You will have seen the warnings through the current season regarding epidemic Thunderstorm Asthma, which caused widespread illness and death of nine people this time last year.
But did you know that your dogs can also be affected by Thunderstorm Asthma in Melbourne – and just as seriously?
Thunderstorm asthma appears to be triggered by a unique combination of high grass-pollen counts and a certain type of thunderstorm. The science is still uncertain but the affect can be dramatic and deadly for people and dogs prone to airborne allergies.
These epidemic thunderstorm asthma events don’t happen every year but are associated with grass pollen season, which is normally from October through December.
How Asthma Affects Dogs
Asthma – or ‘allergic bronchitis’ in dogs, i.e. difficulty in breathing, is almost always caused by an allergic reaction which in turn causes an inflammation of the upper airways. Most of the time, the allergen is something that the dog inhales. The symptoms of so-called “dog asthma” or “asthma attacks” can vary widely from occasional breathing problems to a severe reaction that approaches suffocation. By the time the condition is this severe, it usually has become chronic and irreversible. In very grave cases, the dog may resort to open-mouth breathing; gums and other mucous membranes may turn a purplish-blue from oxygen deprivation. When the consequences of asthma in dogs become this severe, the dog needs immediate emergency veterinary attention.
Last year’s Thunderstorm Asthma Epidemic occurred in Melbourne’s west: suburbs including ………… The extensive grassland areas of the region are clearly a factor. For the safety of humans and dogs, people in these areas (but also elsewhere) should be especially aware of potential symptoms during and after thunderstorms in Spring and Summer.
At Dogdayz we conduct and record daily health checks on all dogs in our care and make a point of monitoring for signs of Thunderstorm Asthma.