What is the best medicine for bronchitis in dogs? The Ultimate Guide

Diagnostic Imaging

Chest radiographs are imperative when evaluating the coughing dog. In fact, if diagnostic testing is limited for an individual patient, chest radiographs are the most useful test.10

  • Chest radiographs should be evaluated for suggestion of bronchial thickening, evidenced by increased donuts and tramlines (Figure 1).
  • Additional signs consistent with CCB include hyperinflation and bronchiectasis.
  • Chest radiographs help exclude other conditions, such as cardiomegaly, lung masses, pneumonia, pleural effusion, and interstitial lung disease.
  • Fluoroscopy may help evaluate the trachea and larger airways for collapse, but is less helpful for evaluation of chronic cough unless concurrent airway collapse is suspected.

    Ultrasound is useful to aid in diagnostic sampling if an isolated lesion is found on radiographs or in the presence of pleural effusion, but is not useful in CCB.

    Computed tomography (CT), which is widely used in people with airway disease, is growing in popularity for identification of canine bronchial disease as well.11 The airway detail is much improved from that of thoracic radiography (Figure 2). CT scanning requires brief general anesthesia, so is commonly combined with evaluation of laryngeal function, collection of airway cytology samples, and bronchoscopy in dogs suspected of having CCB.

    Bronchoscopy, if available, is the preferred technique to evaluate and visualize the airway.

  • In a study of chronic bronchitis, all dogs demonstrated irregular mucosal surfaces without the glistening seen in healthy airways.
    • Often the mucosa was noted as being thickened and granular with a roughened appearance.
    • Most dogs had hyperemia of mucosal vessels and showed partial collapse of bronchi during expiration.
  • The presence of excessive mucus in the airways is also suggestive of CCB.5
  • History

    Pertinent historical considerations include:

  • Exposure (even limited) to other dogs/puppies with CIRD syndrome
  • Evidence of systemic disease, such as weight loss or exercise intolerance.
  • Other considerations include:

  • Exposure to passive (second-hand) smoke8
  • Presence of excessive environmental odors/perfumes. Prior prescriptions or home remedies and their effect on the cough should be explored.

    Signalment is very helpful in establishing a suspicion of chronic bronchitis as it is most common in older, small-breed dogs. Cocker spaniels have an increased risk of bronchiectasis, which commonly occurs with chronic bronchitis. Bronchiectasis is permanent dilation of bronchi that results from chronic inflammation and destruction of the structural integrity of bronchial walls.7

    Dilated cardiomyopathy may present acutely with cough and tachypnea in Doberman pinschers; heart failure should be suspected until proven otherwise. In general, CCB is less common in large-breed dogs; careful consideration of alterative diagnoses, such as laryngeal paralysis with intermittent aspiration or pulmonary masses, should be considered in these dogs.

    Bronchitis in Dogs: 7 Holistic Solutions

    Kevin J. Kumrow, DVM, and Elizabeth A. Rozanski, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (Small Animal Internal Medicine) & ACVECC

    Cough is a common clinical sign in dogs. There are many possible causes; identification and therapy of the specific cause is more likely to result in an amelioration of clinical signs than nonspecific supportive care. Common causes of cough include: