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Pneumonia in Dogs

Respiratory conditions can affect dogs of all breeds and ages, especially if they spend a great deal of time around other dogs in enclosed spaces. But what do you need to know about it? Our Oceanside vets share some important information about pneumonia in dogs, the different types, symptoms, and how it can be treated.

What is 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.

Bacterial Pneumonia in Dogs: Symptoms

It can be challenging for pet parents to determine whether their dog has pneumonia or a less serious respiratory condition because symptoms will be much the same in both. 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.

Aspiration Pneumonia in Dogs: Symptoms

If your dog has pneumonia, the symptoms are likely to be much the symptoms that occur in pups suffering from bacterial pneumonia. Dogs with 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, 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 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.

Is pneumonia contagious in dogs?

While you can't catch pneumonia from your dog, your dog is able to transmit the infection to other dogs. This makes it crucial that you keep your dog isolated and properly cared for while they recover.

How Pneumonia in Dogs is Treated

If your vet performed an exam and diagnosed your pup with pneumonia, the treatment may include 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.

Helping 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 for your dog to 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

Note for bacterial pneumonia - If your pooch 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 wheezing, coughing, or showing any other signs of pneumonia or other respiratory infections? Please contact our Oceanside veterinary team to schedule an exam today.

Specialty Vets at Surfside Animal Hospital

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