem. Dog Owners should get a feel for what is normal for their dogs before any health problems develop.

The most important function of the respiratory system is to deliver oxygen into the blood, which distributes it throughout the body, and to remove carbon dioxide from the blood. This system contains several parts, including the lungs, windpipe (trachea), throat, nose and mouth.

Respiratory infections are highly contagious. They can travel through the air or direct contact. Humans can even carry the disease from one dog to another. It’s important to wash your hands after touching any dog to prevent the potential spread of illness.

Both very young and older animals are at increased risk of developing respiratory disease compared to healthy adult animals. At birth, the respiratory and immune systems are not fully developed; this makes it easier for disease organisms to enter and spread within the lungs.

if you are worried that your dog may be suffering from dog respiratory issues, you should your consult your vet. Corrective surgery may be an option to alleviate the symptoms and prevent the condition getting worse.

Symptoms of Dog Respiratory Disorders

The most common signs of respiratory problems include:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Gagging after coughing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Fainting
  • Wheezing
  • Blue gums

Depending on the condition, other symptoms may also be present. Lethargy, fever, lack of appetite, and numerous other systems may also be noticeable to pet owners.

Causes of Dog Respiratory Disorders

There are lots of conditions which can cause some or all of these signs of dog respiratory issues but the most common include

  • Bacterial infection – this can be sudden in onset or a more long term problem, and can vary in severity.
  • Inflammatory conditions for example chronic bronchitis which is often seen in small breed dogs that are overweight.
  • Heart disease.
  • Tumours of the lungs or those elsewhere in the chest.
  • Lungworm – dogs can pick this up from eating snails and slugs
  • Foreign body in the nose
  • Fungal and viral infection

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your vet may ask you for details about the nature of any discharge and examine your dog’s nose and mouth.

Your vet will ask you questions about the symptoms you have noticed, and will examine your dog including listening to their heart and lungs with a stethoscope.

They may wish to take samples to send away for bacterial culture and sensitivity to identify any bacteria present.

They may also take x-rays of your dog’s nose, use an endoscope (a special camera) to look inside the nose or carry out an ultrasound scan.

Treatment will depend on the problem identified. If an infection is present then antibiotics may be necessary.

Your vet will be able to advise you on any other treatment necessary depending on the results of their investigations.


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