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Pneumonia in Dogs - Types, Symptoms & Treatment

Pneumonia in Dogs - Types, Symptoms & Treatment

Pneumonia is a relatively common health problem for our canine companions, but with fast treatment, most dogs recover well. Today our Lincoln Park vets explain the types of pneumonia your dog could develop, as well as symptoms to watch for, and treatment options.

What is pneumonia in dogs?

Pneumonia affects your pup's respiratory system interfering with their ability to breathe normally. While some forms of pneumonia are more difficult to clear up than others, with treatment, most dogs recover well from pneumonia. That said, if the condition is left untreated more serious issues can develop.

What is infectious pneumonia?

Infectious pneumonia (also called bacterial pneumonia) is the most common type of pneumonia in dogs. Infectious pneumonia is caused by a viral or bacterial infection in the dog's airways. 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.

What are the symptoms of bacterial infectious pneumonia in dogs?

Dogs suffering from infectious pneumonia or bacterial pneumonia will typically 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 keep your unwell dog away from other pets in the household, and wash their bedding, bowls, collars and leashes frequently to help avoid spreading the disease. Also, be diligent about washing your hands immediately after petting or handling a dog with infectious pneumonia. 

What is aspiration pneumonia in dogs?

If your dog accidentally inhales vomit or medication, has an abnormality of the pharynx, or a neuromuscular disorder that affects respiratory function, aspiration pneumonia could develop. 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.

What are the signs of aspiration pneumonia?

Symptoms of aspiration pneumonia can be very similar to those of infectious bacterial pneumonia and may include one or more of the following:

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

Aspiration pneumonia may also cause other symptoms to develop such as: 

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

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

Is treatment available for pneumonia in dogs?

If your dog has been diagnosed with either infectious bacterial or aspiration pneumonia your veterinarian will likely prescribe medications to help control symptoms such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for fever and pain, and bronchodilators and expectorants for coughing and breathing issues. Your dog may need to be hospitalized and provided with fluid therapy, supplemental oxygen, or intravenous antibiotics if they are suffering from a particularly severe case of pneumonia.

How can I help my dog recover from pneumonia?

Your vet will provide you with specific instructions on how to care for your dog during their recovery however typical instructions for care include:

  • Restrict your dog's activities while they recover.
  • Keep other pets and small children away from your dog in order in order to allow them to get plenty of rest.
  • Supply plenty of fresh water to help keep them hydrated.
  • Give your dog a steam treatment by running a hot shower while you sit with your dog in the bathroom or shower room.

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 displaying signs of pneumonia? Treatment can be most effective when started before symptoms become severe. Contact our Lincoln Park animal hospital today to book an examination for your four-legged friend.

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

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