Advice for Canine Chronic Asthmatic Bronchitis

My Mom is requesting advice for her Tibetan Terrier, Pandy, who was diagnosed with chronic asthmatic bronchitis 6 months ago. As you may recall, Pandy will be 13 yrs old this year and has been blind for about 1 1/2 yrs. She has always had terrible allergies & staph infections as well. Pandy has been Mom's baby for many years, but Mom doesn't know what to do anymore. The vets around here all like to refer to specialists. Mom just doesn't have the $$$ to go to another specialist at this time. This has all been extremely difficult for Mom who is almost 60 yrs and lives alone in a condo. This has been very difficult for her and has taken its toll on her as well. So...I'm asking all of you wonderful people for advice. This is a brief overview of recent treatments for the bronchitis:

She took Aminophylline which made her very restless so we stopped it. She has been on Baytril for 5 weeks. Stopped 2 weeks ago. Didn’t seem to help.

She currently is taking:
½ prednisone every other day.
1 tsp Robitussin twice per day.
Cephalexin , pulsed on weekends for a skin condition of staph infections.

She coughs when she stands up and sounds wheezy now as the Robitussin is probably loosening up. However, she doesn't know how to cough is out.

Thanks for any other ideas you might have. This is greatly appreciated.
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Hi Stacy:

I don't have any experience with a dog with asthma....however, I do have 2 cats with asthma. I was rather frustrated with our former conventional veterinarian recommendations (which didn't seem to help) so I ended taking both of them to a holisitic vet that specialized in acupuncture. Both of them are now getting acupuncture treatments and this appears to have lessened the symptoms. In addition, the doctor suggested I get air purifier with a hepa filter to help cut down on anything that might encourage the attacks. They still have the occassional "wheeze", but it has decreased significantly.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Jennifer, Baxter, Cassiopia and Sharkey
Thank you, Jennifer. I will pass on this info to Mom.
I'm sorry I don't have any experience with dogs and asthma but my dad had asthma since he was a child and suffered with it for decades.

Dust and dust mites are often a trigger. Frequent dusting and vacuuming may help along with frequent washing of the Pandy's bedding. As Jennifer mentioned, a true hepa air purifier is often said to be of benefit too. I think this has helped my sheepie-girl that has allergies to mold and dust/dust mites. We run it in the bedroom at night where she sleeps because so many hours are spent there.

I hope Pandy will feel better soon.
My dog Roxy, a mini Datschund, has had 5 attackes of what apparantly was Pneumonia: very heavy breathing, wheezing, glassy eyes. However, when the doctors saw the X-rays, her lungs were clean. They put her on antihistamines, bronchodialators, Clemastine and Baytril (antibiotics), got better and in another month she had another attack. However, she keeps caughing a dry caugh. Now, they want to do tests worth $1500 to make sure it is asthma and not something else. So, knowing she will have another attack, they will not treat her until they do all those tests. So, to recap: she did not have pneumonia, she keeps caughing, sneezing and having short heavy breathing spells and they will not try some asthma medicine to see if it improves.

What should we do?
I feel your concern. This seems to be very similar to what occurred with Pandy. The regular vet didn't suggest asthma medications or inhalers either. They wanted Mom to see a heart/lung specialist, but money was a factor in not making an appointment along with Pandy's age of 13 years. If your pup is younger, I would definitely invest (if you can) in the tests. If treated, her attacks may occur less frequently and you can have more wonderful years with her. How old is Roxy? I do think there comes a time when you need to weigh her quality of life as they get older. Please keep me posted and feel free to post or PM me if you'd like support.
Is there a good veterinary teaching hospital near you? You might check prices with them also. We went to Michigan State University for an eye problem. They did extensive testing on our mostly blind sheepie and the price was reasonable.
You might try holistic, natural remedies. I have found over the years that the medsare not only expensive, but they are just suppresants and do not allow a dog to heal itself. And the side effects of these prescribed things are worse than the problem itself. Predisone can ruin a liver and kidneys. Please be very careful about relying on so much of those. Good nutrition is vital for a dog with any problem. It begins in his nutrition. Relying on bagged food is not enough. To me, it's like eating wheaties every day of your life. Something is going to be malnuourished. Lots of variety, balance, lots of cooked smooshed green veggies is always great. Supplements like flax oil are good too. I even mix yogurt in my dogs food. They love it. Variety for better health for all dogs.

Also, I use MSM with my dogs, available at feed stores, and all health food stores. Feed store MSM is less expensive and its usually in the horse section. Also try online. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a naturally occurring sulfur compound and nutritional component of many foods. It is found in the normal diets of humans and almost all other animals. MSM is made up of 34% sulfur, the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. MSM supports healthy, active lifestyles and benefits multiple structures and functions within the body, including connective tissues and the respiratory system. The more you read about MSM, the more excited you will get. My 74 year old mother uses it for her arthritis - pain went away - for 4 years now. Also, try homeopathic remedies. While natural remedies may take longer, and sometimes when you start to put an animal on some good nutrition, he may detox and seem to be getting worse, it is always the best way to go. A wonderful book is The Nature of Healing by Dr. Martin Goldstein. And if you can, I love the ionic breeze air cleaner. I have 3 sheepies and have had dogs in the past with allergies,prior to my current knowledge of organic, holistic methods. I can tell you that I paid a lot of vet bills not realizing I was cutting my dogs' lives shorter by using so much medications on them which in many cases ended up hurting my dogs in other places; liver damage, nerve damage - all side effects of prescribed medications. Additionally, we so over vaccinate our animals and create vaccinosis which then can make our animals attact their own immune systems inmany ways. Oneof my dogs got cancer in the locations where it was vaccinated. Coincidence? No way. Please read the topics about vaccines - and vaccine legislation - huge profit those vaccines - 48 cents can be $12 to you and me - but at a great emotional and financial cost to animal life. Animals are still considered disposable property that can be made a profit from before they croak - kinda like people too and that goofy medical system of ours.
My sheepie Winston had pnuemonia in December, he was really coughing and wheezing and almost died. He is 10 . He was on Baytril and amoxicillain for 2 months. He got much better. I stopped the meds, he was still symptomatic but did not seem to be improving. After about a month he went back to the vets, he started to get worse again. He went back on the meds for about 6 weeks and now rarely has any symptoms except he has a runny nose and will sneeze. I think this is from allergies. But as you can see, it took almost 4 months of antibiotic treatment for him to really improve. I would pass on the expensive tests, if you have any other questions feel free to email me.

Jo Anne
After trying numerous antibiotics, theophilline, and predinsone over many months, which didn't help. My Vet prescribed ALBUTEROL 0.5%, 20ml in a Liter bag of Normal Saline placed in a humidifier (SU-4010: Dual Mist Humidifier with ION Exchange Filter - highly recommend). I put my Female 10 year old/8 pound Yorkie Poo in her dog cage with the humidifier inside the cage completely covered with a blanket to confine the ALBUTEROL MIST, and in approximately 2 minutes of inhaling the medicated mist, her bronchospasms/coughing stops and her breathing improves. I repeat it, if her coughing spell continues.

It has been the only treatment that stops the acute problem. I hope this information is helpful to your Mom and Pandy.
My 21 pound (overweight) rat terrier has been coughing for 6 months, diagnosed with chronic bronchitis. He's taking a steroid daily and hydrocodone as needed, but I am not comfortable with his short fits of coughing as often as he does. I'm using a hepa filter air purifier, but I don't know how much good that does. I also read somewhere licorice can help. The albuterol treatment sounds promising. Is that by prescription only?
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