Causes of Emphysema
Emphysema in domestic dogs is commonly caused by a skin or internal wound, which allows air to be brought into tissues through the movements of muscles surrounding the laceration. Trauma, either blunt or penetrating, to the lungs, trachea (windpipe), esophagus or chest (thoracic) wall, can cause ulcerations or lacerations that lead to emphysema. Inflammatory lung illnesses, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic sterile bronchitis, can contribute to emphysema, as can cancer (neoplasia) and internal lung parasites. Uncommonly, dogs may develop emphysema from congenital bronchial hypoplasia, a condition in which the large airways are underdeveloped and dysfunctional at birth.
Prevention of Emphysema
There is no known way to prevent emphysema in domestic dogs. Some authorities suggest that affected animals should not be bred, on the assumption that there may be a congenital or hereditary component to development of the disease.
A veterinarian is of course the best person to assess a dog with emphysema, make the diagnosis, determine the cause if possible and recommend a treatment protocol.