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Vet Talks: Pneumonia in Dogs

Vet Talks 2 min read
Vet Talks: Pneumonia in Dogs

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a severe diagnosis in any pet.

Pneumonia is a condition that causes 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 infectious diseases, 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.

Symptoms and Causes

Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia usually start with a cough, followed by 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, 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. It 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.


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.


Treating pneumonia in an integrative way is paramount. Treating this disease can be tough, and the best approach is to treat it 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 a nasal discharge, or exhibiting other symptoms, a quick veterinary exam is recommended to ensure your furry friend is healthy.

Need holistic guidance? Ask one of our holistic veterinarians about treatment with an online vet consult.

Dr. Hillary Cook DVM

Dr. Hillary Cook DVM

Dr. Hillary Cook is a graduate of Virginia Maryland Regional Veterinary Medical school. She has been practicing holistic and integrative veterinary medicine for over 20 years. She certified in Veterinary acupuncture and is fully qualified in Western and Chinese herbalism. She is the owner of Animal Wellness Center, an integrative veterinary clinic in Crozet, VA. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets including dogs, cats, and chickens. When time allows, you can find her in the garden or on the tennis court!

Published: March 2, 2019

5 replies

  1. Karen Schultz says:

    My dog has been diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia. She has a nasal disease that we believe to be chronic rhinitis. She has been on antibiotics for months and the pnuemonia occured over a week ago. Seeking some help as it seems the prescription meds are not working well anymore.

    1. Raphael M says:

      Hi Karen, so sorry to hear about your furkid. We are here to help! We do recommend a couple of supplements that can help with rhinitis:
      – Felimm: helps your dog fight a wide range of viral, fungal and bacterial related infections.
      – Resp-Aid: helps with deep coughs, bronchial congestion, bronchitis and respiratory infections in general
      Please let us know if you need more help, we’re here for you!

  2. Anthony says:

    Hi our 4 month old puppy has been struggling with his lungs he is on 2 types of antibiotics for the last month with very little improvement, a lot of coughing and especially at night time, he also had ecoli in his blood tests, feel very sorry for him as he can’t be vaccinated to go out and socialise and live his life until or if he gets better? Any suggestions? Many thanks.

    1. NHV Natural Pet says:

      Hi Anthony,
      We’re so sorry to hear about your sweet pup’s lungs and health issues. We can imagine how worried you must be. We do have a regimen to help keep him supported and comfortable. Resp-Aid is our main supplement to help with the respiratory system. It can help fight the infections in her lungs and help soothe the inflammation. Here’s the link to Resp-Aid

      We have Plantaeris to help fight his E.Coli infection and to keep his digestive system supported and comfortable. This is the link to Plantaeris

      We’re just a message away if you have any questions. Sending your sweet pup lots of love and healing vibes

  3. Team NHV says:

    Hi Katy,

    We’re so sorry to hear that your boy is dealing with both pneumonia and a heart murmur. We can’t imagine how uncomfortable he must be, not to mention how stressful this all must have been on you. Please know that our whole team is here to offer you all our love and support while you care for your boy!

    We have a few suggestions that we think could help your sweetheart:

    First, for his respiratory health, we’d recommend our all-natural supplement Resp-Aid. This powerful supplement can help to support healthy breathing, relieve congestion and shortness of breath while reducing inflammation.
    Here’s more on Resp-Aid for you:

    Next, we’d suggest our supplement, Stimmune. The herbs in this blend, like Echinacea Purpurea and Asian Ginseng, can help to reduce inflammation and balance immune function, which is a critical factor in supporting a pup with pneumonia.
    More info on Stimmune here:

    Lastly, we’d recommend our main heart health supplement, Hearty-Heart. In addition to promoting heart health, this unique formulation can help to relieve uncomfortable symptoms like difficulty breathing and coughs while also helping to encourage pulmonary health. More information on Hearty-Heart for you here:

    This is a lot of information to take in, so please take your time to review everything and feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have. Sending you and your boy lots of love and healing vibes!

    Yours in wellness,
    Team NHV

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