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Cats, dogs, and other pets can develop respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, pneumonia, kennel cough, and bronchitis that require inhaled medication. Your veterinarian may prescribe inhaled nebulizer therapy to administer saline, albuterol, antibiotics, or other medications administered with a nebulizer for your pet's relief.
How does a nebulizer function?
A nebulizer functions as a delivery system changing medication from a liquid to a fine particle mist, allowing direct delivery to the respiratory tract. Inhaled therapy or nebulizer treatment administers the medication slowly and directly to the lungs. It is typically the most effective way to provide symptom relief for respiratory ailments, seeing quick, positive results for easier breathing. Nebulization helps break up congestion, which helps support your pet's immune response.
Download this handy reference for nebulizer care »
How to prepare the nebulizer for treatment
- Insert opposite ends of the tubing into the compressor and medicine cup.
- Add the correct dose of medicine into the medicine cup.
- Switch the nebulizer compressor switch to "on."
- Administer aerosolized medication to your pet. The process will be 5-10 minutes and will slow down as medicine runs out and will eventually stop. Be sure and shake medicine cup to ensure all medication was used.
- Take apart the plastic parts of the nebulizer. Wash all parts between each treatment to reduce bacteria contamination.
- Dry the tubing by attaching it to the compressor and blow dry by running the machine for a minute or two. Use a paper towel or clean towel to dry the other parts.
How do I effectively administer a nebulizer treatment to my pet?
Following are several different methods that may be used depending on the personality and type of pet being treated, visit with your veterinarian on recommended method for your pet.
- An aerosol chamber may be created by placing the nebulizer with tube inside a cage covered with a towel for larger pets, such as a dog or cat. For smaller pets, such as rats or guinea pigs place the nebulizer and tube inside an aquarium with towel covering.
- Use of a soft pediatric mask placed over your pet's face prior to turning compressor on. Practice placing the mask on your pet prior to treatment. Use a little canned food, cream cheese, or peanut butter inside the mask, and allow your pet to lick it. This can offer a distraction during the treatment.
- Hold the nebulizer tube close to your pet's nose or mouth, enabling your pet to inhale some of the medication, even though some medication may be lost in surrounding air.
Helpful hints for easing pet anxiety during pet nebulization treatment
Help your pet accept nebulization treatment by scheduling at the same time every day, offering a reassuring pat and speaking in soothing voice. Rewarding good behavior with a treat afterwards helps to promote a positive experience and healthy compliance.
At the end of treatment your pet's gums and tongue should appear very pink. This shows efficacy and whether or not your pet is receiving adequate oxygen. If you do not notice this, seek help from your veterinarian. Always be sure to consult with your veterinarian about any questions or difficulties administering prescribed treatments.