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Types of Pneumonia in Dogs

While it might not be a condition that many pet owners think about, dogs can develop pneumonia just like people. This condition can be quite serious in dogs, however, treatment is available and most dogs are able to recover quite well from it. Here, our Fairfield County vets explain the signs and symptoms of pneumonia in dogs and how this condition is treated.

Pneumonia In Dogs

Just like in humans, pneumonia in dogs is a condition that affects your pet's respiratory system and interferes with your dog's ability to breathe properly. With proper treatment, dogs usually recover well from pneumonia. But if this condition is left untreated, more serious conditions can develop and it's important to note that some varieties of pneumonia are more difficult to treat and recover from 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 it may display one or more of the following symptoms:

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

If your pup has been diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia, you must keep your ill dog away from any other pets in the household. Additionally, you should wash your dog's bedding, collar, bowls, and leashes as frequently as possible to help avoid spreading the disease. Also, be sure to wash your hands immediately when you handle or pet your unwell dog to avoid being infected by their pneumonia. 

Aspiration Pneumonia in Dogs

Aspiration pneumonia can occur if your dog accidentally inhales medication or vomits, if they have an abnormality of their pharynx or if a neuromuscular disorder affects their respiratory system. In less common instances, an incorrectly placed feeding tube or enlargement of your dog's lower esophagus caused by frequent regurgitation may lead to aspiration pneumonia. 

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:

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

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

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

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 being diagnosed with infectious or aspiration pneumonia, vets will often prescribe your dog medications to help control its symptoms. These can include anti-inflammatory medications for pain or fever, and expectorants for coughing and breathing issues. In more severe cases, your pup may require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics, supplemented oxygen, and fluid therapy.

Helping Your Dog Recover From Pneumonia

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

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

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 difficulty breathing, is coughing, or is showing any of the above symptoms of pneumonia, contact our South Wilton Veterinary Group veterinary team in Fairfield County as soon as possible. We offer care for pneumonia and a wide range of other respiratory conditions.

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