Emphysema is not just a human disease. Emphysema can also be seen in dogs. However, the causes of emphysema in dogs and the causes of emphysema in humans differ. There are different types of emphysema in dogs. In this article, you can find answers to frequently asked questions about emphysema in dogs.
What Is Emphysema in Dogs?
Emphysema in dogs can be defined as breathing difficulties caused by air entrapment in the airways. The air inhaled with the breath is often trapped by another chronic respiratory condition. As a result, dogs are forced to exhale the air they take in. There are two main forms of emphysema in dogs. These are called pulmonary emphysema and congenital lobar emphysema.
Types of Emphysema in Dogs
Lung emphysema is also divided into two different types. Persistent enlargement of the alveoli, the small air sacs inside the lungs, is called alveolar emphysema. The compression of air in the connective tissues of the lungs is called interstitial emphysema. The symptoms of the two types may be the same. Congenital lobar emphysema occurs when the bronchial cartilage is not fully formed during growth. This ailment is actually present from birth, but the disease does not develop immediately.
Predisposition to Emphysema in Dogs
Although Pekingese dogs are more prone to this condition, emphysema can occur in all breeds. Emphysema in dogs is not an age-related condition. Emphysema can occur in young, adult, or older dogs. After a detailed examination by the veterinarian, the type of emphysema is decided and a treatment plan is created according to the type. In this condition, dogs can breathe normally, but when they try to exhale, the air gets stuck where it shouldn’t.
How Do Dogs Get Emphysema?
Emphysema in humans is caused by airborne toxic substances such as cigarette smoke or air pollution. Dogs often develop emphysema as a result of another chronic lung condition. Lesions that occur as a result of other lung diseases prevent the air from being taken out and therefore the air is trapped inside. Inflammatory lung conditions such as chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can lead to emphysema. However, cancer, lung parasites, an injury that allows air to be directed to the tissues due to the movement of the muscles, ulcers in the respiratory tract cause emphysema.
Emphysema Symptoms in Dogs
The symptoms of emphysema in dogs occur within the scope of respiratory distress and the changes that occur due to this strain. It should not be ignored that the symptoms of emphysema types may be similar, and the symptoms of the disease causing emphysema may also be present in dogs. Symptoms of emphysema may appear suddenly or gradually.
- Symptoms of emphysema in dogs;
- Weight Loss,
- difficulty in breathing,
- increased heart rate,
- increased respiratory rate,
- It can be expressed as the inability to perform activities.
How Are Dogs Diagnosed With Emphysema?
In order to diagnose emphysema, the veterinarian must perform a physical examination and listen to the dog’s disease history. It is necessary to fully explore the important points, such as what the symptoms are and when they started. However, a chest X-ray is required to diagnose emphysema. One of the tests required for the diagnosis of emphysema is a regular blood test. The amount of gas contained in the blood in the artery is important in the diagnosis of emphysema. Dogs with emphysema have low blood oxygen levels. A stool test is required to rule out whether parasites are causing respiratory tract discomfort. The most accurate way to diagnose emphysema is to take tissue biopsy from the respiratory tract. This procedure is performed in two different ways, thoracoscopy and thoracotomy. The removed tissues are sent to the laboratory for testing. Generally, lesions causing emphysema can be detected with computed tomography and MR scans.
Emphysema Treatment in Dogs
The main goal in the treatment of emphysema is to eliminate the symptoms and return the breathing to normal. In severe cases, dogs may need to be hospitalized over time, put in an oxygen cage, or use an oxygen mask. First of all, the main respiratory tract disease causing emphysema should be treated. In cases that occur due to the development of alveoli, this situation is eliminated with anti-inflammatory drugs. Afterwards, thoracostomy tubes can be placed to regulate airflow. Another treatment option is the surgical removal of the parts of the lung where the obstruction occurs. After the treatment, the dog should rest constantly and its activity should be limited. Most of the time, dogs recover completely after part of the lung is removed.
Recovery Process After Treatment
Regular veterinary check-ups of dogs with emphysema should never be skipped. However, they must be constantly rested. Dogs that have part of their lungs removed recover successfully as long as there is enough healthy tissue. As we mentioned before, treatment is possible without removing a part of the lung. However, chronic respiratory problems can often be seen in such cases. The healing process varies depending on the severity of emphysema and the amount of healthy lung tissue.