Nebulizers administer aqueous solutions and oxygen directly into the respiratory system. While most common in asthma treatment, they can also be used to administer medicine. Animal owners treating chronic respiratory ailments often administer treatment at home, while medicine is most often administered by veterinarians in an office setting.
A nebulizer is a tool that turns water into a fine mist that travels through a tube into a mask that delivers the vapor directly into the upper and lower respiratory systems. The body of the device often looks like the tank of a humidifier. Nebulizers have many applications in human and animal medicine.
In dogs, nebulizers are primarily used to hydrate and administer oxygen to the airways of an animal suffering from asthma. Asthma often results in difficulty breathing, and the use of nebulizer provides temporary relief and ease of breathing for animals. They can also be used to administer aqueous forms of antibiotics and other medicines. Although they're touted as tools for treating improperly hydrated animals, their use in dehydrated animals is thought to have minimal effect.
Nebulizers vaporize water into aerosol, a suspension of fine, vaporized liquid droplets. Once a mask has been applied to a canine patient, it is forced to breathe this solution directly into its lungs. Due to the chronic nature of asthma, this is sometimes done by animal owners at home using smaller models.
Nebulizers can also be used to administer other compounds such as antibiotics and medicines. Within the field of alternative medicine, they are often used administer compounds such as tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil for various treatments. Due to their variety of applications, they can be used in almost any treatment.
Always consult a veterinarian and obtain a diagnosis before administering any new treatment on an animal. There are many treatment options for canine asthma, and a nebulizer may not be the best option. While relatively safe and easy to use, the administering of medicine via a nebulizer should first be recommended and explained by a veterinarian.