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Chronic Bronchitis in Dogs

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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  • Antitussive therapy. The use of cough suppressants varies on a case-by case basis. In dogs with non-bacterial bronchitis, breaking the cough cycle is an essential part of treatment. Cough suppressants are contraindicated with pneumonia. Examples of cough suppressants used include hydrocodone (Tussionex® or Hycodan®) or butorphanol (Torbutrol®).

  • Bronchodilator therapy. Bronchodilators may increase the vigor of contraction of the respiratory muscles, which may be useful in dogs with chronic dyspnea (difficult breathing). Theophylline and its various salts are most commonly chosen. Long-acting theophylline (Theo-Dur®) if often used twice daily. Some dogs cannot tolerate the adverse effects of xanthines, which include anxiety, restlessness, tachycardia, polyuria and emesis.

  • Antibacterial therapy. This should be used in dogs with primary bacterial tracheobronchitis or a complicating bacterial infection. Drug choice is ideally chosen based on the results of the culture and sensitivity. In most dogs, however, antibiotic treatment causes little improvement, presumably due to a nonbacterial cause or lack of suitable culture and sensitivity testing. Antibiotic choices may include: amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (Clavamox®); trimethoprim-sulfonamide; cephalothin or cephalexin; enrofloxacin (Baytril®); or tetracycline for a minimum of three weeks. Other antibiotics may be chosen when Bordetella bronchiseptica is cultured. Gentamicin may be used via nebulization (a treatment in which an antibiotic is converted to a spray form in which your pet breaths in). This treatment is often administered twice daily for five days.

  • Anti-inflammatory therapy. Using prednisolone or prednisone is most effective for control of most cases of bronchitis and is the most efficacious treatment of bronchitis that has eosinophils on cytology. Drugs used include prednisone often give twice daily then tapered to lowest effective dose (often given every day or every other day).

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