Vet Talks: Pneumonia in Dogs Vet Talks 3 min read
What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a condition that causes an inflammation of the lung tissue. In dogs, it is most often caused by a bacterial infection, and the inflamed lung tissues then begin to accumulate fluid. This infection can occur as a result of an infectious disease, such as ‘kennel cough’ (Bordetella bronchiseptica) or other bacteria which enter the respiratory tract.
Pneumonia is a severe diagnosis in any pet; however it can be hazardous for senior, immune compromised, or very young pets. It’s best to contact your vet to plan comprehensive treatment for pneumonia in dogs.
Symptoms and Causes of Pneumonia in Dogs
Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia usually start with a cough, followed with a fever, increased respiratory rate, not wanting to eat, and often green or white discharge from the nose.
In my practice, pneumonia in dogs is relatively uncommon. When I see a possible case of pneumonia, complete diagnostics are essential. Bacterial pneumonia is just one cause of respiratory problems; additional causes may include aspiration pneumonia, in which the lungs become inflamed due to inhalation of foreign material, such as food. The symptoms of bacterial and aspiration pneumonia may be similar, and diagnosis is vital to distinguish the cause of pneumonia. Pneumonia may also be secondary to a fungal infection. Sporting dogs, hounds, and larger mixed-breed dogs seem to be at higher risk for bacterial pneumonia than other breeds.
Diagnosis of Pneumonia in Dogs
If bacterial pneumonia is suspected in your dog, several diagnostic procedures will likely be recommended by your veterinarian. Blood work and x-rays are a start, and tracheal wash may also be prescribed to obtain some of the material (fluids and cells) that line the trachea for analysis. This fluid will be tested to analyze what types of cells are present and bacterial culture performed to find the appropriate antibiotics to use. All these tests help in determining the best treatment plan; most likely including antibiotics, and anti-inflammatories.
Treatment of Pneumonia in Dogs
Treating pneumonia in an integrative way is paramount. Treating this disease can be tough, and the best approach is treating with western medicine and natural whole-body support. NHV Resp-Aid and Stimmune as well as Nature’s Immuno are good starts and are all safe to be given along with veterinary prescribed medications. On top of these, boswellia, cherry bark, bromelain, and slippery elm are very effective. Excellent nutrition is also crucial for helping your pet to heal.
Pneumonia can be prevented by making sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccines, especially for kennel cough in dogs prior to boarding or daycare activities. If your pet is coughing or sneezing, or has nasal discharge or exhibiting other symptoms, a quick veterinary exam is recommended to ensure your furry friend has not come down with pneumonia.
Need holistic guidance? Ask one of our holistic veterinarians about treatment for pneumonia in dogs with an online vet consult.
Published: March 2, 2019