Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lower airways that is often caused by bacterial or viral agents.
The most significant symptom of bronchitis is harsh, dry coughing that may produce mucus in the advanced stages of the disease. The overall health of the animal is not always affected. Fever and depression may be present. Symptoms may recess spontaneously after 1-2 weeks. Without medication, some cases may become a chronic condition where coughing is present for several months.
In dogs, parasitic bateria such as bordetella and mycoplasms are the most common causes of infectious (caused by infection)bronchitis (inflamation of the main air passages to the lungs). In unvaccinated animals, kennel cough, which is caused by a parainfluenza virus (a type of virus that is usually spread through coughing and close contact), produces a distinct inflammation of the lower airways, and is another cause of bronchitis. Infection occurs through direct contact with a sick animal. The condition usually affects the nasopharynx–the upper most part of the throar right behind the nose–before descending into the lower airways. Non-infectious causes of bronchitis may be irritating fumes, dust or steam.
Clinical examination by auscultation of the thorax will often produce typical sound patterns of the bronchi. X-rays can reveal the extent of the inflammation. An adequate broad-spectrum antibiotic is the treatment of choice if bacterial involvement is suspected. Also, cough-suppressing drugs can be given in conjunction with antibiotics, provided the cough is non-productive.
Patients with bronchitis should not be kept in a well-ventilated room with an active airflow. Until symptoms improve, infected dogs should preferably stay inside. If coughing does not improve within 2-3 days, consult a veterinary clinic.