Pneumonia in Dogs
Definition of Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a serious disease that involves inflammation of the lungs and lower airways. It usually also affects the upper respiratory tract - the nasal cavities, throat, trachea (“windpipe”) and bronchi. The lungs supply blood with oxygen from inhaled air and expel carbon dioxide in exhaled air. Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, internal parasites and other noxious substances that get into the lungs when a dog breathes them in. Fortunately, pneumonia isn’t common in healthy adult dogs. It mainly affects the very young, the very old and dogs with compromised immune systems. Some dogs with pneumonia never show signs of being sick. Other dogs develop symptoms because insufficient oxygen is being circulated in their bloodstream. They will breathe rapidly, noisily and with some difficulty. They often have a wet cough and a thick nasal discharge from both nostrils. They may sneeze and run a fever, lose their appetite and become weak, depressed and lethargic.
Pneumonia can be caused by a number of things, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and internal parasites. Infection of the nasal cavity and other parts of the upper airways often precedes pneumonia in domestic dogs, as well as in people. Pneumonia associated with any infectious organisms can be “caused” - or contributed to - by anything that compromises a dog’s immune status or otherwise predisposes the dog to developing inflammation of the lower respiratory tract. Pneumonia
Pneumonia is not particularly common in healthy mature dogs. It is more often a disease of the very young, the very old and those with weak or compromised immune systems. When it does occur, pneumonia can be acute (come on suddenly) or chronic (come on slowly). The main functions of the lungs are to supply the blood with oxygen inhaled from outside air, and to dispose of carbon dioxide waste in exhaled air. When signs
When presented with a dog in respiratory distress, a veterinarian will take all necessary steps to ensure that the patient has a patent airway. Once that is accomplished, she will conduct a thorough physical examination and take a complete history from the owner. The initial data base typically includes routine blood work (a complete blood count [CBC] and serum biochemistry panel) and a urinalysis. The results of these preliminary tests may or may not be
Dogs with signs of severe respiratory distress need immediate veterinary attention. Treatment goals are to ensure proper oxygenation of circulating blood, resolve any primary and secondary infections, remove any lodged foreign bodies, restore the dog’s health and comfort, eliminate any predisposing conditions and prevent recurrence if at all possible.The treatment protocol for a dog with pneumonia will depend on the cause of the infection. In cases of aspiration pneumonia, the treatment team can use suction