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Pneumonia in Dogs - Signs & Treatment

Pneumonia in dogs is a common canine respiratory condition, but what exactly is pneumonia? Are there different types? What symptoms should you watch for? In today's post, you will find the answers to these questions and more.

Types of Pneumonia in Dogs

As with humans, pneumonia in dogs affects the respiratory system, including the lungs and airways and interferes with your dog's ability to breathe normally. With treatment dogs typically recover well from pneumonia, however if the condition is left untreated more serious conditions can develop. 

Viral & Bacterial Infectious Pneumonia in Dogs

Infectious pneumonia or bacterial pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia seen in dogs. This form of pneumonia is caused by a viral or bacterial infection in the dog's respiratory tract.

Bordetella bronchiseptica is one of the bacteria most commonly linked to infectious pneumonia in dogs, and can easily be transmitted between dogs that are very young, senior, or that have a compromised immune system.

Signs That Your Dog May Have Bacterial Pneumonia

It can be challenging for pet parents to determine whether their dog has pneumonia or a less serious respiratory condition. This is because symptoms of respiratory conditions are often very similar. Dog bacterial pneumonia symptoms can include:

  • Coughing
  • High fever
  • Runny nose
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Nasal whistling or wheezing
  • Irregular breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite

Aspiration Pneumonia in Dogs

Aspiration pneumonia can occur if your dog accidentally inhales vomit or medication, or has an abnormality of the pharynx, or a neuromuscular disorder that affects respiratory function. In some cases, an enlargement of the lower esophagus due to frequent regurgitation caused by acid reflux can lead to aspiration pneumonia, as can an incorrectly placed feeding tube.

Signs of Aspiration Pneumonia in Dogs

A dog's aspiration pneumonia symptoms are likely to be much the same as the symptoms that occur in pets suffering from bacterial pneumonia. Dogs with aspiration pneumonia may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • High fever
  • Runny nose
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Nasal whistling or wheezing
  • Irregular breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite

However, aspiration pneumonia may also cause other symptoms such as: 

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bluish skin
  • Altered mood
  • Frequent regurgitation

If your dog shows any of the signs of aspiration pneumonia contact your vet to book an appointment for your pup. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent more severe symptoms and conditions from developing.

How Pneumonia in Dogs is Treated

If your dog is diagnosed with infectious bacterial or aspiration pneumonia your vet may prescribe medications to help control the symptoms such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for fever and pain, and bronchodilators and expectorants for coughing and breathing issues. In severe cases, your dog may need to be hospitalized and provided with supplemental oxygen, intravenous antibiotics, or fluid therapy.

How You Can Help Your Dog Recover From Pneumonia

Your vet will provide you with specific instructions on caring for your dog as she recovers from pneumonia, but typical instructions for care may include:

  • Restricting your dog's activities
  • Keeping other pets and small children away so your dog can rest
  • Supplying plenty of fresh water to help keep them hydrated
  • Providing your dog with a steam treatment by running a hot shower while you sit with your dog in the bathroom

Bacterial pneumonia - If your pup has been diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia it's a good idea to keep your unwell dog away from other pets in the household, and to wash bedding, bowls, collars and leashes frequently to help avoid spreading the disease. Also, be sure to wash your hands immediately after petting or handling a dog with infectious pneumonia. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog showing signs of pneumonia? Contact Central Valley Animal Hospital today to book an examination for your loyal companion.

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Central Valley Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Rainbow City companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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