BACKGROUND INFORMATION LUNGS/ AIRWAYS

Breathing

By breathing your pet transports air through the nose or oral cavitity and windpipe, to the lungs. The alveolus diffuse the oxygen in the blood and this is exchanged for CO2 (carbon dioxide) and vapour. Then the low-oxygen and high- CO2 air is exhaled by your pet. This interaction makes life possible. Breathing happens automatically, an animal cannot decide to stop breathing for a while, whereas it can make a decision to stay down or get up.

Coughing

Coughing is a normal reaction of the body to cleanse the airways. The lungs clear themselves of mucus and dirt. If the coughing continues, this is usually a symptom of a disorder like bronchitis, pneumonia, kennel cough, cat flu, heart disease, chronic rhinitis and lung cancer. Coughing can also be the result of an irritation of the airways, caused by swallowing the wrong way, ingesting an object, food or smoke.

Coughing is a symptom, it is the disorder that determines the seriousness of the cough. Coughing as a result of eating greedily, can be considered harmless coughing. When the coughing gets painful and/or persistent, or there is difficulty breathing, or blood (mucus) is coughed up, you always have to consult a vet. Saty calm, stress usually makes the coughing/difficulty breathing worse.

The diagnosis made by your vet can determine if you are dealing with a heart condition, a condition of the trachea or a condition of the lungs.

In general: be careful with cough suppressants. Coughing clears the airways of mucus and other dirt.