Seasonal Respiratory Disease in Dogs
Warm weather can highlight respiratory issues with dogs of certain breeds. Brachycephalic breeds (snort nosed) and breeds such as Labradors can struggle during hot weather as a result of some physical features. .
Brachycephalic breeds, which include the English and French Bulldogs, Pugs and Boston Terriers are susceptible to seasonal respiratory disease. Many dogs with overlong soft palates and narrowed (stenotic) nostrils, will have major problems in regulating their body temperature due to an inability to pant efficiently. Many of these dogs will start showing signs of exercise intolerance, retching and even gastrointestinal disturbances all because of their breed associated conformation. Symptoms often start at a very young age but progress due to secondary changes and further deformation of their respiratory tracts i.e. laryngeal collapse. These dogs can appear stable but can struggle if they exercise or even just sunbathe on a hot day. Prompt treatment during a crisis is essential. This can include cooling and oxygen therapy.
Laryngeal paralysis in dogs is very common in certain breeds especially Labradors and Golden Retrievers but any breed can be affected (including brachycephalics). These dogs are brought in to us as older dogs with a history of panting, exercise intolerance and a change of bark. Many owners attribute the slowing up to arthritis or ‘old age’ and it can be very difficult to differentiate symptoms between the two syndromes. Dogs with laryngeal paralysis can also struggle in the heat. Laryngeal paralysis is when there is paralysis of the nerves supplying the cartilage flaps that protect the opening of the windpipes. These normally closed only to prevent food and other materials entering the lungs. In laryngeal paralysis, these flaps remain partially close obstructing the trachea (windpipe). Please book an appointment for your dog if you feel that they may have Seasonal Respiratory Disease or if you have any concerns about their breathing.