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Pneumonia in Dogs

Pneumonia in Dogs

Did you know that dogs can get pneumonia, just like people? Although it might not cross most pet owners' minds, pneumonia can affect dogs. Fortunately, it's treatable, and dogs usually bounce back with proper care. Our Pittsboro vets are here to share the signs, symptoms, and treatments for dog pneumonia

Pneumonia in Dogs

Like in humans, pneumonia in dogs impacts their breathing by affecting the respiratory system. Dogs usually recover from pneumonia with proper treatment, but if it's not treated, more severe issues can arise. It's worth noting that certain types of pneumonia are harder to treat than others.

Viral & Bacterial Infectious Pneumonia in Dogs

The most frequent form of pneumonia in dogs is infectious pneumonia, also referred to as bacterial pneumonia. This occurs when viruses or bacteria infect a dog's breathing passages. One well-known bacterium causing infectious pneumonia in dogs is Bordetella bronchiseptica. It can quickly spread among puppies, older dogs, or those with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms of Bacterial Pneumonia in Dogs

If your dog has infectious pneumonia or bacterial pneumonia, they might show one or more of these symptoms:

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

If your dog 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. 

Aspiration Pneumonia in Dogs

Aspiration pneumonia can occur if your dog accidentally inhales vomit or medication, has an abnormality of the pharynx, or has a neuromuscular disorder which 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.

Symptoms of Aspiration Pneumonia in Dogs

As is the case with most respiratory conditions, the symptoms of aspiration pneumonia are much the same as those listed for bacterial pneumonia and may include one or more of the following:

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

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

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

If your dog is displaying any of the symptoms of aspiration pneumonia, contact your vet to book an appointment for your pet. Early diagnosis and treatment could help to prevent more severe, harder-to-treat symptoms from developing.

Treatment for Pneumonia in Dogs

After a vet diagnoses your dog with bacterial or aspiration pneumonia, they usually prescribe medications to manage the symptoms. These can include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for fever and pain, as well as bronchodilators and expectorants for coughing and breathing problems. If the situation is severe, your dog might require hospitalization. During this time, your dog could receive fluid therapy, extra oxygen, or antibiotics through an IV.

Helping Your Dog Recover From Pneumonia

Your vet will provide you with specific instructions on caring for your dog during their recovery from pneumonia, but typical instructions for care include:

  • Restricting your dog's activities while they recover.
  • Keeping other pets and small children away from your dog in order in order to allow them to get adequate rest.
  • Supplying plenty of fresh water to help keep them hydrated during their recovery.
  • Providing your dog with a steam treatment by running a hot shower while you sit with your dog in the shower room or bathroom.

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.

If your dog is experiencing difficulties breathing outside of your vet's office hours, contact our Pittsboro emergency vets at Hope Crossing Animal Hospital. We offer emergency veterinary care on evenings, weekends, and holidays. 

Welcoming New Patients

Our vets at Hope Crossing Animal Hospital are now accepting new patients! Our talented veterinary team is passionate about caring for the pets of Pittsboro. Contact us today to book your first appointment. 

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