Types of Pneumonia in Dogs

Types of Pneumonia in Dogs

While it may not be a condition that most pet parents think about, dogs like people can develop pneumonia. Pneumonia can be serious in dogs, however treatment is available and most dogs recover well. Today our Memphis vets explain some of the signs and symptoms of pneumonia in dogs, and how this condition is treated. 

Pneumonia in Dogs

As with people, pneumonia in dogs affects the pet's respiratory system interfering 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, and it's important to note that some forms of pneumonia are more difficult to treat than others. 

Viral & Bacterial Infectious Pneumonia in Dogs

Infectious pneumonia also called bacterial pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia seen in dogs. Infectious 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.

Symptoms of Bacterial Pneumonia in Dogs

If your dog is suffering from infectious pneumonia or bacterial pneumonia they may display one or more of the following 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 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

Following a diagnosis of infectious bacterial or aspiration pneumonia vets often 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 fluid therapy, supplemental oxygen, or intravenous antibiotics.

Helping Your Dog Recover From Pneumonia

Your vet will provide you with specific instruction 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 Memphis emergency vets at Animal Emergency Center. We offer emergency veterinary care on evenings, weekends and holidays. 

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