Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Can a dog get bronchitis?

Dogs suffering from chronic bronchitis and tracheobronchitis (kennel cough) show many of the same symptoms however these different types of bronchitis differ in a few important ways. Today our Murfreesboro vets share more about bronchitis in dogs and the symptoms to watch for.

How do doge get bronchitis?

Kennel cough, the flu, and distemper are the most common viruses that cause bronchitis. Fortunately, your dog can be immunized against each of these viruses by a veterinarian. Bacterial infections, allergies, parasites, or inhalation of airway irritants can all cause acute bronchitis.

Infectious Tracheobronchitis in Dogs

Tracheobronchitis is an acute respiratory condition that typically lasts about 2 weeks and is one of the conditions commonly referred to as kennel cough. The name of this highly contagious condition stems from the fact that tracheobronchitis infects your dog's trachea or 'windpipe' as well as the bronchial tubes.

There are a number of viruses that can cause this form of bronchitis in dogs including adenovirus type-2, parainfluenza virus, canine coronavirus, and the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica.

This strain of bronchitis in dogs is extremely contagious. If your dog exhibits any of the symptoms listed below, keep him away from other dogs and contact your veterinarian right away.

Signs of Tracheobronchitis

Dogs with tracheobronchitis typically develop a loud cough which is often described as sounding like a 'goose honk'. Other signs of tracheobronchitis include cold-like symptoms such as:

  • Coughing when the dog's throat is rubbed
  • Coughing during or after exercise
  • Gagging
  • Spitting foamy saliva
  • Runny eyes and nose
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Wheezing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depressed or lethargic behavior

If your dog is diagnosed with infectious tracheobronchitis their cough may persist for several weeks after the infection has cleared up.

Treatment for Tracheobronchitis in Dogs

Treatment for tracheobronchitis will depend on the underlying cause of your pup's condition. Antibiotics can be used to treat bacterial infections such as Bordetella bronchiseptica, in other cases, your vet may prescribe medications such as cough suppressants and anti-inflammatory medications to help relieve your dog's symptoms. 

Chronic Bronchitis (COPD) in Dogs

Chronic bronchitis, also known as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), is an irreversible and slowly progressive inflammation of your dog's respiratory system. Chronic bronchitis is characterized by symptoms that last more than two months and is most common in middle-aged or older toy and small dogs.

The cause of this form of bronchitis is largely unknown but the condition may be associated with inhaled irritants such as tobacco smoke, air pollution, or allergins (allergic bronchitis in dogs). Recurring respiratory infections and the bacteria associated with dental disease may also play a role in the development of chronic bronchitis in dogs.

Symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis in Dogs

Signs of chronic bronchitis in dogs can be very similar to those of tracheobronchitis listed above, but become progressively more severe over time.

When the condition is in the early stages symptoms usually include a dry persistent cough often followed by gagging. As the disease progresses you may notice:

  • Dry cough
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Noisy breathing
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Wheezing 
  • Fainting

When the condition enters the later stages you may notice that the skin around your dog's mouth has a blue tinge to it.

Chronic bronchitis can be successfully managed and many dogs being treated for the condition can go on to live a good quality of life to normal life expectancy. Chronic Bronchitis In Dogs Treatment

Dogs showing severe symptoms of chronic bronchitis such as respiratory distress may require hospitalization for oxygen therapy and/or intravenous medication to stabilize their condition. Medications and other treatments commonly prescribed for chronic bronchitis include:

  • Cough suppressants
  • Antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections
  • Corticosteroids to help decrease inflammation and ease coughing
  • Inhalers (puffers)
  • Dental descaling, cleaning and polishing under general anesthesia
  • Avoidance of irritants and allergins where possible
  • Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory or immune stimulant supportive treatments and supplements

Your veterinarian will discuss all the options with you and help you decide which options are best for your pet. Medications may need to be adjusted periodically when symptoms flare up.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you suspect your dog has developed a form of bronchitis? Contact our Murfreesboro animal clinic for veterinary care.

New Patients Always Welcome

Animal Medical Center is happy to welcome new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about improving the health of Murfreesboro companion animals. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment.

Book Online (615) 867-7575