Bronchitis in Dogs: Symptoms & Treatments | Expert Guide

As a dog owner, you may have heard of tracheobronchitis or kennel cough, but have you ever heard of bronchitis in dogs? It’s a respiratory disease that affects the bronchial airways and can cause chronic coughing, discomfort, and lung damage for your furry friend. Bronchoalveolar lavage is a common diagnostic test used to detect bronchitis in dogs, especially in breeds such as cocker spaniels that are prone to respiratory issues.

Bronchitis in dogs is an airway disease characterized by inflammation of the bronchi, which are part of the respiratory system that carries air to and from the lungs. Acute bronchitis can cause a harsh cough and difficulty breathing, while chronic bronchitis can lead to long-term lung damage if left untreated. Bronchoalveolar lavage may be used to diagnose and treat bronchitis, especially when it affects small airways.

Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to developing bronchitis than others, including smaller breeds such as Chihuahuas and Pomeranians. However, any breed of dog can develop this airway disease which can lead to chronic coughing, airway inflammation, and even lung damage.

It’s crucial to obtain an accurate diagnosis from a veterinarian since bronchitis in dogs can sometimes be misidentified as asthma or other respiratory diseases, leading to airway inflammation, harsh cough, and potential lung damage. If left untreated, it can cause serious health issues for your furry companion, particularly in the small airways.

So let’s dive into the world of canine bronchitis!

Symptoms of Bronchitis in Dogs: How to Recognize Them

What are the symptoms of dog bronchitis?

Bronchitis is a respiratory disease that affects dogs, and it can be difficult to recognize its symptoms. However, some common signs may indicate that your furry pet is suffering from bronchitis. One of the most noticeable symptoms of bronchitis in dogs is difficulty breathing due to damage in the small airways, which can significantly impact their quality of life. You may notice that your dog is panting excessively or struggling to catch their breath.

Another symptom of bronchitis in dogs is coughing and wheezing, which can affect their small airways. If your pet has been coughing persistently for more than a week, it could be a sign of chronic bronchitis. Wheezing could also accompany the coughing, which sounds like a high-pitched whistling sound when your dog breathes.

Clinical signs of bronchitis in dogs

Clinical signs are observable changes that occur as a result of an illness or injury. In the case of acute bronchitis in dogs, affected dogs may exhibit clinical signs such as coughing and wheezing. Other clinical signs to watch out for in cases of canine bronchitis include fatigue and loss of appetite.

If you notice that your affected dog, especially certain breed dogs, seems lethargic or uninterested in food, it could be due to bronchitis. This respiratory illness can cause discomfort and pain, leading to decreased activity levels and loss of appetite. Consider consulting with your veterinarian and ask about the potential use of ccb for treatment.

Signs and side effects

Signs and side effects of bronchitis in dogs can be exacerbated by the use of ccb, which refers to calcium channel blockers. Ccb can have unexpected consequences when used to treat the condition, so it’s important to watch for any indications that suggest something is going wrong with your pet’s health.

One sign of bronchitis in dogs is weight loss due to decreased appetite caused by the disease’s discomforts. Dehydration can also occur if the dog doesn’t drink enough water while experiencing difficulty breathing due to excessive panting. However, administering ccb medication can help alleviate these symptoms and improve the dog’s overall condition.

The early stages of bronchitis in pets may show no symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose. However, if you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior or breathing patterns, it is essential to seek veterinary care immediately. CCB can be a helpful treatment for managing bronchitis in dogs.

Diagnosing Bronchitis in Dogs: When to See a Vet

Bronchitis in dogs can be difficult to diagnose without the help of a veterinarian.

Bronchitis is a common respiratory condition that affects dogs of all ages and breeds. It occurs when the bronchial tubes, which are responsible for carrying air into the lungs, become inflamed and irritated. While bronchitis can be caused by many factors, including allergies, infections, and environmental pollutants, it can be challenging to diagnose without veterinary assistance. If your pet is experiencing symptoms of bronchitis, it is important to seek the help of a ccb veterinarian as soon as possible.

A veterinarian will start by conducting a thorough physical examination of your pet. They will listen to your dog’s breathing and check for any signs of inflammation or infection, including canine bronchitis, which is a common respiratory condition in affected dogs. In some cases, they may also take X-rays or perform blood work to rule out other conditions, such as acute bronchitis.

A number of tests may be necessary to determine if a dog has bronchitis.

If your pet’s vet suspects that your dog has bronchitis based on their symptoms and physical exam findings, they may recommend additional tests to confirm the diagnosis, including CCB.

  • Blood work: This can help identify any underlying infections or other health issues that may be contributing to your pet’s symptoms of canine bronchitis or acute bronchitis. Consider consulting with a veterinarian and discussing the use of ccb for treatment.
  • X-rays: These images can show whether there is any inflammation or damage in your pet’s lungs, particularly for canine bronchitis or acute bronchitis. It may also be helpful to consider using CCB as a treatment option.
  • Bronchoscopy: This involves inserting a small camera through your dog’s nose or mouth and down into their airways. It allows the vet to see inside the airways and take samples for further testing, which can be helpful in diagnosing acute bronchitis. Additionally, the use of ccb medication may be recommended based on the results of the procedure.

If a dog is experiencing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing, it’s important to see a vet.

If you notice any signs of respiratory distress in your dog, such as coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing, it’s essential to seek veterinary care right away. These symptoms could indicate an underlying condition that requires immediate treatment. It is important to note that certain medications, such as ccb, may also be prescribed by your veterinarian to help manage respiratory issues in dogs.

In addition to respiratory distress symptoms mentioned above; other signs of bronchitis in dogs include ccb.

  • Rapid breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Fever

A vet may recommend X-rays, blood work, or a bronchoscopy to diagnose bronchitis in dogs.

Diagnosing bronchitis in dogs typically involves a combination of physical examination and diagnostic testing. Your veterinarian will use these tools to determine the underlying cause of your dog’s symptoms and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

X-rays are often used to evaluate the lungs and airways for inflammation or other abnormalities. Blood work can reveal any underlying infections or other health issues that may be contributing to your dog’s symptoms. If necessary, a bronchoscopy can be performed to visualize the inside of the airways and take samples for further testing.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and prevent complications.

Early diagnosis is essential for managing bronchitis in dogs effectively. The earlier the condition is identified, the sooner your vet can begin treatment, which can help reduce inflammation, relieve coughing and other respiratory distress symptoms, and prevent complications from developing.

Treatment for bronchitis may include medications such as antibiotics (if there is an infection), anti-inflammatory drugs (to reduce inflammation), cough suppressants (to relieve coughing), and oxygen therapy (in severe cases). In addition to medication, your vet may also recommend lifestyle changes such as reducing exposure to environmental pollutants or allergens.

Diagnosing Canine Chronic Bronchitis: What Vets Look For

Symptom: Chronic Coughing

Chronic coughing is the most common symptom of canine chronic bronchitis, and it can be persistent. Dogs with bronchitis may cough frequently throughout the day or only when they’re active. The cough may sound dry or wet, depending on whether mucus is present. A vet will ask about the duration and frequency of the cough to help diagnose bronchitis.

Physical Examination

Diagnosis of canine chronic bronchitis involves a thorough physical examination. The vet will listen to your dog’s lungs with a stethoscope to check for abnormal sounds such as wheezing, crackling, or decreased breath sounds. They will also examine your dog’s nose and throat for signs of inflammation and discharge.

Persistent Cough and Mucus Production

Persistent cough and mucus production are key factors in diagnosing canine chronic bronchitis. If your dog has been coughing for more than two months without improvement, it’s possible they have bronchitis. If your dog produces mucus during their coughing episodes, this is another indication of bronchitis.

Diagnostic Tests

Vets may use X-rays or bronchoscopy to confirm a diagnosis of canine chronic bronchitis. X-rays can show changes in lung tissue that indicate inflammation or infection. Bronchoscopy involves inserting a flexible tube with a camera into your dog’s airways to look for abnormalities such as thickened airway walls or excessive mucus production.

Early Diagnosis and Treatment Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life for dogs with chronic bronchitis. Treatment options include medication to reduce inflammation in the airways, antibiotics if there is an underlying bacterial infection, and lifestyle changes such as avoiding irritants like cigarette smoke.

Diagnostic Tests for Canine Chronic Bronchitis

Canine chronic bronchitis (CCB) is a common respiratory disease in dogs, especially in small breeds. It is characterized by coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing due to inflammation of the airways. While clinical signs can help diagnose CCB, diagnostic testing is crucial for definitive diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Bronchoalveolar Lavage and Bronchoscopy

Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and bronchoscopy are two diagnostic tools commonly used to diagnose bronchitis in dogs. BAL involves flushing saline solution into the lungs through a catheter inserted into the airway, followed by aspiration of the fluid back out. The fluid collected contains cells from the lower airways that can be evaluated under a microscope for evidence of inflammation or infection.

Bronchoscopy involves inserting a flexible or rigid scope into the airway to visualize the trachea and larger airways directly. This allows veterinarians to identify any abnormalities such as mucus plugs or tumors that may be causing respiratory symptoms, including dog bronchitis. Samples can also be collected using biopsy forceps during bronchoscopy for further evaluation.

Both BAL and bronchoscopy are invasive procedures that require sedation or anesthesia but provide valuable information about the underlying cause of respiratory symptoms in dogs with CCB.

Tracheal Wash

Another diagnostic test used to diagnose CCB and dog bronchitis is tracheal wash. This non-invasive procedure involves passing a sterile catheter through the nose or mouth into the trachea to collect samples of mucus and cells from deeper within the respiratory tract than can be obtained with a simple cough sample.

Samples collected during tracheal wash can be evaluated using cytology (microscopic examination of cells), culture (bacterial identification), or both. These tests help identify any bacterial infections present, including dog bronchitis, and determine the best course of treatment.

Pulse Oximetry

Pulse oximetry is a non-invasive test that measures oxygen saturation in the blood, which can be helpful in assessing the severity of bronchitis. A small clip attached to the dog’s tongue or ear measures the amount of oxygen bound to hemoglobin in red blood cells. Dogs with CCB may have decreased oxygen saturation due to inflammation and narrowing of airways, making pulse oximetry a useful tool for monitoring respiratory function during treatment.

CT Scans

CT scans may also be used to evaluate the lungs and airways for signs of inflammation or other abnormalities. This imaging technique provides detailed images of internal structures and can help identify areas of thickening or narrowing in the airways, as well as any tumors or other masses present.

While CT scans are more expensive than other diagnostic tests, they provide valuable information about the extent and severity of disease in dogs with CCB.

Causes of Bronchitis in Dogs: Understanding the Condition

What causes bronchitis in dogs?

Bronchitis is a common respiratory condition that affects dogs of all ages and breeds. This condition occurs when the bronchi, the tubes that carry air to the lungs, become inflamed and irritated. There are various factors that can cause bronchitis in dogs, including infections and underlying conditions.


Infections are one of the most common causes of bronchitis in dogs. Bacterial and viral infections can irritate the lining of the bronchi, leading to inflammation and coughing. Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can cause acute bronchitis in dogs. Pneumonia is another bacterial infection that can lead to chronic bronchitis if left untreated.

Underlying Conditions

Underlying conditions such as heartworm disease, allergies, or asthma can also cause bronchitis in dogs. Heartworms are parasitic worms that live in the heart and lungs of infected animals, causing inflammation and damage to lung tissue. Allergies to pollen, dust mites or other environmental factors can also trigger an allergic reaction leading to bronchial irritation.

Asthma is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways leading to difficulty breathing. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is another possible underlying cause for canine bronchitis.

Possible Causes

Apart from infections and underlying conditions there are other possible causes for canine bronchitis:

Airway Disease

Airway diseases such as tracheal collapse or laryngeal paralysis can put pressure on the trachea or windpipe making it difficult for your dog to breathe properly leading to coughing bouts.

Pulmonary Disease

Pulmonary diseases like lung cancer or aspiration pneumonia where food particles enter into lungs instead of going down the esophagus can cause bronchitis in dogs.

Identifying the Underlying Cause

Identifying the underlying cause is crucial for effective treatment and relief of bronchitis in dogs. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination, which may include blood tests, x-rays or other diagnostic imaging to determine the cause of your dog’s respiratory distress. Once the underlying condition is identified, appropriate treatment can be prescribed.

Environmental Factors

Changes in the environment or exposure to irritants can also lead to bronchitis in some cases. Cigarette smoke, air pollution, and dust can all irritate your dog’s respiratory system leading to chronic inflammation and coughing. Reducing exposure to these irritants by keeping your home clean and free from pollutants can help prevent future cases of bronchitis.

Treatment Options for Bronchitis in Dogs

Medication and Supportive Care

Bronchitis in dogs can be a serious condition that requires prompt treatment. Treatment options for bronchitis in dogs typically include medication and supportive care. The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

Cough Suppressants

Cough suppressants are commonly used to alleviate the symptoms of bronchitis in dogs. These medications work by blocking the cough reflex, which can help reduce coughing episodes. Some common types of cough suppressants that may be prescribed for dogs with bronchitis include dextromethorphan, codeine, and hydrocodone.

It’s important to note that while cough suppressants can provide relief from symptoms, they do not address the underlying cause of bronchitis. Therefore, they are often used in combination with other treatments.


Corticosteroids may also be prescribed by a veterinarian to reduce inflammation in the airways. These medications work by suppressing the immune system’s response to inflammation and reducing swelling in the airways.

While corticosteroids can be effective at reducing inflammation, they do have potential side effects. Some common side effects of corticosteroid use include increased thirst and urination, weight gain, and an increased risk of infection.

Combination Therapy

Medications are often used in combination with other treatments for bronchitis in dogs. For example, antibiotics may be prescribed if a bacterial infection is suspected as the underlying cause of bronchitis. Oxygen therapy may be necessary if your dog is having difficulty breathing due to low oxygen levels.

In some cases, lifestyle changes may also be recommended as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for bronchitis in dogs. This could include avoiding exposure to environmental irritants like cigarette smoke or dust, maintaining a healthy weight, and providing your dog with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Prognosis and Life Expectancy for Dogs with Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis is a condition that can affect dogs of any age or breed. It is a long-term inflammation of the airways that causes coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. If left untreated, chronic bronchitis can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia or respiratory failure.

Key Points

  • Early recognition and treatment of symptoms are crucial for managing chronic bronchitis in dogs.
  • Treatment options include medication, lifestyle changes, and environmental modifications.
  • With proper management, most dogs with chronic bronchitis can live happy and healthy lives.

The prognosis for dogs with chronic bronchitis depends on several factors such as the severity of the disease, the underlying cause, and the response to treatment. In general, dogs with mild to moderate cases of chronic bronchitis have a good prognosis if they receive appropriate treatment.


If you suspect your dog has chronic bronchitis or is experiencing respiratory distress, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately. Your veterinarian can diagnose the condition and develop an individualized treatment plan to manage your dog’s symptoms.


Q: Can chronic bronchitis in dogs be cured?

A: Unfortunately, there is no cure for chronic bronchitis in dogs. However, with proper management and ongoing veterinary care, most dogs can live comfortable lives despite their diagnosis.

Q: Is it safe to exercise my dog with chronic bronchitis?

A: Exercise is important for maintaining your dog’s overall health but should be done in moderation. Talk to your veterinarian about an appropriate exercise plan for your dog based on their individual needs and limitations.

Q: Are there any natural remedies that can help manage my dog’s symptoms?

A: While some natural remedies may provide temporary relief from coughing or inflammation associated with chronic bronchitis in dogs, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before trying any alternative therapies. Some natural remedies may interact with medications or worsen your dog’s condition.

Q: Can chronic bronchitis in dogs lead to other health complications?

A: Yes, if left untreated, chronic bronchitis in dogs can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia or respiratory failure. It is important to seek veterinary care at the first sign of symptoms.

Q: How often should I take my dog for follow-up appointments after a diagnosis of chronic bronchitis?

A: The frequency of follow-up appointments will depend on the severity of your dog’s condition and their response to treatment. Your veterinarian will work with you to develop an individualized monitoring plan for your dog.