Summary Learn more about symptoms, causes, and treatment options for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder or COPD in dogs.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, or COPD, is a disease that affects how your dog’s lungs work. It can cause difficulty breathing, coughing, and weight loss.
Some of the most common causes of COPD in dogs are chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, heart disease, and trauma from accidents and falls. If you think your dog has COPD, it's important to get a diagnosis from an experienced veterinarian as soon as possible.
Over time, you may see your dog panting after exercise or playing with their toys. The condition is most common in older dogs, but younger pets can also be affected.
Though it affects dogs of all breeds, smaller and toy breeds like West Highland White terriers and cocker spaniels are more susceptible.
Symptoms of COPD in Dogs
The most common symptoms of COPD in dogs are shortness of breath, coughing, lung disease, difficulty breathing, lack of appetite, and weight loss.
If your pup exhibits any of these symptoms and is over the age of five years old, they may have COPD.
If your dog is losing weight without any other reason, we recommend contacting your vet right away.
Detecting COPD in Dogs
If your dog is suspected of having Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), a veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination. They will look for signs of respiratory distress and listen to the lungs with a stethoscope.
They’ll check the color, texture, and pattern of your dog’s gums. Your vet might also recommend blood work to check organ function.
X-rays allow veterinarians to view images of your pet's internal organs without surgery or risk to their health. Lung function tests can be performed during an office visit or at an animal hospital while they're under anesthesia.
Preventing COPD in Dogs
Keep your dog away from cigarette smoke, particulate air pollutants, as well as dental disease-causing bacteria
Avoid letting your dog get too hot or too cold
Give your dog fresh air and exercise. If you are unable to step out much for any reason, play indoors with toys for dogs.
Maintain your dog’s right weight through a nutritious and healthy diet. Obesity is considered a factor; hence weight management is crucial.
Maintain your dog’s teeth well, as dental disease can cause bacteria to travel from mouth to lungs and complicate matters.
Treatment of COPD in Dogs
Once the disease is diagnosed, treatment can begin immediately and will likely involve both medications and lifestyle changes for your pup. In certain cases, oxygen therapy and surgery options may be suggested by vets too.
Your vet may prescribe pet medication to help your dog breathe easier. Antibiotics for dogs to treat lung infections might also work. You can order your pet meds online or pick them up from your local pet pharmacy. Just be careful regarding any allergies or rare conditions specific to your dog.
Sometimes corticosteroids like prednisone for dogs and bronchodilator drugs are prescribed to treat symptoms. There is another variant available, too, called Prednisolone for dogs, also belonging to the corticosteroid group. Both these are widely accepted as steroids prescribed for dogs and are part of the 7 steroids mentioned by Pet MD as suitable for dogs.
Your vet should recommend a change in diet, such as feeding your pet less starchy foods or adding more fiber. A balanced diet is very important. You can try prescription diets like Hill’s prescription diet for dogs and variants in case your dog likes a different flavor.
Do not worry if your dog is diagnosed with COPD. With the right diet, medication, exercise, and treatment, you can ensure normal life expectancy for your dog. Experts recommend a combination of all these to manage this disease.